I traveled to Oxfordshire this past weekend to play at the Children of Artemis Gathering – two gigs, one Friday night, the other on Saturday, a nice hour and fifteen plus each set. With more songs flowing, and three albums behind me it’s getting harder and harder to play 45 minute/1 hours sets, so this was a great opportunity.

I took my sons with me and we arrived about 3pm just as the campsite was opening. We were directed to the camping field, and pitched our tents in the warm sunshine of the afternoon. I took a few hours just to settle in, and went to have a look at the firepit circle where I was due to play. What a great little venue! Like a little open air theatre complete with stage.

7.30 arrived and I heard Dave, one of the organisers announcing my performance. A few people had already arrived, so I decided to start the set, and gradually the circle filled up, as more people headed over to listen. As it was the Friday night I thought I would play a gentle set to help people land after their long journeys. Song of Awen, Merlin am I, Taliesin’s Song, people sang along to Domeana, I played a cover of the Richard Thompson song 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, all in this glorious setting, wonderful! I ended the set with a new song, Pagan Ways, it’s first live outing, and I’m pleased to say it was very well received.

I was so pleased with the evening, and the availability of Hobgoblin real ale at the event, that I did indulge in a skinful of tasty beer afterwards. In fact, later that night I thought it would be a great idea to go to the adventure playground on site and try out the rope walk…. A few minutes later I was dangling upside down, hanging from my leg in fits of laughter… A nice bruise on my leg reminded me of what had happened the next morning! Hey, it was a Pagan festival, so I decided to do my own impression of the Tarot, The Hanged Man 🙂

The next evening’s concert was packed out, a bit more upbeat, yet still with many moments of reflection. Pipes of Pan, Spirit of Albion, John Barleycorn, Hills they are Hollow, Fith Fath Song, plus a couple more new songs, Only Human and Immrama, finishing with people singing along with the Winter King. Another really enjoyable gig, and if you were there and are reading this, thanks for singing, and adding your percussion.

The Dolmen then started their set in the marquee, playing out onto the field, and I joined them onstage again for about their last 5 songs, rocking it up with the ‘Ramones’ of the folk world. Nobody can resist the pull to dance to those guys, and sure enough, by the end of their set, the field was jumping.

Great memories, and I hope to come back again next year. In the mean time I’ll be playing Witchfest International in Croydon for the CoA in November, another great event.