Birmingham is proud home to Artsfest – the UK’s biggest free arts festival and this year it was bigger and better than ever.

I was proud to have been asked to play twice – first in the delightful setting of the Industrial Gallery of the Birmingham Musem and Art Gallery.  I played a set between two ancient stone Sphinxs to an audience of around fifty people.  I was quite nervous, partly since I hadnt played much recently after two weeks campervanning in the Yorkshire Dales, but my efforts were very well received by the crowd who bought several CDs.  Two were also kind enough to mention me online as one of the highlights of their festival – thank you Rich and Jenna.

Maybe the good vibes were influenced by the benign gaze of the remarkable figure of the Sultanganj Buddha (the largest complete bronze statue of its kind in the world) from across the hall.

Later in the weekend I had the great pleasure to be peforming to probably my biggest crowd yet as a solo act on the main stage in Centernary square, sandwiched neatly between the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Birmingham Rep (performing a spirited rendition of Little Shop of Horrors).  It felt great to be performing on such a big stage again (playing large crowds with Beach Boys covers outfit Gidea Park was good training).

Oddly I find Im less nervous playing the larger gigs, perhaps because its a little less personal, altho I’m sure I’ll always enjoy the more direct human contact you get from smaller rooms.

BMAG photo courtesy Timm Sonnenschein
Centnery Square photo courtesy Wayne Fox

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