November 13thThis past Saturday night, we put a wrap on our 14th season with another great performance at Waxy O'Shea's. The restaurant was about half-full when we arrived, and ended up just about full by the time we started. In the sense that it was fun-filled night with the right blend of good music, humor, camaraderie, and a guest-performance from Scott, it was unremarkable. Friendly faces in the crowd included Dan and Norma, and Pat and Carol; Scott & Louise; Bob (down from Cedar Rapids); Lloyd; Dale; Jason and SueAnn; and Bill and Kathleen. When the evening was over, the handful of folks who stayed 'til the end of the night helped us break down and pack up. And we were done for the year. (We expect to be back at Waxy's in mid-January... keep it on your schedule.)
October 23rdSaturday morning, we raced through the sky en route to our first-ever performance in Houston and our first house-concert in just a little over ten years. We arrived at Houston Hobby airport to find Paul Shepherd waiting to collect us (their luggage, and their instruments) and deliver us to the gracious hospitality of the lovely Mrs Shepherd. It was a command performance for Ros who, this past June at the Texas Scottish Festival, extended a generous, special request that Tullamore deliver one of what has become known as Sheppies House Concerts - a very successful burgeoning house-concert series that has featured Brian McNeil, Gerry O'Beirne & Rosie Shipley, Ed Miller, Jim Malcolm, and Jed Marum among others. After settling in, we were treated to a great late-lunch, and then some nice visiting before folks began showing up. A record number of guests attended the performance..,. with no small amount of credit going to Ros as it WAS her birthday. It was a very enjoyable night with the concert running late, and the after-party running even later. But the early Sunday-morning flight brought an end to the night, the crowd slowly filtered out the door, and we trudged off to bed. The next morning, while Ros had a much-deserved late morning, Paul treated us to breakfast, and then delivered us back to the airport where we made our reluctant departure from Houston. We're looking forward to a hopeful return to the North Texas Irish Festival next March when we hope to see the Sheppies again.
SHEPPIES HOUSE CONCERT
October 15th-16thFor the fourth time this year, we found ourselves descending the three stories to the lower cellar at O'Malley's Pub. It started out a busy, noisy weekend... and just got busier and noisier. There was somewhat of a identity crisis in the works over the weekend in that the Saturday crowd of friendlies and regulars showed up on Friday night, and the younger (and noisier) set that typically shows up on Friday showed up on Saturday night. Friday night's friendly faces included Dan, Larry, and JR; Bob (down from Cedar Rapids); Scott and Louise (down from Maryville); Ellen (from Cincinnati via KAI); Marion and Diane (St Joe); Adam, Kim, Jennie, and Sandra (all of whom will be joining the band on their Ireland Tour next May); Louisa and Luke; Ryan, Mark, Christopher, and Curtis; James, Harliss, Ronnie, and Jessica; Joe and Rachel; Josh, Jake, Nick, and Ryan (the boys from Boston); Phillie and Clay; Mike and John; and Anita (who was there celebrating her birthday); and the sterling service was provided by Sarah, DeeDee, Philicia, Steve, Mike, and Mike. Saturday night's kudos go out to Dan, Pat, Carol, and Norma; Jason and SueAnn, Rusty, Bob (from Cedar Rapids), Scott and Louise; Bill and Kathleen; Erik and Susan; Charlie and Tara; Cliff; Maddie, Dave, Harry, Jonathan, Chelsea, Sharon, and Paul (Maddie's 21st birthday table of awesomeness); and three other birthday celebrants besides Maddie - Tim, Sarah, and Gale.
October 2ndOur appearance for the Tecumseh Arts Council this past weekend was a milestone for us... in that it was the first time that a fine-arts organization contacted us, unsolicited, to arrange a concert-performance. And we're viewing the development as a happy sign of things to come. The Council's Fall celebration was an outdoor concert on a mild and breezy, sunny Saturday afternoon, and the choice of Celtic music appeared to be an interesting and welcome alternative to what Tecumseh's listeners have become accustomed. New friends from the day's excursion include Bruce, Elijah, Christy, and Spence; Linda, Rosanna, and Chad; Hannah and Ally; Crystal and Jacquelyn; Jim and Sharon; Jim; and Todd, Kindra, Diane, Brad, and Clinton (with whom we shared a great evening, complete with a tasty pulled-pork barbecue dinner).
