We’ve been travelling all day and are making our final approach now to Edmonton. It’s been a long day but, because of the time difference, it’s only early evening. Our show, as part of the Edmonton Folk Festival, is apparently going to be at the equivalent of 5.30am. So I’m trying not to think about that — it’s not until the day after tomorrow, anyway.
I’m really looking forward to this festival (and the Squamish Festival, outside Vancouver, that we’re playing at the following day). We’re fresh from a successful week in France, Spain, and Switzerland and have been playing well together. It was especially gratifying in Spain — a territory James hasn’t visited often — to see the beachfront arena fill steadily as we went through our set until there were people as far as the eye could see! It’ll be brilliant to do some full shows there on our European tour in October.
The various changes and tweaks I’ve been making to my setup have been working out well. We switched out the clarinet and the lapsteel and put those parts onto synths, which makes things a lot simpler for festivals. I got my Nord Stage to communicate better with the Mainstage program on my laptop (it runs the soft synths), halving the time it takes me to change patches between songs. Lots of little things which have made a big difference.
We were in Edmonton before, back in March. It was a very memorable gig for many reasons. To recap: Our tour bus broke down outside Seattle on my birthday; with the help of the support band’s van we got to Vancouver and played our show that night; after much solution-searching, James and our tour manager drove across the Rockies in a U-Haul with all our gear while the rest of us flew to Edmonton; we put on the show of our lives (it was also the first time we’d been in a venue that could accommodate the full lighting setup). It was a beautiful venue, the MacDougall Uniting Church, and the crowd were fabulous. As was the hospitality shown to us by the local organisers, especially Steve Derpack of JCL Productions. I also recall a delicious local grapefruit ale that I’ll be seeking out…!