Hello lovely people!
As of the 31st of March 2016 I will be on the road on a wonderful joint tour with The artPACKT Touring Collective.
We are totally DIY and have slogged our guts out over the past few months to book this tour. Hundreds of emails, phone calls and biscuits (we recommend Ginger Nuts) later we have our list of dates on a lovely wee poster :)
It's so much fun being on tour but it is by no means easy. Really though, it's a hard on the body and the mind. If you have been following my blog at all over the years you will know that I am always striving to be honest and open particularly when I am struggling with things. Touring is no exception. It can be very easy to look at others' online profiles and think they are living the high life but believe me, they are dragging their tired, over worked and under exercised ass across the country just like the rest of us!
So I wanted to share with you our tour schedule and itinerary. I am a such a sucker for organising and categorising (MAN Stationary get’s me WET!) so when I thought of this blog post I was straight out the house and into the nearest cafe to write it up.
Okay, here we go...
Welcome to my daily tour life, before it happens. The schedule of a DIY touring solo musician.
Just to note, this is a joint tour so I have pals on the road with me otherwise I would go fucking mental.
FIRST LEG - SCOTLAND
DAY 1, Gig 1 - Oban Chocolate Factory, Oban, Scotland
Meet in Glasgow
Drive 3 hours to Oban
Set up for 6pm
Play gig and finish up at venue around 11pm
Head to digs
That is a good blue print for each gig day of the tour actually. Arrive at venue approx. 5/6pm, set up and play until around 10.30/11pm. Chats and mingles after every gig then 'home', wherever that may be for the night!
DAY 2, Gig 2 - House Gig, Edinburgh, Scotland
Wake up in Oban
3 hour drive from Oban to Edinburgh
Arrive at house gig around 6pm to meet host (who actually happens to be an old Uni pal!)
Play gig usually finishing up around 10/10.30pm for house gigs
Drive 1 hour to Glasgow
Day 3, Gig 3 - House Gig, Glasgow, Scotland
I will wake up in Glasgow today so it's a good day to get some exercise in and chill. It is SO important to me to steal some me time whilst on tour. Reading and Pilates are my ‘me time activities’
Day 4, Gig 4 - Hotel Eilean Iarmain, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Love being able to hop over to Skye. It's fucking stunning, proud to be Scottish material.
4 hour drive from Glasgow to Skye
Usual drill, get into venue, set up and start greeting guests as they arrive for the show.
We try to be a present as possible the whole time to meet, chat and connect with everyone that comes along to our show.
Day 5, Gig 5 - House Gig, Skye, Scotland
Okay, so these are the days that I feel SO LUCKY to have this job. I will wake up on Skye, eat food and no doubt walk my wee butt around this beautiful island. That is when having mates on the tour with you makes all the difference - we get to share these moments.
Day 6, DAY OFF
Today will be spent traveling down to Glasgow from Skye and filming some of our PledgeMusic campaign exclusives to send out - they are a coming!
Day 7, Gig 6, The Royal Oak, Edinburgh
A night 45 min trip to the capital from Glasgow to play at the folk heart of the universe. I hope they don't mind my swearing, singing in tunes and weird time signature changes (JOKES!)
Drive home to Glasgow afterwards
Day 8, Gig 7, The Steamie, Glasgow
So, one of the nice things about touring Scotland is that it's all pretty close together! Another good time to work out and get some me time booked in before tonight's show in the very cafe I am writing this blog in! Nice!
LEG TWO - ENGLAND and WALES
Our first two England gigs are house gigs - my favourite format to perform!
Day 9, Gig 8 - House Gig, Sheffield, England
Drive 200 miles, 4.5 hours from Glasgow to Sheffield.
House gig means so much less stress, more chill and more banter. We also know our host well so it’s like chilling with pals. NICE!
Day 10, Gig 9 - House Gig, Coventry, England
Not long to drive today so, perhaps I can squeeze in a walk around, some pilates and maybe some admin? 10 days without emails...*breaks out in a rash*
This is a special gig as we have a really beautiful bunch of folks that support us in the Midlands and we get to hang with them all here tonight!!
Day 11, Gig 10 - House Gig, Swansea, Wales
YES, WALES! I have only gigged in Wales once before. I have driven the length of the UK multiple times but WE GET TO GO OVER THAT BRIDGE and that will be enough excitement for me for one day.
It’s an early afternoon show though so we need to wake up early for this one….early, what is early…
Staying over in Wales
Day 12, Gig 11 - Mr Wolf's, Bristol, England
Drive from Swansea to Bristol, it shouldn't be too hard a drive and then we get to play at the wonderful Quentin who runs SongSmith night's in one of my fav cities!
After the gig is a 3 hour night time the drive to London.
Day 13, Gig 12 0 House Gig, London, England
House gig in the capitol then tomorrow we have a DAY OFF!! YES!
Day 14, DAY OFF
So this is our second day off of the tour so far. REST. I imagine by today my back will be a bit achey and I will be tired. So I think a light pilates workout and lost of resting today. A good chance to meet up with old pals as well from my London years.