TECUMSEH ARTS COUNCIL
September 20thAs promised, we made our way back to Liberty's historic town square for another installment of Celtic At the Corbin, the monthly concert-series put on by the Corbin Theatre that features the best in Celtic music in and around Kansas City. The concert was modestly attended, and the audience couldn't have been better. Friendly faces included Mike and Karen; Michael and Cindy; Lloyd; Michael, Tenley, and Maren; Bill; Mike and Steve; Ken; Claire, Emily, and Jeff; Ken; Graham and Scott. While we expect to return next Spring (probably March or April), Graham is trying to figure out how to convert the Corbin's jazz-lovers into Celtic music fans. Time will tell...
September 17th-19thFour days after arriving home from Columbia, we were back on the road to Tulsa to appear at the Oklahoma Scottish Festival. We ended a six-year hiatus there while joining Jiggernaut and Needfire as one of the Festival's three headliners. We made a Friday afternoon drive down to Tulsa to arrive in time to begin setting up and catch a performance of Celtic Cheer before taking the main stage ourselves. It was a busy Friday night with us turning in a second set prior to the Fire Ceremony and the Calling of the Clans.
OKLAHOMA SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
Saturday morning, Rachel shared in the Festival's Opening Ceremonies with a performance of the National Anthem... and the remainder of the day found the four bands trading sets in the Edinburgh Tent while the Glasgow Tent was treated to performances by regional favorites Boru's Ghost, Anam Cronan, the Flowers of Edinburgh, and Moore's Celtic Dance. The enjoyability of the company and visiting was inversely proportional to that of the weather, though, as the city was at the mercy of 95° temperatures coupled with an uncharacteristic 100% humidity. But no number of clammy t-shirts could dampen the spirits and excitement of the 12,000+ patrons in attendance. After we wrapped up our three sets of the day, we went out to dinner at Olive Garden with the Harmon trio (Bob, David and Dan - up from Dallas) before heading back to the Marriott Southern Hills for the night.
Sunday began with our arrival at the Edinburgh Tent to set up just as the Kirkin' O' The Tartans was beginning. Half a day and two sets later, we were in the van heading back to Kansas City. Over the course of the weekend, we benefited from the expertise of sound-men Kyle, Nathan, and Kory; and had the pleasure of hanging out with Mike and Sheryl; Kirk; Colin; Dustin (over from Arkansas); Josh; Steve, Eric, Bruce, and Rick; Danette; Deryl and Mary, Heather, Rachel, and Aisha; Karen; CJ; Josh (at the whiskey tent); Erik (all the way over from Jackson MS); Brian, Bryan, Carl, Dave, Julia, Tim, Marilyn and Wayne (from Celtic Cheer); Ed (from Needfire); and Deanna, Richard, Garren, Rodger, and Matthew (from Jiggernaut). It was a fantastic weekend and return to the Festival, and we're already hoping that the preliminary interest for a return next year materializes.
September 11thAfter a couple weeks off, we turned in a couple performances and added two new venues to our CV. Friday night, we wound their way down to Buffalo MO (our drive complicated by fog and an iffy GPS/mapper) to get a good night's sleep in and be able to hit the ground running for an early Saturday debut at the Southwest Missouri Celtic Heritage Festival. It was our first experience headlining a festival, and it was a great experience notwithstanding it being a smaller festival. Jon Reneau had arranged for our appearance there nearly a year earlier. We were joined by regional and local favorites including Emily Wyatt, Nancy Daily Green, Sarah Hook, Jon and Heidi Reneau, Tom Meehan, Deryl Dickerson, the Central High Kilties, and the Flower O' Scotland Dance Troupe. Dinner with friends followed at the Maple Street Grill before heading out on the road for Columbia MO. The last 30-odd miles of the drive was made more dramatic with several stops due to the van overheating. After nursing the van into the hotel parking lot it was off to bed.
