End of Festivals 2014

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So I just realised that I’ve not actually posted anything about the end of the 2014 festival season. Not since I finished the stupidly tiring Beatherder Festival.

Anyway, as it turns out my knee swelled up and I was unable to walk properly after Beatherder Festival. Two weeks after Beatherder, I turned up at Kendall Calling in quite a lot of pain prepared to spend another long weekend in wet fields at a Festival. I was intending to spend a lot of time working at 2 of the small stages, but owing to my inability to walk I was unable to keep moving between the two stages. So I ended up on the Main Stage. I was pleased that I got to see Reel Big Fish, amongst many others. Including working with Frank Turner again. One of the middle days at the festival I had to really strap my knee up, serious weightlifting straps so I could walk properly. I strapped up because I’d also been asked if I would be a roadie for a band that weekend, so I had to be able to walk and carry stuff.

The band I was a roadie for are a synth pop band from the north of the UK called From A Window. Surprisingly, I actually really enjoyed working with them, setting up all the kit. Getting everything done and even being artist liaison was a lot of fun. Even managed to keep my knee working, with the help of those straps. Lifting one of the big subwoofers caused me a serious problem though, accidentally slashed my leg on it. Look away now if it upsets you!

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I spent quite a few weeks going between doctors, surgeons, specialists, physiotherapists, trying to find out exactly what was wrong with it. And we struggled to find an answer. Trying to explain that the cuts were not at all an issue was difficult, since they extended the length of my thigh. We eventually found there’s nothing structurally wrong with it, and purely by luck realised that it was a muscle imbalance that caused the problems. Finally fixed in the last few weeks.

A few weeks after Kendal though, I had my final festival of the season. At this point, I was unable to do much, and ultimately ended up working off-site nights. The worst job I’ve had at a festival. Here was my view for most of the festival though, something much more pleasant than the last picture.

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That’s a panorama photo of the view I had, though this was around 5am in the morning. Most of the time, I could see nothing because it was overnight work. But lovely all the same. I did 9-6 overnight for this one. But I did get a bit of downtime to go and enjoy the festival as well. So I did the reasonable thing and went and had a good look round.

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Here is a picture from backstage looking out over the crowd. More importantly, there is a picture of Queens Of The Stone Age on MAIN STAGE at Leeds Fest. I was stood watching the show from backstage with the crew and engineers for Paramore. Including the manager of the band. Very special feeling at that point to be honest. Sadly I didn’t get to watch Paramore as I was working, but their engineers were wonderful.

I’m not sure what else I should say about this now, but it was fabulous to work at these festivals this year. An amazing season of work, meeting some fantastic musicians, engineers and people and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. Loved every second, and ready for next year now my knee is fixed!

Long time, no see!

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Well since the end of my festival season at the end of August (LEEDS FEST) I’ve been in a bit of a whirlwind of activity. This year was going to be a university year but as it happens I’ve actually ended up working for Bang & Olufsen in Denmark. Strangely, I got my first EVER view from Denmark today. Like I say though, I’ve moved to Denmark on a temporary basis – until the end of June.

But here I am in Denmark working in the automotive section of Bang & Olufsen, learning and studying and working. And of course training. Everything seems to be going well, there just doesn’t seem to be anything worth writing about. But if anyone has any suggestions, I’ll happily take a look and a think and come up with something!

Festivals, festivals… Everywhere!

I know it’s been a while since the last post, but here’s why!

I’ve done 4 in the last 4 weeks as well as one at the start of June. Parklife Weekender at the start of the season in Manchester. Sadly, I couldn’t make it to Run To The Sun in Cornwall this year due to deadlines that week.

Took a few weeks off after that to try and get in shape for the upcoming festivals, but it didn’t really work – more on that later! Second festival of the year was the one and only Glastonbury Festival, and it was just as huge and amazing as ever. This year I managed to run a few big names including The Kaiser Chiefs and London Grammar. As London Grammar headlined the Sunday night, I got the opportunity to chill with them for a bit after the set and have a good chat about the weekend. Great people and amazing music, go watch them if you get the chance! I also got to watch Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, they were pretty cool. Definitely worth checking out too.

