To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the Ridderkerk Blues Festival until recently. Nico, the driving force behind the festival, got a copy of “Beyond The Tears” for his radio show and I think it all fell into place from there.
The festival was held in what I’d call a sort of youth centre – the type of place I’ve played sooooo many times throughout Europe when I was establishing my name over there. It had two rooms – one medium sized and a good sized one. We elected to play reasonable early, which I quite enjoy because it cuts down on the waiting around time and then you’re free to watch the other bands, etc., if you feel like doing so.
The organisers did a great job and our stay there was quite pleasant. We had our own little backstage girl and did a great job of making sure everything went smoothly. The M.C. was a guy we bumped into when we played Grolloo in the north of Holland late last year. He’s become quite a fan I think. The audience was a really nice audience and it was really, really nice to play to them.
Our set was officially 60 minutes but they told us we could do an encore if we got one (we did!). However, my philosophy is – if you haven’t got them in an hour you’re not going to get them so no point in making the whole festival run late by staying up there forever. We did 63 minutes, including encore. I think that’s fair enough, isn’t it? It’s funny but after all these years of playing I can time a set to the nearest minute without having to look at a clock. You just feel it. I enjoy doing that and I LOVE turning over the stage to the next band, stage manager, etc. in time. To me it’s just respecting everyone else’s part in the day as well.
After the gig I went to sign CD’s, have photos taken, etc., as is my usual thing to do and this woman told me her story about when she got married they played “Adam & Eve” as their song at the wedding. It’s always lovely to hear how your music touches people and what they do with it after they buy the CD’s and take them home.
Another lady told me she was an angel, and that I was one too, but maybe she’d had a few too many. To her credit she did say that she’d been visiting that festival for many years now and she’d seen her fair collection of musicians getting up on stage with their egos in tow (her words). She said she felt I was devoid of that and she was pleased to see that. That was nice to hear of course and I certainly hope it’s true as I travel to these places to play my songs and enjoy interacting with the people who turn up to listen. It’s as simple as that for me – there’s the artist and the audience and together we make a show.
I met several other people who visit the concerts regularly and sometimes they seem surprised that I remember them, or that I can recall things we spoke about in previous conversations, but again to me that’s normal if you’re interested in the people you’re talking to. I can’t/don’t remember EVERYBODY because sometimes your meeting/conversation with them is very fleeting but if I can’t/don’t remember them I always say it. I think it’s silly to make out you remember them because that only leads to a bulls*** conversation. I’d rather just say – sorry, I don’t remember talking to you before but let’s talk now. That way at least you can have a useful conversation second time around.
So, all in all, I had a very enjoyable time at the Ridderkerk Blues Festival and long may it run. I’ve been asked to appear as a ‘special guest’ in Dongen for a special blues night so I’m certainly looking forward to that already. It’s always nice to play there. For the rest, I’m off the road for the month of May so I better head off a do some of the many things that await my attention. Talk to you soon.