SOUTHWEST MISSOURI CELTIC HERITAGE FESTIVAL / UNITY CENTER OF COLUMBIA
Early next morning, it was over to the Unity Center of Columbia where we performed in Columbia for their first time in over 10 years. We contributed to the two morning services, and then turned in a concert-performance after a picnic-lunch sponsored by UCC's YOU-chapter (Youth of Unity). The concert was modestly-attended, but the audience was very receptive and well-rewarded. Lloyd even dropped by (as he was on his way to St Louis), and did us a major solid in giving us a ride back to Kansas City while the van remained at Firestone (to get the radiator replaced, as it turned out). All in all (van expenditures notwithstanding), it was a great weekend.
September 3rdA brief yet exciting word about the progress of the tour. It was just under two months ago that we sent out the Tulla-gram announcing our Ireland Tour 2011, and letting people know that they could begin registering on it. At the time, John Hammond (of Hammond Tours) reassured the band, "This is a great tour, and we're sure it will fill up. But don't be disappointed if you don't see any real movement on it until after Christmas. People really don't get serious about spending money until after school starts." And with that reassurance, we moved forward. Today, three days before Labor Day (and the beginning of school), and to the utter pleasure and surprise of both Tullamore and Hammond Tours, the tour hit the mark of being 60% full. The Hammonds find it unbelievable, and have declared it their hottest-selling tour. Which points to not only how good of a tour they put together, but to how genuinely great Tullamore fans are. We could not be more pleased with the response of our friends, fans, and family to the tour, and we're excited to actually spend a week with the ones who make it on the bus!
August 21stWe returned to Waxy O'Shea's this past Saturday for an interesting mix of ups and downs... the down being problems with new sound gear, the ups being everything else. Effective June 12, the FCC annexed the 700MHz band for their 'Public Safety Spectrum'. In English, that means they rendered our wireless gear effectively useless. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to test the new gear (and work the kinks out) before putting it into use at a gig. So the audience was treated to some live kinks-out-working (there's gotta be a German word for that... mühenbeseitigen?), a handful of squeals and pops, cord and mic replacements, and a few jokes and solos to 'cover' all that up, and we were as good as new. This was also the first night for us to play at Waxy's since they installed their new stage in the main dining room... and talk about luxurious! And friendly faces abounded... Jason, Dennis, Ellen, and Justin (in from Cincinnati, and moving Ellen into town for her first year at KCAI!); Lloyd (of course); Dan and Norma, and Pat and Carol; Bill and Kathleen; Beth and Ray (up from Emporia); Scott and Louise (down from Maryville); Jennie (who took a turn behind the mic to with her rendition of "Danny Boy"); Abbey and Kristina (our lovely dancing girls); Barbro and Jeri; Joan; Ervin; and Lisa (who graciously shared her table with us). Sound issues notwithstanding, it was a most enjoyable night and we're looking forward to returning in November.
August 13th-14thIt was a cooker of a weekend at O'Malley's Pub, where the 90°/90% weather found its way down to the bottom cellar (and a faulty compressor added insult to injury). Friday night was big right from the start. Scott was there celebrating his 53rd birthday with Laurie, Christina, Colton (who joined his Grandpa onstage for the obligatory birthday-dirge), and Barbara; Bryan and Erica were there with their three - JT, Liz, and Kat; Bob was down from Cedar Rapids (of course); Paris appeared for the first time since returning from Iraq; and Scott and Louise were down from Maryville. Other friendlies in the audience included Mike's girlfriend Kenna and compadre James; Tracy; Eric (Chewbacca); Matt; Rebecca; Jeff. Scott took a turn behind the mic, performing a couple of his regular pieces and giving us a small break. Kudos to the staff (who went above and beyond Friday night) - Mike (at the door); Jamie and Steve (behind the bar, with Derrick pinch-hitting); and Sarah and Felicia working the tables.