LEG THREE - NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM
Day 15, Gig 13 - The Wolfhound, Haarlem, Netherlands
YES! EUROPE! I fucking love this, long drives, exciting deciphering of signs with too many vowels on them and ever closer to my heart's home, Germany. The Netherlands are just so sweet though. The main for a schedule for these days are taking lots of driving breaks and trying to get to the shows on time. We have played at The Wolfhound before, it's a fantastic Irish but not ridic. pub. Proper great food and drink, no cheesy shamrocks. Just good food and banter. Proper craic.
This will be a late one for sure.
Day 16, Gig 14 - Home of Art, Amsterdam, Netherland
Driving around the Netherlands is a breeze. It's small and flat and well structured. No stress! And we hit up Amsterdam within 1.5 hours of leaving Haarlem. Hopefully after along sleep.
Day 17, Gig 15 - House Gig, Ghent, Belgium
These are my first gigs in Belgium. just like the Netherlands it's a small country so not too much driving.
A new house gig host however means we want to be on time and all ready for them so we can chat and east with our host and get to give them some of our proper time. It's so important to me to be kind and respectful to these folk that support us and allow us to travel all round the place doing what we love!
Day 18, Gig 16 - Heuvelzicht, Essen, Belgium
Another new venue! This one is a wee cafe. So again, we will head over early and get all settled in before starting our show. I always get nervous at a new venue cos WHO KNOWS what will happen?!
*MIND AND BODY CHECK IN DAY*
By this time in the tour all the excitement of being somewhere new and the stress of navigating around a new country does make for a very tired mind, body and soul. We are also over half way through the tour by this point so it's a perfect time to check in. Eat some good food and make sure I move my body around.
Day 19, DAY OFF - The Hague, Netherlands
We will be taking our day off in political UN hub, The Hague. It's a cool city but not the prettiest. It does, however, have a beach! Perhaps some beach pilates?! (How hot is it in the Netherlands in April?!)
Day 20, Gig 17 - House Gig, The Hauge, Netherlands
Minimal travel and a chance to rest our bones, a house gig and some good food will be on the cards tonight.
Day 21, DAY OFF - Another day off in the Hague as we prepare for the final run of the tour
LEG FOUR - GERMANY
Day 22, Gig 18 - House Gig, Laatzen, Germany
YAS! Germany! It's my fav place, I just LOOOVE this country so much. I am currently talking German lessons so I can try it all out on my house gig host tonight who is the wonderful Arnt. He hosted us on our tour last November and I can't wait to see him and all his crew again - such great banter!
These gig where we know what to expect means we can focus a lot more on our music and on really getting a good connection with the audience.
Day 23, Gig 19 - Karambolage, Dresden, Germany
A long drive of 3.5 hours to Dresden.
We also played here on our last tour and played to an ace crowd of bikers and students. Hopefully more of the same!
Day 24, Gig 20 - JDENVH, Regensburg, Germany
The next two shows are new for us, we put out a shout to our fans that we wanted to play in the area and they hooked us up BIG STYLEE!!! :)
Day 25, Gig 21 - Murphy's Law Irish Pub, Regensburg, Germany
Two gigs in one town is great as it's almost like having a morning off. Recharge, grab some me time and hopefully get a workout in. It will be fun to compare this blog with the actual tour as it goes. Expect " am so fucking tired.." Updates a lot!
Day 26, Gig 22 - Cafe Zentral, Amberg
Amberg is a staple on our tour calendar, this time we are in a new and exciting venue (for us) again hooked up by our fans. What a bunch of legends!! Regensburg to Amber is a short trip...I am grateful for these shorties!
Day 27, Gig 23 - KaffeeKuche, Munich, Germany
Munich is another new city for me to gig in!
The gig was set up for us my our wonderful and beautiful friend Marie, what an amazing and enthusiastic lady she is. Such a breath of fresh air. Again a short drive and then we hit up the show.
Day 28, DAY OFF
Drive from Munich to the German/Belgian border.
So we originally had a gig in Berlin on this date however we had to cancel it. The logistics just didn't work out for us in the end and unfortunately it was a no go. Next time...and Berlin, it's cool man, I will be living in you soon anyways!
Day 29, Gig 24 - House Gig, London, England
Wake up in Germany and get our asses back to Blighty as soon as possible for tonight’s show.
This house gig has been a long time coming, and it will take us a long time to get there from Munich too!! Our host has been offering us a show with him for AGES and we finally managed to schedule it in - I love it when that happens!
Once home, and post tour I will have the drive back home to Scotland to reflect and start the wind down post tour process. It's hard on my body. I have had immune system problems for a wee while recently too so I am prepared to have a dip afterwards but my heart will be full, along with my email list. My CD merch case will hopefully be empty.
SO there you go. If you look at the updates online, the photos it all looks lovely and like we are smashing it BUT…
but we play for free, we eat for cheap and we break our backs driving and lugging gear around in order to fulfil some deep deep itch we have in our heart to reach out, discuss and connect with each other, the world and our feelings.
It's always worth it. Art is alway worth it an us artists have a duty to keep creating. Art changed me, it got me though some of the lower points of my life and if I can affect even one other person with my music then surly it's my duty to do so?
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