Now that there is just a hint of spring in the air, and those of us who work office hours are leaving work in daylight, the dormant gig-goer shuffles uneasily from his hibernation and raises his snout to sniff the air. Yes, he thinks, it may be time to think about ‘going out’ again.
I can see that my booked events fall into three chronological groups. March is all about spoken word with front row tickets for Ross Noble on his Brain Dump tour (which will be the third time we have seen him in about 12 months), and favourite author Christopher Priest making a rare public appearance for an interview at the local book festival. I’ve loved Priest’s work since discovering The Prestige on a second hand bookstall more than 30 years ago, but have never met him. We also have an application in for a recording with David Sedaris for the BBC. We’ve applied before but been unlucky, so fingers crossed on that one.
Things then take a folky hue as spring turns into summer with Kathryn Williams at Canada Water in April, The Unthanks at Deptford in May, Fairport’s 50th birthday bash at Union Chapel, also in May, and Folk by the Oak one day festival (Levellers, Kate Rusby, Show of Hands and many more) in July. We might plug the June gap by going to the Stonefree Festival at the O2 in June. Last year we found that afternoon events in the Indigo Arena were free, whether or not you had a ticket for the main evening gigs. If the same applies this year we see Blue Oyster Cult among others, if not we’ll just have a day out in London instead.
As it’s only February bookings are a bit slimmer from the middle of the year on so far, but Steve Harris’ British Lion (a side project of the Iron Maiden bass player and songwriter) are playing a festival warm up gig at Colchester Arts Centre in July. I was a Maiden fan in my youth, and I like the idea of a guy who usually plays to tens of thousands having arrived by his band’s own aeroplane gigging for a couple of hundred people in a deconsecrated church. The Afro Celt Sound System are at the same venue in November. Their gig there last year was the best I saw all year so I’m looking forward to it already.
Put in a group like this it all looks completely exhausting, but this will take me to near the end of the year. It also looks expensive, but the whole lot is less than it would have cost to go to Cropredy. I love that festival, but try as I might I couldn’t convince myself that this year’s bill was worth the admission price (I know there are others on the board who disagree and hope they have a great time there in August).
Anyway, what’s in your calendar?