Just to round off the weekend of perfect gigging experiences I depped with Soul Traders who were headlining at The VW Fab Fest, Strumpshaw. The event had sold out and the field was full of amazing VW campervans, some restored to showroom condition, others were heavily modified and sporting beautiful paint jobs. People were camping in the field and there were barbecues cooking up lovely aromas and although it had started to rain in typical English bank-holiday fashion it didn’t dampen the atmosphere.
As I approached I could hear the throbbing bass and tight thump of the kick drum from a mile away as a rock band played classics in the large marquee, I couldn’t wait to plug in to that baby. I found somewhere to park up and went over to watch the band, ready changed and with just my Ibanez bass and lead. The marquee was packed with a sea of heads bobbing up and down enthusiastically. I noted the gear, an Ampeg 450w bass stack plugged into an awesome PA with a mixing stage set in the middle of the crowd.
It didn’t seem long before 10pm came around and it was our turn to finish the night. No time for a sound check, just get Kenny’s keyboards onto the stage and check that all was working. What a sound, my bass strings were alive, I only had to touch them to produce an awesome thump, it really doesn’t get better than this. We played one long solid set of pure dance music – classic sixties Motown, soul, disco classics and some more modern stuff, finishing the night with a ska set and all too soon we were encoring with ‘Geno’.
A notable show of commitment was shown by sax player Mick. He had booked his annual two week holiday in Devon prior to this gig’s booking. He organised a dep and had been going through the parts with him for a while but soon determined that he wouldn’t be quite up to scratch in time. So Mick drove up from Devon for the gig and as soon as it finished he was in his car and on his way back to complete his holiday, a 700 mile round-trip for a single set. Well done Mick, that’s what I call reliable!
The crowd were with us the whole way and the comments received by certain people, and the superb company of the band put me on an incredible high and I really didn’t want to leave. As I drove slowly home through the increasingly heavy rain I couldn’t help thinking that another summer was on its way out, and with it, the end of other bass players’ holidays. The following day it rained stair rods all day so no Land Rover activities, but a restful day was in order, catching up with work that had been a bit neglected with all the learning of sets over the last few weeks.
It wasn’t long though before I was browsing Land Rover forums and planning the jobs to do before the MOT comes around in October!
Thanks Angela Meyern for all the photos on this page 🙂