Boolarra Folk Festival 2006

From left to right: Me, Hans Visser and John Werner

I had lots of plans for this festival like:

Now lets see what actually happened.

I spent the previous night at my daughters place and well, how can I put it, we had a late night and didn't hit the sack until around 2:30 am.

I finally crawled out of bed at 11:00 am and drove home and had a shower, then changed the strings on the guitar. Strapped a piano stool to the back of the bike, strapped the guitar on my back and set off for Boolarra at 12:30. Note that this appears to cut into my one hour early timetable.

Arrived at Boolarra at 1:00 pm to find Hans Visser and John Werner relieved that I have arrived. Unpacked all the gear and put all the cables, etc in the piano stool. Took the slide guitar out of its case and tuned it to standard pitch. For some reason the strings were a little flat.

The first act finished and we wait for the act to leave the stage. We put our gear on and try and get a balance through the microphones and DI. As usual my slide was a little bright, so I asked the mixer man to take off some of the treble. The MC thinks this is a bit of novelty and proceeds to introduce the band as if we are ready. I catch the MC's attention and manage to get a few seconds more for the mixer man to do his work before we started performing.

Now at this point I should have made a decision that would have saved me a lot of grief. Let me explain: All I could hear through my foldback was my guitar with nothing of Hans and John. Not only that but it was loud. In the push to keep the music going I thought I could handle the foldback mix. What I should have done was stall for a bit more time and ask for a different mix, I didn't! As a consequence I had to underplay to keep the volume down and couldn't get into the rhythm that Hans and John were laying down as I couldn't hear them. This became rather apparent when we started the second song, "Sailor's Hornpipe" and I completely forgot the melody and just played notes to fill in the time I had before handing over to Hans to finish off the song. I guess you could could call it Bluegrass-Jazz, as I was all over the place and fortunately not far away from the key of the song, just not a very recognisable melody. Oh Boy!

Our first song, a sort of Bluegrass version of 'Money For Nothing' had a few dancers up within a few bars. They had a great time except that they were bare foot and all of the sticks, etc in the grass made dancing rather hazardous. Still even with all that to cope with, they lasted the whole song. Congratulations.

I recovered somewhat and the rest of the set went much smoother except for the horrible balance in the foldback.

We had prepared a little 'send off' piece, but were cut off by the MC again who mistakenly thought we had finished our set. We still hadn't used all of our allocated 20 minutes, so that was a bit disappointing.

From the other side of the P.A. the sound was apparently glorious. That's great, but boy, I'm sure taking a firmer hand next time something like this happens. Lots and lots of people came up after the set and during the afternoon saying they had enjoyed our set, which is gratifying as we'd planned a fun set, it's just that I couldn't relate to their experience.

I left soon after and drove home and put together my busking gear. The real problem here was that I hadn't charged up the motorcycle batteries I use for power, so plan B swung into action: use the battery in the car! Drove back to Boolarra and set up in the vendors area and played for about an hour and raised enough money to pay for dinner!

All in all I had a rather good time and spent quite a bit of time chatting about motorcycles, guitars and other stuff with lots of people that just came up and wanted to chat. The weather was just right as far as I'm concerned, blue skies, mid 30's and a cool breeze through the trees. You couldn't have asked for a better day. I'll bet the organising committee are very happy after last years showers.

OK, the score card.