Update on the Royal Albert Hall concert

A couple of months ago I set up a Facebook page for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The idea came as I looked at the 7500+ likes on the my music page and thought I wonder if we could do this? So I created the Facebook page asking people to like the page if they would come along. The page got over 800 likes on the first couple of days, then levelled out as I updated it less and it now stands at just over 1000 likes. Which is a good start, but we still need more if the idea is to become a reality.

Obviously the first thing that happened, and I’m not at all surprised it did, is that I was inundated with offers from musicians to play at the gig. There were a few other enquiries that came up so I thought I’d better address some of them in this post so we know we are on the same page.

The main thing to bear in mind is that we would only have the hall for the evening. It wouldn’t be an all day festival. Just to have the hall for 3 hours of music between 8pm and 11pm is going to cost around £28-30,000. Doors would open at 7.15 with access to seats at 7.30. The concert would begin at 8pm. So realistically there is time for one, at the most two, performers on top of my own concert for you all. Right now I have been speaking with Spiral Dance from Australia in the hope that they will be one of the bands performing on the night, but this is obviously in the very early stages. As for myself, I’ll be putting together a full band for this one-off concert with some very special guest musicians along the way. Whatever happens it’s going to be a great evening of music.

So the next stage is to begin to raise the finances for the concert as the Royal Albert Hall requires all of the money in advance for people hiring it for the first time. Here’s the plan…

I would like for the Facebook page to get to at least 1500 likes before Samhain this year. The Albert Hall holds 3929 people, so if each of those 1500 likes brings one guest we are close to a sell out. If we reach 1500 likes on the page I’ll then take that as a good omen and open a Kickstarter fund raiser page. Kickstarter is a safe and secure online service that allows people to raise money for artistic projects. I will set the target figure to £28,000 and ask each of you who want to be at the event to donate a minimum of £30. That £30 donation will buy you your ticket, but at the time of donation you won’t know the date of the event as I won’t be able to book the hall before we raise the money. Kickstarter only charge the donation if the project reaches its target by the deadline. If we don’t reach the target by the deadline no one will be charged and the project just doesn’t happen. If, however, we reach the target, or go beyond it, on the deadline date the donations are taken, we get the finances, and can write the Albert Hall a cheque and book the date for the concert. So the success of this event lies with the community. If we want this to happen, it will. I’d love the concert to happen next year. So if the Kickstarter fundraiser page goes live this Samhain, and we set the deadline for, maybe, Imbolc 2013, we can then look at the second half of the year for the concert itself.

How exciting would that be!! Imagine the Royal Albert Hall heaving with your friends and people you’ve yet to meet, all gathering to celebrate together and be entertained. Even if I wasn’t playing I’d want to be there. To have come from the early 90’s newspaper slandering to a concert at the Royal Albert Hall would really show just how much our community has grown. So I ask you to tell your friends, talk about this at your moots, in your magazines, on your Facebook groups, in your podcasts. Share the Facebook page and let us see if together we can do this.

Obviously none of this is written in stone and things can change, but If you’ve any questions. Do ask them!

Advertisements

Proof and Faith

Yesterday I read with interest a blog post by my friend and Druid author Kristoffer Hughes and it got me pondering my own relationship with Celtica and Druidry. The original blog post is here. 

I too was originally drawn to Druidry through its connection with the ‘Celtic’ world. It seems to me these days that it’s so hard to say things like ‘Celtic’ because there is always the person waiting on the sidelines to ask exactly what you mean by Celtic, that there was no Celtic race, that it was a culture, that the perception that the Welsh, Irish, Breton, and Cornish are the inheritors of this Celticity is wrong, and that there is just as much ‘Celtic’ DNA in the English as there is anywhere else. In fact I’ve recently read an article that suggests that the Irish are more Spanish than ‘Celtic’… That the Druids never wrote anything down so how can I call myself a Druid? Etc etc. So open your mouth and say the word Celtic at your peril! But I’m going to say it anyway, as it was this that was a big contributing factor that drew me to Druidry in the beginning.

It is also the Brythonic Deities that have always made my blood pump harder. Another historical hot potato that one. Mention the Mabinogion and the Gods from that wonderful book of tales, or the themes from the poetry of Myrddin or Taliesin, and once more you may find yourself being cornered to produce evidence that the ancient Druids even knew the name of Gwydion, Blodeuwedd, Rhiannon, and that is as difficult as proving that Jesus actually existed.