Saturday night was another big one with plenty of friendly faces - Lloyd, Bob (again), Jason, and Gene; Jason and Kaya, and her dad Obbie (in town from LA); Marion and Diane; Mike and Gayla; Kenna and James (again); Eric (again); Jake and Steve; Josh and Nin; Jenny, Caci, Ellen, and Micaela; and Bill and Mike. And Saturday night saw another great effort from the staff - Mike (at the door); Katie, Penny, and Steve (behind the bar); Sarah, Meredith, and Mandy (waiting tables); and DeeDee (switching back and forth). Sean O' even turned in an appearance! And of course there was one of the proprietor's, Mike, working the sound-board and turning in guest-appearances onstage. We will return to O'Malley's in October... we'll hope it's a little cooler then.
July 2ndWe finalized arrangements today with Hammond Tours for our Ireland Tour 2011. On Saturday, May 7th, we depart with fifty friends, fans, and family on a nine-day, four-concert bus-tour of Erin's Green Isle - their second concert-tour of Ireland. This time, we'll be bringing Hugh Morrison, a Scottish accordionist now living in Houston, who will join us onstage at times. The tour will pass through Limerick, Dingle, Listowel, Galway, Cong, Sligo, Ballyshannon, Enniskillen, Mullingar, Tullamore (of course), Naas, and Dublin. The tour's itinerary includes stops at the Cliffs of Moher, the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery, the 6th-century monastic settlement on Devenish, the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre, and concert performances at St John's Arts Centre in Listowel, the Abbey Centre in Ballyshannon, the Mullingar Arts Centre, and the Moat Theatre in Naas. The website's tour-page is interactive, so you can explore all the where's and what's of the tour. It also contains links to a flyer for the tour and to Hammond Tours, as well as counters showing how many places have been reserved and how many remain available. More to come...
June 12thIt was hot and wet out at the Kansas City Scottish Highland Games this past weekend, where we turned in their fifth appearance. The weather alternated between sultry and pouring, which kept the crowd and bands guessing. We turned in a Friday-evening set on the Pub Stage ahead of sets by Highland Reign and Mother Grove. Saturday, Bob Reeder valiantly performed an unplugged set at the Amphitheatre while the staff was waiting for officials to arrive and reset the electricity. Then we kicked off the evening run there, and were followed by the 3 Dollar Band, Highland Reign, Tartanic, and Mother Grove. Friendly faces this weekend included Dan and Norma; Pat and Carol; Bruce and Lane; Patrick; Tim and Amy; Brian; John; Tim; and a couple of great visits with good friends Steve (Tullintrain West), Jill (entertainment director) and Goren (Celtic Fashions Midwest). We're hoping for a drier visit next Summer.
KANSAS CITY SCOTTISH HIGHLAND GAMES
June 4th-6thThe highlight of our spring schedule was their fourth appearance at the Texas Scottish Festival this past weekend. An early Friday-evening set prompted us to re-schedule our flight down, especially with that set being on the Glen Finnan Stage which we shared with Brian McNeill, Ed Miller, Scooter Muse & Jil Chambless, Smithfield Fair and Seamus Stout. While it was fantastic to have the opportunity to show off our music on the big stage, we had a great time the remainder of the weekend sharing the Glen Uig Stage with Jed Marum & Jaime Marum, Hugh Morrison & Kendall Rogers, and Marc Gunn. The stage turned out to be a regular swap-meet, with a seemingly endless number of permutations of performers on stage -AND- arrangements were settled on to have Hugh joining us as a guest-artist on our 2011 Ireland Tour. Leah and Bob were invaluable contributions throughout the weekend in putting the band up, shuttling them around, and manning the CD-table. Old faces and new popped up over the weekend including Lou and Helen; Ros and Paul (who arranged an October house-concert for the band in Houston); Rickey, Charles, and Joe; Bob and Katrina; Richard; Harry (whom Mark hadn't seen since his days at AIPC); Ed; Kevin, Richard, EJ, Al, Emily, and Gregory (from Teribus and Clandestine) Emilio; Ronnie; Guy, Tony, Dorothy, and Alex; Jerry, Cathy, and Marc; Dan and Anita, Rickey and Tom; Kelly and Julie; Noel; Michelle and Phil; Eugene; Ted; Chester and Marianne; the Redmond family; and our sound-guys Andre and David. The trip included a couple of fun airport visits - one with Kelly Kelley (yes), the TSA-agent who saw the dulcimer through x-ray... and the other with Steven, Zenith, and Cole, in the gate-area waiting to board the flight. Before long we were back in KC looking forward to next season's visit.
TEXAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
May 15thSaturday evening, we turned in another crowd-pleasing performance at Waxy O'Shea's - a pub that never fails to deliver, with its great menu, tasty food, personable staff, and their dapper host Vincent. The crowd was perhaps 10% off of the biggest crowd we've had there... which was a minor miracle considering how many regulars were off at the St Louis Renaissance Festival. Friendly faces included old friend and fellow-musician Roy Wilkinson in town from Atlanta, and with him came Victor and Richelle (from Dog Tree) and Rick; Bob was (reliably) down from Cedar Rapids as were Scott and Louise from Maryville; Dan and Norma; Pat and Carol; Mike; Bruce and Lane; and Mike and Karen. Roy took his turn behind the mic to entertain the crowd, as did Scott. Look for us to turn in our next appearance at Waxy's in mid-August.
May 1stAfter skipping a year, we made our way back to Allegheny Mountain country to perform at the ninth annual Scottish Festival and Celtic Gathering in Bridgeport WV. We took a Friday afternoon flight into Pittsburgh and met Luke (Mark's nephew - check out his band, DoubleShot!), grabbed a rental-car, had a quick bite to eat at a local sushi joint (Ichiban Steakhouse), and headed out for the two-hour drive to Bridgeport. The next morning, we headed over to Bridgeport High School where the Festival was already underway. We had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Highland Reign, Albannach, Colin Grant-Adams, and the Homespun Ceilidh Band. By lunchtime, a few more of Mark's family had arrived - Dawn (mother), young Dawn (sister), and Jennifer (niece) - to connect with us all, and see the Festival. After our final performance, we all (band and family) was off to dinner at Applebee's before heading back for the evening concert at the High School, where each of the performers would turn in a 25-minute showcase. It was a great show and well-appreciated. Goodbyes were said that night as the ladies would be getting on the road much earlier than would we. After a Bob Evans breakfast, it was back to the Pittsburgh Airport, one more round of goodbyes to Luke, and onto the plane for the flight back to Kansas City. This has become a very enjoyable gig for us, hopefully one that will be repeated in years to come.
BRIDGEPORT SCOTTISH FESTIVAL & CELTIC GATHERING
April 10thWe paid a Saturday-evening visit to VFW Post #7397 for the eighth annual Rogue's Gallery Spring Hoolie, courtesy of our self-proclaimed biggest, baddest fan - Dan Robertson. The Hoolie is a four-hour, all-request performance where the rules are anything-goes and there is only one tradition - that each of us does at least one solo number. This year's Hoolie was as successful as its seven predecessors, drawing a crowd of 60 regulars plus the dozen or so veterans who 'manage' to be there this one particular night of the year. Mary sang Ewan MacColl's Tunnel Tigers, Rachel played William Potstock's Souvenir de Sarasate, and Mark sang John Lennon's Across the Universe and Alan Stivell's Breton song Brezhoneg' Raok. The Hoolie dragged on the typical 45 minutes beyond quitting-time, when we were told to get out. Until next year...
March 26th-28thWe returned to the windy clime of Oklahoma for an appearance at the Norman Medieval Fair, our thirteenth in the last fourteen years. There was only 51 weeks between visits this year instead of the standard 52, as the Fair advanced one week into late-March to avoid falling on Easter weekend. We returned to the Gryphon Stage which we shared (along with the big crowds) with the Rogues and Queens Gambit. It was a good weekend overall, starting out mild and turning cold and rainy, and was marked by visits with friends and fans too numerous to name. Highlights of the weekend included playing stretch and bocce with Delbert, Sherri, Jeremy, Randy, and Ken; dinner Friday evening at Johnny Carino's with Ken and Randy; dinner Saturday evening at O Asian Fusion with Danny, Beth, William, Roger, Jeremy, and Brian (almost); and visits with Brian Wendling, the Bilge Pumps, and Arabesque. We drew the short straw on Sunday, playing the last set at the Gryphon before the Last Huzzah and getting on the road an hour and a half later than usual, so the drive home extended into the very early morning. Besides the weather, the weekend was marred by a mishap (ironically involving the weather) with Mark's Guild JF-50 as it was blown out of its guitar-stand and the neck broke just below the headstock. Bruce came to the rescue and let Mark borrow his guitar all day. All that notwithstanding, it was quite the enjoyable weekend, and we're looking forward to next year's appearance - which will return to the first weekend in April.