Adrian Edmondson with Vyvian at Glastonbury 2014

My feet barely touched the floor at home after Glastonbury before I was getting on the train to head down to Kent to work at Hop Farm Festival. The line-up there included Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Echo & The Bunnymen, Grace Jones and James Blunt. Another damn good line-up. Heckle me all you want, but I went to see James Blunt and really enjoyed it. A really good gig and a great guy. His engineer is also pretty awesome, I even got a free World Tour t-shirt.

Eventually got home after another day on the train to get back from Kent, but only long enough to wash my clothes and pack them up again because then I was on my way to North Wales for Wakestock Festival. 3rd Festival in 3 weeks, and amazingly, the weather was set to be pretty good. I hadn’t had time to look at the lineup for the festival before I got there, but was more than pleasantly surprised when I saw names like Frank Turner and Razorlight on the main stage. Even managed to get heckled by Frank during his sound check before the music started properly for the day, but a lovely guy as I’ve come to realise almost every musician is. Here’s a picture from Frank Turners set, and a picture of his set-list for this show.

Frank Turner Wakestock 2014

Frank Turner Setlist Wakestock 2014

So yeah, I got through Wakestock and really rather enjoyed it. Bonus when I got home, I managed a WHOLE DAY off before heading on to Beatherder Festival in Lancashire for another 4 days of loveliness working at a festival. The weather was due to be REALLY bad for that weekend, and it could have been hell. But thankfully the rain held off for us. This was still the most difficult one though because it was the last festival in a 4 week stint on the road, and I was in a tent, and the hours were the longest of all, AND I was working on a DJ stage. Believe me, one or 2 DJs may be alright, but for 15 hours in a row it’s really not easy to cope with. My longest shift was a 17 hour MONSTER on the Saturday. Sometimes, it’s a very difficult job and I was reminded just how difficult it can be when I was working at this one. We had some issues with stage levels and technical issues and a rowdy crowd being fueled partly by drugs. An entertaining weekend all round, but a very difficult.

Made it home from Beatherder at 5am on Monday morning, and I was SO glad to get back into bed. Only to wake up with a knee so swollen that I could no longer straighten my leg. A week later, and it’s barely improved. But look on the bright side, I’ve got a great collection of wrist bands, and my new bass is arriving on Monday. Got to have something to feel good about! I’ll update again after Kendall Calling next weekend

Festival Wristbands

Intermission

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I know I’ve not posted anything for a while, I’ve been smothered in work for exams and assignments for the last month, but I’m finally coming to the light at the end of the tunnel! As of today, all of my exams are finished and I’m left with 2 assignments to do – one of which is getting done as I’m sat here. I’ve got another 5 or so blogs in the works, just trying to find time to get the final research done and iron out the bumps in them and then they’ll be getting posted.

Not sure how regularly I’ll be posting updates as I’ve got a lot of work coming my way at the start of summer, working at festivals this year again doing sound control. I’ll confirm festivals as they’re confirmed to me, but right now I know I’m doing Park Life (Manchester), Glastonbury Festival (you know where that is), and Beat Herder (Ribble Valley). I’ll try to remember to take pictures of them all so you can get a feel for what these festivals are like from a different perspective.

That’s about all from me for now but as ever, if you’ve got any questions, ask away. Peace

Musical Silver Lining

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So last week I got to see some of my best mates again, first time in absolutely AGES! Now we’re not exactly typical, we weren’t going out for lunch, or even for a drink. We were heading to the local gym for a training session, that’s how we catch up with each other. Squats and deadlifts were the order of the day, safe to say that we’re  a lot stronger than we were the last time we met up. I made one major mistake though, I forgot to listen to my body as carefully as I usually do because I was too busy listening to my mates and chatting. I overdid it, causing a recent back injury to flair up again.

I’ve been rendered useless for a few days, unable to train! Nightmare! Just when I want to be cranking the weight up and training hard while I’ve got a bit of time away from lectures and I can’t. It isn’t all bad though, because of one of the conversations we had in the gym. We were chatting about music, and I was pointed in the direction of James Blunt‘s most recent albums, 2010’s Some Kind Of Trouble, and 2013’s Moon Landing. Now I loved his first two albums, Back To Bedlam and All The Lost Souls but I had refrained from buying the later two because I didn’t want to be disappointed. I was worried that the albums wouldn’t be as good as I wished they were going to be.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I realised I couldn’t really do much, I recalled the conversation and bought both the albums. And since then, I’ve literally had them both on a loop on my laptop because they’re amazing tracks. I’ve been inspired by the quiet and touching honesty of the albums and have actually felt buoyed and quite inspired by them.

