We had a couple of weeks at home catching our breath after the Pan Celtic then was time to hit the road once more, this time to Echos Et Merveilles in Toulouse, France. On this trip we were joining The Grenaways and taking both bands to play at this unique festival. Ireland had been our first trip as just one band and had felt strange to be away without our Grenaways family, so we were very happy to be reunited. There was however a spare seat on the plane, meant for trumpet player Claude who was stuck at home in hospital. We missed both his playing and company!
On Friday morning, after a good night's sleep at our hotel, Tom was met at the airport and we headed to Le Bascala in Bruguieres. All the volunteers, organisers and crew made us very welcome and we were spoiled with a 3 hour soundcheck!
The Rowan Tree were first to take to the stage, and after listening in the wings to the beautiful sounds of Eirdan and the enthusiastic crowd, the nerves were replaced by excitment. The Toulouse audience didn't disappoint and between the cheering, dancing and incredible lights on stage we couldn't fail to find this one of the most exciting gigs we have played so far. After the surreal experience of signing and selling out of CDs we joined the audience to watch the mighty Neko Light Orchestra who wowed us with their magical performance and musicianship! Rather later than we're used to (we need to work on our Rock n Roll body clocks!) The Grenaways took to the stage for our headline gig. The audience's enthusiasm and the fantastic atmosphere of the festival meant that this was another gig to remember. Our experience of playing in France will stay with us, and is one we hope to repeat very soon!
The festival itself was a wonderful mix of craftsmanship, battle re-enactments, beautiful music and unity amongst people with common interests. It was an honour to share the stage with bands such as Faun and Fanel who really knew how to put on a show!
Thank you to all the fellow musicians we met and new friends that were made over the weekend. Special thanks to Nicolas and his team for all their hard work over the weekend, and to the wonderful Franz who not only ferried us around all weekend but was also a joy to spend time with and whose beautiful CD kept us sane on the late night drive home back to Kernow!