NORMAN MEDIEVAL FAIR
March 17thSt Patrick's Day found us, once again, playing at O'Malley's Pub. Despite their small-town locale, the pub boasted a line-up that rivaled that of any Irish pub in Kansas City... with Tullamore kicking off the day at noon in the lower cellar, followed by the 3 Dollar Band, and finally Connacht Town who closed out the night downstairs. Unforeseen circumstances left the upper cellar empty in the early evening, so at Mike's request, we pulled a double - heading upstairs and squeezing in another few hours in the upper cellar before turning the mic over to Bob Reeder, who played the night away. The crowd grew from a middling start at noon to full and lively by 2:00, with Mike, Carrie, Dennis, Gene, and Jacob and Megan (celebrating their 10th anniversary) providing some of the friendly faces in the crowd. It was a great St Patrick's Day, made greater with an early performance that left us free to kick back for the remainder of the festivities and still make it home at a decent hour!
ST PATRICK'S DAY @ O'MALLEY'S PUB
March 12th-14thFriday evening's performance at Waxy O'Shea's kicked off our traditional pre-St-Patrick's-Day flurry of performances which comprised four performances in all. And with all of the Irish festivities going on, all around town, we pulled off a minor miracle in bringing the crowd to Waxy's. Superfans in attendance included Dan and Norma; Pat and Carol, and Mike; Dale; Bob (down from Cedar Rapids, again); Scott and Louise (down from Maryville, again); friendly neighbors James, Richard, and Mike; Sujoy (up from Phoenix) and Richard; Joan; Roc and Lisa; Nikki, Claire and David; Kevin and Ari; Mic and Clint; Bill; and Jason and Annie. The evening included a surprise visit from some of Rachel and Mark's Plaza-YOU crowd - Tom, Cindy and friend, Cathy, Kat and Anna-Marie; and a very pleasant (but predictable) visit from Fred and Linda, and Listowellians Dennis O'Mahony and (The Man Himself) Damian Stack (the four having come late following an earlier evening at the annual mixer for the Irish American Club of Johnson County). We were expertly taken care of by Tina, and it was a grand evening overall.
WAXY O'SHEA'S / O'MALLEY'S PUB / ST PATRICK'S CHURCH / WAXY O'SHEA'S
Saturday found us making a late-afternoon appearance at O'Malley's Pub, where we joined the 3 Dollar Band, Connacht Town and Bob Reeder as part of the Pub's contribution to the Snake Saturday celebration. While the crowd was fairly big (for a Saturday afternoon), it proved to be too early in the day for our regulars. That said, we was delighted to see Bob (who, admittedly, would be with us for the weekend); Marion & Diane; Mike and Carrie, and Dennis; Jill; and Chris, Adam, Keith, and Françoise who hung around and listened for a half hour or so before heading off to another gig of their own. Throughout the day (and night), the patrons were treated to the exceptional service of Mike, Patty, DeeDee, Ray, Meredith, and Penny. Following the set (and some music from Connacht Town), we wrapped up the night over a wonderful dinner with Dennis, Mike, and Carrie at Kato Japanese Cuisine.
