We couldn’t do what we do without the support of these wonderful people
22nd October: Off up to the “M Club” in Crewe for a full production rehearsal. Various specially invited guests and students from Winstanley College arrive and thanks to them we get the stage lights working. Great set from the boys and it’s off to the hotel…
23rd October: Back to M Club and an impromptu jam by Steve (bass), Warren (drums) and Jem. Sounded great considering they were all playing different songs! Count all the merchandise and off I go to Nottingham. We’re the only band not playing the Friday night who are allowed to have their merch on sale…
Once at Nottingham I find my way to the University, not the right one though (who knew there were TWO unis in Nottingham?). Success! I find the Uni and load in the merch. Big hug from Sarah for having counted it. None of the other bands bothered. Get chatting to Lost Weekend's singer and Phil Ashcroft from Fireworks. Stay for Lost Weekend's set. 30 minutes of absolute class. Brilliant and proper loud… after all I am still a fan!!
Now the fun begins. Some jobs-worth security guard has locked the gates to the Uni car park and tracking him down was an act that Sherlock Holmes would have been proud of. Off to meet the rest of the crew. Aah… curry in a very posh “ruby house” opposite the hotel. A most pleasant meal in the most cordial company of The Davis’, S. Overland Esq., The Churches from Reigate and the colourful Mr Mead. A jolly time was had by all with lashings of ginger beer. (Stiv always says he can’t remember any stories but he somehow manages to whenever we’re having a curry together.)
Back to the hotel and I’m told that we need 100 signed copies of a CD for sale the next day. I source the CDs, unwrap them, then become the autograph Police and set up a signing sweatshop in the hotel lobby press-ganging Merv's nieces and anybody else who happens to be walking through at the time. Shared a room with the Churches and Warren. Ali Church can now lay claim to sleeping with three men at once… lucky lady.
24th October: Day of... Load in our gear. The bloke who has the keys to the lorry containing the backline and the drum kit has overslept. He arrives just as the boys turn up for the soundcheck. Airrace arrive and chat with the boys. Soundcheck - all's well.
Dave T has organised the meet and greet so it’s off to a smaller bar to arrange the room. Posters and fliers are hung. Dave did an amazing job on the posters and an even more amazing job organising the whole meet. Top man Dave but obviously behind every great man is Tiff!!
One-legged Ali is then humped through the crowd to take her vantage point in the
crow's nest. She is settled with her leg up, some cushions and a case of Carling.
Off for a cuppa and I bump into Crown of Thorns backstage (I make Jean Beauvoir a
brew too) then catch their set. Superb and again loud… thanks Auntie Sue for the
photo with JB (another hero met!).
FM’s crew doubled up and assisted Romeo’s Daughter. Did anyone notice Craig’s amp blowing up? That was real smoke not the stage stuff. A hasty change of amp and no-one knew!! Phew. Leigh shouts that she wants to suck on a fisherman's friend. What? Nearly left for the river Trent to find a fisherman and his mate before I was stopped. Aah now I understand. The throat sweets were sourced and her pipes never sounded better. Fabulous set and I know the band thoroughly enjoyed themselves. So did we. (Wellsy should have been in a punk band the amount of gobbing he did. Nearly got one in the eye.) Major congratulations and we bump into John Parr backstage. (Didn’t get a photo.)
FM stage time. It was all going too smoothly. We were right. The intro starts, Merv puts his banjo on, gives it a little test “F+#* I’ve got nothing, nothing”. A dodgy lead is replaced and the mike moved to the right amp and we’re away literally seconds before “Wildside”. No other dramas I can think of until we are set upon by a bogus FM brought back from the 80s. Where did Dave Ling get that pink suit? (I always knew they’d come back in fashion.) And Tony Marshall wearing a pair of Steve Churches shoes!! Does anyone else think the set went quickly?? It was remarked by another musician side-stage that he had never seen so many people smiling and so happy. Couldn't have agreed more.
Offstage and a cold beer for the boys while we pack up. All is safely gathered in. I collect the left over merchandise in the hotel lobby and set about reconciling the balance not only for FM but Romeo’s Daughter too.
Off to the bar… Holy s*** Jim K absolutely bladdered as is Dave Ling. Great chat with the cook from Jim K’s local and her hubby. Tracy, I WILL be coming up to sample the FREE food you offered me!!
25th October: Load all the left over merchandise into Jem’s van, not before bumping into a bloke from Belgium who expresses an interest in both FM and RD playing at HIS festival. T-shirts are dished out to him and his wife and both seem very happy.
It’s home and back to the day job.
Gotta say thanks to - firstly to Stiv, Merv, Pete, Jem and Jim. You guys make it look SO easy that I don’t think people know how hard you guys work at getting things right. Top gig and I can’t wait for February.
Churchy you and your bloody list… You really do think of everything. We’re a top team. What I lack in experience and foot size you more than make up for. Thanks mate.
All the Firefest crew for their eternal patience and understanding…