So already if I say something like ‘I am a modern day Druid who seeks to follow in the footsteps of my ancient ancestors and revere the Gods of this magnificent and magical island in the form of Rhiannon of the Horses, Blodeuwedd the Lady of the Night Sky and the Spring Meadow, Mryddin of the Druid Way’, there are many ready to question that, as much as they might question how someone can be a Christian Druid, or A Buddhist Druid, they ask how I can be a modern Pagan Druid.

My answer? I can’t prove it, nobody can, but I don’t need a history book to confirm my inner connection has that validity – I guess the person asking the question might but not me. See I have something that I’ve noticed some people find quite hard to say let alone admit. I have a faith. At some point I had to let go of searching for an accurate history of Druidry, and begin a deeper, less intellectual but more intuitive, quest.

I have never wished, nor needed, to find my personal spiritual connection to my Path through history books. If I did there are far easier options for a Pagan to follow than Druidry! My connection comes from our songs, our stories, our folklore. When I hear these old myths spoken by a master storyteller, they draw me into an inner experience, and it is there that I meet my Gods. Then, when I return, I find their same faces in the trees, in the mounds of the Hollow Hills, in the cry of the Owl, or the thunderous pounding of hoofs.

I love archaeology and history, and if I wanted to know the history of a site these would be the people I would ask, but if I wanted to know the local folklore, the stories and myths that were told about a certain hill or woodland copse, I wouldn’t necessarily go to a historian, for those I would seek a local Bard, a storyteller, a poet. No proof necessary, just take me on that journey.

The Blessings of the Wheel

I love the way our Pagan Wheel of the Year works its magic. It lies at the very heart of my spiritual life and I’m sure, like many other Pagans, the more I have worked with it, the more my own life has changed to reflect the turning of the seasons. So now, as the nights have drawn in, and the leaves have fallen once more to the ground to nourish next year’s growth, I too can feel the busy-ness of my own life changing. But just as the birds and animals are still busy searching for food, so I am searching for the Awen to inspire new songs, and to bless me with the insight for the arrangements of the songs I’ve already written.

I’m heading back into the studio to record a new album – the first album of my own songs since The Cauldron Born released in late 2008. I have a couple more concerts this year, and a couple early in 2012, but I have consciously created a space for that Awen to enter. And as I look outside at the late Autumn day I can see and feel that the energy is right.

The origin of some people’s inspiration is action, from friction and intense activity. Some people find their spiritual connections also come from that space, from drumming and dancing, screaming and chanting. I love that too, but I also know that the foundation of my inspiration comes from stillness, from peace. And that is another reason why I love the Wheel of the Year. The Spring and Summer are times of activity, when I am out playing at festivals, dancing around a burning Wickerman, running through a labyrinth, losing myself to the fire and power of the Pagan drummers. So when Autumn and Winter arrive I am ready to welcome their energy too – energies of reflection, and peace. I know that my spiritual life is enhanced by these changes. If all I knew was hot, how could I fully understand and appreciate it if I never felt cold? If all I knew was light, how could I fully understand and appreciate it if I never knew darkness? So if all I knew was wildness, how would I fully understand and appreciate it if I didn’t know stillness and peace? 

The Ancestor is standing at the Threshold. The woodland is still, and filled with the aroma of decaying leaves. And I am now ready to approach the Ancestor, to seek entry into the Grove of Reflection, to sit in stillness with eyes open, and to allow the woodland to accept my presence. Only then will the Faerie come out once more to dance, to show themselves to me, and allow me to hear their music.

Motley Crue and Morris Dancing

Around Lughnasadh this past Summer I was interviewed by Phil Widdows for the UK’s premier folk and acoustic music podcast Folkcast. Well, I am delighted to say that the interview has now been released as a Folkcast Special Edition. Me and Phil talk about my music, my path to Druidry, Motley Crue, glam rock, Morris Dancing, the Spirit of Albion movie and much more. So make a nice cuppa and have a listen.

You can find the link here

Tales from the Road – live video Prague 2011

Excerpts from last night’s concert in Prague. What a fantastic, enthusiastic audience!

Spirit of Albion the Movie – First Trailer

Here’s the first little trailer for the forthcoming movie, enjoy!

Live at the OBOD Summer Gathering 2011

I just found this on YouTube. The complete concert filmed at the OBOD Summer Gathering from Glastonbury Town Hall. Guests on stage are Paul Newman, Kate and Corwen, and sadly you can’t see Keiron Sibley on the Djembe. We had one run through the set together before we played that night, so what you are seeing and hearing is pretty much a live jam. I remember Kate saying, “Imagine what we would sound like if we actually practiced!” So true.

Enjoy!