The next morning we were on the road early for the hour-and-a-half drive to Emerald, KS, where we would have the opportunity to feast on the most delectable corned beef dinner and finest pies in the Midwest (and play a little music). The event was (of course) their annual pilgrimage to St Patrick's Church, a modest farm-community parish where we've played six of these past seven years as part of their annual fund-raiser. The performance is incidental to us, largely an excuse to go hang out with our east-Kansas friends and fans (including Melodie, Levi, Arlene, Chris and Teresa, Stan, Scott and family, Joy, Rick, Al, and Theresa and Joan, of course), and treat our taste buds to the finest Kansas has to offer. From there, it was a rapid break-down and as quick of a drive as could be managed to get back to Waxy O'Shea's for an early-evening set following Shawnee's own Irish March Madness - the Parade, Awards Ceremony (just after the Parade at the Knights of Columbus Hall), and Duck Race. It was another great evening at the pub, and the huge crowd of friends and fans included Damian and Dennis, Fred and Linda, and Mary; Dan, Pat and Mike; Bruce and Lane; Bob; Lloyd; Bill and Nancy; Mike and Karen; Scott and Louise; Jason and SueAnn; Yale and Michelle; Bill and Kathleen; Adam, Kimberly, Taylor, Jordan, Jim, Keith, John, and Roger; Terry and Maureen; Gordon and Pete; Joan, Mary, Allen, Aggie, and Brett; Joan Moore (who had done some piping earlier that afternoon); and Dennis and LeAnne. Spence and Valerie kept us well supplied (and lubricated). It was a great evening, and an end to a great weekend.
March 5th-7thWith our third consecutive appearance at the North Texas Irish Festival, Tullamore has established itself as a staple in the festival's line-up. Excitement was afoot as we headed to the airport Friday and boarded our mid-afternoon Southwest flight to Love Field. Bob corralled us at the airport and whisked us away to the Radisson (which would serve again as the host hotel). After checking in and dropping off, we turned in a little base-touching in the lobby with some of the other musicians who were in the process of arriving before jumping back into Bob's car and heading on out to Fair Park. Once there, we headed over to the Cashel Stage (where we would be turning in our Friday night set), and dropped our gear and instruments off. Jigsaw had just begun their set, and we caught a few numbers before heading over to the Hospitality Room, where there was a bit of eating and more visiting. After a small spin around the Festival site, it was back over to the stage to catch the second half of a set by Sarah Dinan, and set up gear and tune. Our 9:30 set was surprisingly well-attended for being the last on the stage and opposite the Barra MacNeils and Needfire... but folks like what they like, so who are we to argue? After the set, it was back to the hotel for a late dinner and some visiting with a couple handfuls of folks in the bar. Then it was off to bed.
NORTH TEXAS IRISH FESTIVAL
The next morning, we connected for breakfast with Richard and Kathleen (on sabbatical from the Trinity River Whalers) for breakfast. The attempt was nearly thwarted by unexpected restaurant-closures and big breakfast-crowds, so we finally settled on a meal at Norma's Café (which was quite tasty). From there it was back to the hotel to get ready, and over to the Festival where we dropped off all their instruments and gear at the instrument check-in. We would be performing a 6:00 set on the Cashel Stage again. So with several hours to occupy, we made an extensive tour of the site, checking out all the vendors and taking in sets by Ed Miller, the David Munnelly Band, Poor Man's Fortune, Legacy, and Beyond the Pale before having to head over to get our instruments and gear and hightail it to the stage to set up. We were absolutely elated at what would turn out to be a standing-room-only turnout by the audience... which was conveniently witnessed by SCMA-officer John Hebley. After our set, we stayed around for a visit with Chris and Erin (Rachel's cousin and fiancée) and a couple more sets by Clandestine and Great Big Sea. Then it was back to the hotel. Rachel headed upstairs for a pre-session nap while Mark headed off to the bar for some proper socializing. Mary eventually appeared in the bar and joined the visiting. After a couple hours, Mark gave up on Rachel's appearance and went back to the room and turned in, at which point Rachel got up and headed downstairs. She and Mary hung out at a session for a while before turning in.
Sunday, we were back out to the site fairly early. After a beautiful Friday and Saturday, the poor weather finally caught up and made its debut with some chilly rain. It was still a good crowd though, and after a little visiting with some vendors and performers, it was over to the Star and Harp Pub Stage to catch a set by Jim Flanagan, and then turn in our final set of the weekend. Afterwards, we caught the last set by Ed, Scooter, and Jil before making our goodbyes and joining Bob for the drive back to Love Field. It was a colorful drive that wrapped up a great weekend. A couple hours later, we were in the van heading home from the airport amid expectations for a return-trip for the 2011 Festival.