Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? Catching a train from a station. Traveling across a beautiful autumn landscape whilst being entertained by live musicians. Stopping off at a delightful country pub and having a bar meal and some real ale, all whilst being entertained by the same musicians; before returning home.
I tried it a couple of times a few years ago – and the reminder just pinged up that we were on it.
Sadly, I stopped going because even though I thought folk fans would be gentler people, it turns out they aren’t. One time – this time – we played on it.
Meeting at the station – the crowd gathers. A large crowd. Over 150. This isn’t good as a standard British Rail carriage holds about 75-90 people depending on the layout.
The train then pulls in. It’s a Pacer. The words pacer will strike fear into the hearts of any northerner. These things have been the staple of our rail travel since the 70’s – and many of them were built in the 70’s. With horrible hard bus seats, rock hard unforgiving suspension, and a slow shuddery ride they’re at the end of their life (and slowly being replaced).
The train arrives and the push begins. People force their way into the first carriage to see the “main band”. We’re the “caboose” band so we are in the overspill carriage. Problem is because it’s a standard train and not a charter there are passengers on there who really don’t give a flying fuck about the music and just want to get home on a quiet evening train after a hard day at work.
Arriving at the pub it’s a free for all. We head up there with everyone else and find that the same people who pushed into the first carriage are the same ones who push up to the bar and take the best seats.
Once in the pub we finally get a drink – and stand up for a while. There aren’t any seats. Even though we are obviously one of the bands there is no reserved seating.
Two ladies ask about us and I explain that we are in the second carriage if they want to sit in there for the return journey. One of them tells me quite bluntly that “they don’t care about support bands, they’re here to see X” (X being the other band with us, a bunch of guys we know and actually appreciate as musicians).
The return journey has exactly the same chaos. Idiots fighting over seats. Pushing each other. Again we’re in the second carriage playing. Again we see the same faces who got pushed out of the lead carriage by the idiots.
Our journey home is met by heavy rain starting. Very heavy rain. We’re parked in Rotherham though so it’s only one train from Sheffield to Rotherham for us, and then a quick drive home.
But, you remember the two ladies (both of whom were “front of the line” when it came to pushiness), well they were also on the train to Rotherham; but unlike us, they had buses to catch home after leaving the station – a walk from the train to the bus station in the cold rain, and then a 30 bus ride to their homes (Herringthorpe).
I could have given them a lift. But I didn’t. Fuck ’em.
Ten years ago I was blogging about RoSfest – it’s rather hard to believe how long ago it was now. We were nervous because a volcano in Iceland that nobody could pronounce closed our skies just a few weeks before. Now the skies are closed for a very different reason, a much greater risk to human life, one which is unavoidable and can only be risk assessed to a low 2 at best, unlike the volcano which threatened nobody and just adjusted our lives.
Did RoSfest forward my career? Honestly? A little. I thought of the time that we would all be instant rock stars, but alas it was not to be. I was very forgetful of the fact that I was a bassist in someone’s band, and I was being treated as a session musician. My mum commented that when she came to see one of our gigs someone in the audience commented “it’s all about Guy, the rest of the band are just there to back him up”.
She didn’t tell me that at the time. I suspect it would have given me the urge to jump ship.
As a bassist I gained little extra recognition. We partied a little on the Saturday night, but I didn’t then spend the afternoon after our performance signing autographs or being swamped by fans. I did autograph a few copies of Number Ten – ironically the album I came into the band during the recording of and an album I didn’t actually contribute much to.
The experience itself was goodish though. A big stage with good professional crew always makes for a good gig. My first jaunt to the USA, which was also good, and the whole experience of playing to a new crowd in another country.
I’d definitely do it again, just only as a creative part of the band I’m in.
Ten years ago RoSfest was almost greatly changed due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. At one point we thought we wouldn’t be able to fly there and we’d have to be held off until RoSfest 2011, but the volcano settled down just before we went and we made it to Gettysburg.
Now RoSfest 2020 has been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. It seems decade years aren’t good for the festival.
The missus found my AAA pass for the festival today. It brought back memories of my time all those years ago when I traveled to the USA to play a gig.
If you look hard enough you will find the blog entries I actually wrote on my little Toshiba netbook whilst sat in the hotel room.