Despite being knocked back by injury, I found something to make the time useful again. I know it’s only a little thing, but we can do it in any situation. And if you’re feeling really down, here’s a picture of an elephant having a bad day. Peace

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“If you can play it wearing a skirt it is not a sport”

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Here’s another blog written by a good friend of mine about Cheerleading. Take a read, I want to know what YOU think about it

kimberleyraye

Sport means all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.” Council of Europe’s European Sports Charter, 1993.

Cheerleading in the UK is not currently recognised as a sport. This means that teams of cheerleaders based in the UK don’t receive any form of government funding.

Having taken up cheerleading as an adult, this is something I disagree with.

To be recognisable to Sport England UK the sport has to be a form a physical activity which can be either “casual” or “organised”. Eleanor Lees 20-year-old from the Salford horse-riding society describes sport as, ” A strenuous activity that you can train for or prepare for or burns over a certain number of calories”.

She added: ” when people say its not a sport…that’s almost a compliment because clearly you’re not making…

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Free From Fear

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Right, I know this is going to sound exactly like something out of The Matrix, but just maybe that’s because they had a good point to make. The line is “I’m trying to free your mind, but I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” So that’s what I’m gonna do, I’m going to ask you to unchain your mind. Stop doubting yourself and questioning the outcome, don’t worry about the “What ifs” because a solution will present itself when the time comes.

Stop worrying about things, because that fear of the unknown is holding you back. It’s the same fear that stopped you from sleeping at night without having a night-light when you were a child. You couldn’t see it, so you didn’t KNOW that it was safe. You’ve got over that fear now and that’s a good thing. I’m telling you that what you fear now isn’t the thing you can see, or the challenge in your sights ahead of you, what you fear is the thing that’s almost in the corner of your vision coming to knock you off-course. Now you’re not gonna see this until it hits you, but if you stop chasing your goal so that you never have to face being blindsided, you will not succeed.

Franklin Roosevelt said “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. He hit the nail on the head. Sure, you fear getting hurt, you fear failing, you fear being knocked off course, but none of those things will stop you reaching your goals. The fear of those things is what stops you. So you have to free your mind, unchain your mind, throw down the shackles and cuffs of fear and be free. Stand tall, breathe the free air and go out and succeed. You commit 100% to your goals, and you cannot fail. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I wouldn’t tell you to do this if I didn’t believe you were capable of it. To come back to the quote from The Matrix, “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” I have shown you the door, you must now release your fears and step through that door to your success.

Peace

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Success

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From time to time, everyone struggles with motivation. You, me, your family, your friends, your colleagues. Everyone struggles from time to time, regardless of how much money they’ve got, how much love they’ve got, everyone will struggle sometimes. I see things very differently to most of the people that surround me. My outlook is much more spiritual/philosophical than most peoples because I believe that where I am right now doesn’t matter, I’m on a journey to where I want to be. So here’s a view of success.

How do you view your deadlines? I’ve got… A month? A week? A day? 24 hours? Notice that a day and 24 hours are the same thing, but if you count your goals hour by hour in that 24 hours then you’ll find yourself achieving more because your short term goals build you up to a bigger target. So think about this. There are 86,400 seconds in the day, I want you to think about how you use those seconds. If you’re not improving yourself in every one of those seconds, you’ve wasted those seconds. You may have heard the phrase “Look after the pennies, and the pounds look after themselves.”

If you are willing to sacrifice what you are at any given second, for what you will achieve, then you will have success. You want to succeed, you’ve got to be willing to work for it. If you’re competing with someone, then every time you rest, they’re going to keep on working. Every time you wait and try to recover, they’re going to keep on working. So if you really want to succeed, you’re going to have to sacrifice sleep, food, rest in order to achieve everything you truly want. Here’s a story you may have heard before, which might help you understand how hard you have to want to succeed.

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“A young man met a guru one day, he was making a lot of money and he said to him “Man, I want to be on the same level as you”. The guru replied, “Alright, meet me at 4am at the beach tomorrow”.

