Sunday 8th July 2012
Caversham Festival 2012, Christchurch Meadows, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8BY;
Bohemian Buskers Stage hosted by Rob Sowden
"Stay Cool Is Still The Main Rule. (Editions of You/ Roxy music)"
So I was due to be on stage at 12:00pm on Sunday to kick off the bill at the Bohemian Buskers stage at The Caversham Festival. All performers were asked to get to the venue at least an hour before their performance. I duly arrive at 11:00am and find the gates to the artists' car park padlocked. Great. Luckily there's a parking space by the gates and so I leave my car there and haul my guitar and two other bags down the pathway. I'm late now. Getting a bit stressed too. I've got to find the artists' liason office and I've been told I can sell CDS at a stall, so I want to set all of that up, plus I've brought a video camera which I want to set up but I've got to suss everything out particularly the risk of it being stolen. There's a lot to do in what is now less than an hour. The priority is the performance so one or more of these nice-to-haves might just have to be ditched.
The map that was supplied had writing that was so small that even with my short-sightedness I couldn't read it but from my prep earlier I'd got an idea where to go. I try to get my bearings. Hmm okay this isn't corresponding to what I had envisaged from the map. I go to where the Bohemian Buskers Stage should be, next to the main stage. Er no, nothing here. I ask a steward / roadie, "Hmm not sure Mate, maybe over the there", he says pointing south, having spent the last two minutes enquiring on his two-way radio.
Okay so there's more of this for the next fifteen minutes, and I'm more and more conscious of time slipping away and not being where I'm supposed to be. I try and phone Rob Sowden, our Bohemian Night host: no reply. Then I hear him shouting to me about 50 metres away. He looks as lost as I feel but is looking slightly more irriatated than I feel, which, as it happens, is very very irritated. We don't seem to have a Buskers Stage.
Okay, so I've travelled round the world, to multi-billion dollar telecoms companies to deliver training. It wasn't an uncommon experience to find that a training room hadn't been booked, attendees unsureof where to go, projectors unavailable, training manuals delivered to the wrong part of the country. Eventually these things get sorted as they did on Sunday afternoon but it wasn't entirely stress free and possibly not the best run-up to performing.
Surprisingly, after what felt like a lot of hanging around, I started only half an hour late. Half way through the first song I looked at my video camera on the tripod in front of me. Damn, I'd forgotten to turn it on. In my distraction I get the fourth verse of Cold Heart mixed into the second - did anyone notice? Probably not. But for me it was a slap on the face to make me concentrate and forget everything else. And actually performing was probably the least stressful 15 minutes of the day so far - what could I do but just sing and play? Phil Morrison and Rob had the forebearence to get the video camera rolling before I needed to say anything (actually I had decided to just leave it and not disrupt my performance). Later I found myself competing with the the sound-checks on the main stage; followed by a moment, when I seemed to be in danger of being flattened by having a stage dropped on me. It must have looked quite funny, in a Spinal Tap sort of way, as it was being rolled out behind me as I played (I haven't seen the video yet) but actually it might have more gracious to just let me finish playing first. Anyway, people said they enjoyed the "upbeatness" of my set and really that was the plan: to get the afternoon going, though to be honest it didn't feel like a particularly great performance from me. I'm starting to feel that I need a break from performing for a while. As for the rest of the day, well it turned into a great afternoon, but really, as I was followed by some very talented people, what did you expect? Unfortunateley due to family commitments, Paula had to cancel at the last moment so I didn't have the full complement of my favourite local artists but it was great afternoon nevertheless. Footage of some of the other artists that played should become available here over the next few days.
As always, thanks to those that came to see me specifically. It's always much appreciated.
- Andrew Shearer
- Phil "Boff" Morrison (video soon)
- Maija (video soon)
- Luke Paulo (video soon)
- Paula Curtis - cancelled
- Raji Kulatilake (video soon)
- Scarlet and the Hussies (Jodie O'Callaghan)
- Jack Cade and the Everyday Sinners
- Greg Mayston
In addition to having Something Wild sampled for the radio ad, the song is also on the Festival CD