Had another fun weekend, at the Indy Irish Fest, in Indianapolis, IN. Took off after work friday and drove 6 hours to my sisters house. Got in around 11:30, had a chat with 2 of my nephews, so fun to talk with them about what is going on with them – God they grow up sooooo fast. I crashed. Off to Indy, which is only an hour away from my sis’s on Saturday. Was able to drive right up to my booth, after I spotted Rufus on the grounds. He is the entertainment director and he got me to the right place, without having to haul all my “stuff” from the parking lot to the booth – usually 4 trips. Heaven. I got the booth set up.
and then took a quick look around – the grounds are a diamond arrangement, inside a city square block. So one stage is in each quad, kind of. I could hear 3 of the stages from where my booth was. Featured performers were The Prodigals, Gaelic Storm, Brigid’s Cross and Searson.
The Prods were only Friday, so I didn’t get to see them unfortunately – great band, but Gaelic Storm, Searson and Brigid’s Cross played Sat & Sun, so I got to see a bit, and hear almost all, of their shows. Patrick Murphy from G. Storm stopped by – they have been on the road for 6 weeks straight and this was their last gig before going home to California. Patrick got engaged the night before he left for the road – what a present to his wife to be!! We had a nice chat – They have a new CD out – called Bring Yer Wellies – great stuff, and Patrick was strolling around with a miniature camouflaged colored wellie – as his beer mug – given to each of the band members by a fan. Wish I had gotten a pic – too funny.
I had a presentation each day. I read some of my poetry, verse and a few stories from the book and talk about the people involved and how all going on around us is connected, from those currently playing at that particular fest – how the songs they are singing might be written by one of those in the book etc.. to how many of our youth seem to feel a deep sense of disconnect and being alone, and how they really are not – for out heritage goes back centuries and therefore, so do they.
The presentations are huge for me – not only in selling books, my primary goal in being there, but also in generating other business – I have gotten offers to go to other festivals, offers to speak on other topics at special events, offers to rewrite websites, and offers to MC events, from folks in the audience who liked what/how I presented.
The first day went well – had a few folks listening and the crowd grew as I read some of my poetry and poetry and stories from the book. They seemed to enjoy it and had a warm response. The second day was really memorable – I got there and there were no chairs, no sound system. As the time apporached, I realized I was on my own and quickly gathered up as many chairs as I could and brought them into the 20 x 20 tent. I looked 12 paces to my left, where Three Men in Kilts, a bagpipe and electric guitar band, were playing, in a cool open air pavilion. 25 paces to my right was a huge pen, where sheep and border collies were giving a demonstration of training and herding sheep, I think – they had a nice sound system as I could hear the announcer quite well talking about sheep and how to train the dogs.
I turned off the continuous play movie and began – then a stream of fire engines went by – there must be a lot of fires or false alarms in Indy because the trucks went by many times over the weekend – quite loudly! Then, the pipe band arrived. Hey, I couldn’t make this stuff up. Oh well. I returned to the booth, the pipe band played on
Then, 15 minutes later, there was complete and utter silence – 3 of the stages were doing changeovers, the pipe band was gone. Ahh, isn’t timing everything?
So I bounced over and watched a few minutes of Searson, 3 sisters, their Da and a drummer – family name is Searson.
The Fiddler sister stepped off a curb badly, while wearing flip-flops and badly sliced her big toe – so no Irish step dancing for her.
Erin, who plays the keyboards and guitar and a few others, plus dances, joined her other sister, on base, and her Da, on guitar.
Right in the middle of a song, at a pause, she leaves the keyboards, and switches to guitar, without a missed beat.
Erin has such a warm, engulfing voice, that reminds me of the great Kerry (Ireland) poet Clifford Sigurson’s words; her “voice could charm the hinges off the gates of hell.”
They are a great band, that you will be hearing A LOT from – great talent, great performances. Get their CD, it is new out this year. Erin and Da stopped over at the booth after and we talked a bit they were next on to Philadelphia and had gigs every day straight thru till the end of the month. Classy, genuine people.
I had a good overall weekend, sold a fair few books and had a lot of fun, Learned about sheep and border collies and saw some great music. Cleveland’s own Brigid’s Cross ended the weekend and as the stage close to me closed early, I packed up my stuff, hauled it off to the car and then watched the last few songs of their show. Another great group, very talented, extrememly funny and with a HUGE following that redefines the term “groupie”.
You laugh as much as you sing with Brigid’s Cross and in their ten years together, they have worked their butts off to build a following that rivals any groups. Peggy is a great keyboard and Bodhran (Irish hand drum) player and Paul played with the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra at 8 years old. But it is their stage presence and banter that makes them stand out. Paul had on a Browns shirt, in Indy, and says – “So, you guys haven’t won any championships either huh?” The crowd roared. Many would get booed, but Paul, with his big grin and Browns shirt could pull it off – he almost always does.
So, it is a break for a while – I hit many, many festivals this summer and I guess I don’t mind a little break from being away every weekend. Get to watch my beloved Buckeyes and Browns for the first time this coming weekend.
p.s. BIG news is coming and I WILL NOT be idle this winter……… let you know in about 2 weeks, when all is finalized – PRAY for me!!!!
Here’s how I ended the presentation, you have seen this before, but I like it and it rings in my head:
by John O’Brien, Jr.
You are welcome in my home
Wait for no invitation,
for it was given the day we met.
Pull up a chair, warm your hands
as the sweet tastes of the turf and the tea, linger
in the rare air
My door is always open,
the kettle always boiling.
Scones warm vapors awaken.
I am so happy you dropped by.
There is a place for you here.
We’ll sing. Bards and sean nos,
friends of friends come freely
and stay, and go, leaving memories
passing on songs, sharing history
adding to the fabric of my life
barely lived, generations old.
I want no rules here
yet invite you to join with my ways
around the hearth.
Only you have seen,
what you have seen,
the places you’ve been,
stories you’ve breathed.
Friends and foes of the past
and how they walked their path
their ripples, and jokes,
their memorable moments in time
and so will live on
as we pass on.
There are no strangers here
only friends who haven’t met.