So the man turns up at the beach at 4am, suited up, ready to do whatever it takes and the guru says “I want you to walk out into the water”. “Crazy man”, he thinks to himself, but he walks out, till the water’s waist deep and then turns around. The guru points and says, “Further”. The man walks out a little further, it’s now chest deep. The guru walks along side him and the man says “I want to be successful, I don’t want to be a life guard. What are we doing here?” The guru just says to keep walking. The man walks until the water is up to his mouth and says that if he goes any further, he will drown.

The guru takes hold of his head, and shoves him underwater and holds him down. The man thrashes and fights for breath but remains underwater. Just before the man faints, the guru picks him out of the water and asks him “While you were under, what did you want more than anything?” The man replied that all he could think of was breathing. The guru looks him in the eye and says to him, “When you want to succeed, as bad you want to breath, THEN you’ll be successful”. ”

I wouldn’t ask you to try, if you weren’t strong enough to do it. This CAN be done, even if you need help. This CAN be done. Peace xx

5, 6, 7, 8 Feminine is a word we hate.

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Well worth a read to dispel any myths about cheerleading. I myself am a cheerleader, and agree entirely with what is said here. Please read

kimberleyraye

“women put off by “unfeminine” sports might prefer to take up cheerleading”

Recently Tory MP Helen Grant tried to encourage girls to take up sport by describing cheerleading as feminine. I am all for getting people into health and fitness but not if you are persuading them for the wrong reasons. If you expect something of a sport and then your expectations are not met then involvement in the physical activity will increase. Just as women will not continue cheerleading if it is represented to them incorrectly.

Cheerleaders are strong, focussed, well-disciplined athletes. We do not just prance around the floor with pretty socks and pom poms instead we perform dangerous, power-exerting routines to entertain an audience.

GRANTed our uniforms are feminine but this is to simply enhance what we do…

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Best Bass Guitarist?

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So today, amongst doing my work, I’ve been watching videos about the late, great John Entwistle – bass player for The Who. For those of you that don’t know, he died in 2002 the night before The Who were due to start an American tour. In 2000 though, he was voted the best bass player of the millennium, and it’s a title I believe he is worthy of. Trying to list the achievements of John Entwistle could easily be a 5 part blog in it’s own right, so suffice to say that he was a man who lived more than most people do.

In the bass playing world, Larry Graham is known as the man who “invented” slap bass, a technique used is many different style of music but most noticeably in funk music. It’s been widely adapted and modified to great effect by players such as Flea, Victor Wooten, Bill Dickens, Mark King, and many others all pushing the boundaries in their own way. Entwistle doesn’t have this same fame despite developing his own techniques, but suspect this is primarily due to the difficulty of the techniques he mastered. Originally, Entwistle played the trumpet, and he later took the right hand technique from that and applied it to the bass, using his fingers in a similar fashion to the hammers in a piano, bringing out harmonics and producing a tone that otherwise cannot be created.

Obviously this puts a lot of pressure and strain on your right hand when you’re hammering the strings with your fingertips but the tone generated is worth it if you can make it work for you. And as seen in this video, once mastered, the technique can do a LOT for you. Skip to about 30s to see him “showing off” a bit on his Status Graphite bass guitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASJxApEz_YA

In the first section of the video, John is described as being “uncomparable” to other bass players – Jeff Baxter from Steely Dan, having a technique that was “light years ahead of anyone else at that time” – Rick Wakeman from Yes, and being “the best bass player in rock ‘n’ roll, no contest” – Lemmy from Motorhead. Impressive endorsements for any musician, but when you add in that Chris Squire, Bill Wyman, Pete Townsend and many others besides regarded him very highly, you start to see how influential he really was.

He turned up the treble, he played lead parts, triplet runs, had the first ever bass solo in a rock hit, he created new techniques. He notably pioneered the usage of Alembic Instruments, a mantle later taken up by Stanley Clarke. He played many famous brands though, Warwick, Alembic, Status Graphite, Fender, Gibson. A truly incredible musician. Known for being super-loud on stage, but very down to earth off-stage, to me he represents a real musician. Somebody that I have massive respect for, he is sorely missed, but he is still most highly respected.

Here’s an old photo of the great man and part of his amazing instrument collection before he died. How we ought to remember him.

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For your money, who’s the best bass guitarist ever?