As the Fairport Convention Wintour comes to a close, Dave Pegg (‘Peggy’ to his friends’) looks back over the highs and lows (not that there really seem to have been many) of the tour, and looks forward to the next set of dates, which aren’t too far away…
Well we’re into the final week or touring now with 4 gigs to go. A day off yesterday and today and I must confess I’m pretty tired and looking forward to a break. We’ve had great concerts and attendances and some wonderful audience appreciation, so thanks so much for coming out to see us if you did. We are very lucky to still have the opportunity to tour and play to so many people in this, the band’s 46th year of existence.
Of course tours don’t just pop up, and there’s an awful amount of work that goes into making them possible, so I would like to thank some people here. Our agent, Nigel Reavill, has the task of juggling dates and booking halls a good year in advance. People ask why we aren’t playing near them or why the dates sometimes appear to have been planned using a dartboard as a map. Believe me I know from my experience of booking our earlier tours that this is no easy task! It’s easy if you are a hugely popular act that is going to sell out 12 gigs or so – if the halls are available you can take your pick. In our case we have to try to fill 5 or 6 weeks of dates and take in the whole country (when we can get the availability at venues where we wish to perform).
This sometimes can result in very long drives, which means Mick Peters our driver/ tour manager has to work very long hours. We always try to get back to Oxfordshire if poss., especially when there are days off. Mick has been a real star as usual and he is always doing something to benefit the tour. I can’t imagine us coping without him.
We had some very useful radio plugs to help advertise our gigs thanks to Andy Farquarson and Stevie Horton at iconic music. They really help by doing great P.R. on our behalf. I had a great time doing Tom Robinson’s radio 6 show and Simon did our good friend Johnny Walker’s show. We also played live on a session for BBC Folk on Radio 2 which, thanks to their lovely studio and engineer Chris doing a great job, sounded great. A real benefit for us was BBC Wales giving us a one hour documentary and live concert last year. This really helped, and I’ve had many people coming up to me with “We didn’t know you were still going ” and other similar comments. So a big thank you to them.
Andy Salmon provided us with his fab. M.S.L. P.A. and alternated driving the truck with Buff Reynoldson. Vast distances were covered, and our equipment was set up and broken down every night with such dexterity. Then there’s the wonderful Johnny Gale, assisting them and doing such a cracking job mixing the sound. I have had so many “best sound ever’ comments this tour so well done John. John’s next task is to have a go at mixing live stuff from last years Cropredy festival, and we hope to have that CD for sale on our May tour.
A big thank you to Ellen Thomas (my partner) for selling the programmes and CDs. I have enjoyed assisting her before the show starts and meeting up with audience members. My “fairport knitting pattern” sales pitch has indeed been taken up and our good friend and cricket captain Steve Sheldon has a neighbour who is experimenting with a scarf design. We can then have a competition to see who knits the best scarf —– to include the band too, can you imagine?
John Watterson as Fake Thackray has been truly magnificent every night and has put everyone in the audience in such good spirits before we join him. Thanks John and all your chums who have helped selling merchandise.
Back at the office Gareth Williams has been working away on Cropredy festival stuff and helping us by designing a spreadsheet to save lots stress with our sales. Cropredy tickets are going quicker than in previous years thanks to a great line up, so don’t hang about in ordering them.
Our spring tour runs from May 9th through to June 9th and the dates are in our tour programme/calendar. If you didn’t get one of these lavish Mick Toole designed items with Ben Nicholson’s lovely pics, do get one from our website.
My time relaxing in the van has been spent reading Master and Commander by Patrick O.Brian which is apparently one of James Taylor’s favourite books. Very good it was too.
I have been listening to Ralph McTell’s lovely new Sofa Noodling instrumental CD, and “Swarbtricks” a collection of new melodies written by Swarb. We played with a great Norwegian singer Jonas Alaska when we were last in Denmark and this too has kept my interest.
On a night off I drove to Cambridge and saw Richard Thompson. Fab as usual and I wish I had been the bassist! Cant have everything — but you can try ! So 4 gigs to go. Thanks to my band chums for putting up with me and to all who came to see us. see you in may I hope and hope you enjoy a few tour highlight pix from me. Cheers, Peggy.
That’s the end of our Fairport Convention tour blog. We might cry. If you want to remind yourself of weeks 1 to 4, and revel in the wonder of the Fairport Wintour, be our guest. We’ll be reviewing their show at the Union Chapel on Saturday 9th, too, so keep your eyes peeled for that.