I find airports great places to ground.
After a few days at the OBOD East Coast Gathering, having soaked up the love and openness that comes from being part of a wider spiritual community, returning to the rush and distance of everyday life can be a bit of a shock. The thing is airports are full of people doing their own thing. They don’t really see you, so it always gives me the opportunity to just observe, and gradually land. We were off to Vienna next, for a gig, then on to the Austrian Broomstick Rally. From there a car journey to the Czech Republic for a workshop from Cerri, and a gig from me, before heading home.
Vienna is one of my favourite cities. The architecture, the coffee houses, and I love that art and music are at the heart of the culture of the city. It’s no surprise that this wonderful metropolis gave home to Mozart, Beethoven and Handel. If you’ve never been, and have the opportunity to go, do it. We met our friend Siggy at the airport and hopped into a cab, went back to her flat and chilled out, trying to battle another bout of jet lag. We did it, managing to stay awake until dark, bed felt so good.
The next day Siggy took us to see the treasures of the House of Habsburg – a family that ruled a massive empire from the 1400s to the 1700s. As we walked around the museum looking at the treasures it was mind-boggling to think of that much power and money being directed by one family. There were some amazing pieces, including great cauldrons, sculptures, and incredible clockwork items, the most delicate being a golden clockwork ship complete with firing cannons!
The treasures were amazing but, for me, one of the delights of Vienna are also the incredible coffee and cake houses. Yes, we went to a few of those too.
Next we went to see the Hundertwasser Village, a set of building designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. An absolutely amazing and inspiring place. Completely bonkers, in a really good way.
On the Wednesday night I played my 5th concert in Vienna in the wonderful venue that is Cafe Cenario. It was my 3rd concert here and it’s always an amazing night. And this year I was blessed to have Siggy open the evening for me playing a set on her harp – beautiful. Then we played the Selkie of Sules Skerry together at the end of her set.
A capacity crowd sang along, and we had a great night together. After 5 years I know most of the people who turn up and it’s now like going to see good friends, but by the final song, The Cauldron Born, there was enough energy in that room to raise the most powerful Cone of Power. It was amazing.
The scenery surrounding the venue for the Broomstick Rally is astounding.
The Broomstick Rally was a Pagan camp that used to happen in Sussex in the early to mid 90s. It was run by the then Pagan Federation regional coordinators Rob and Fran and the vibe was a cross between a Pagan camp and a bikers rally. It was held in a field linked to a pub that served the most magnificent pint of Harveys Best Bitter, there was live music, workshops, silly games (including Pentacle Rounders) and a full english breakfast. One of the people who attended the Broomstick Rally back in the day was Karen, who then moved to Austria and took that vibe to the Austrian mountains by starting the Austrian Broomstick Rally, including the Pentacle Rounders!
Friday night there is the now legendary eisteddfod which takes for form of an open floor evening. Some amazing performances, as usual, with even more harps!
On the Saturday, way over in Glastonbury there was a ritual happening (The Warriors Call) that had been written to help protect this planet from the threat of Fracking. This event spread all over the world with circles happening in Greece, the USA, Italy and beyond. We also held a ceremony to tune into the Glastonbury Rite. A powerful moment, followed by posting this photo on the web to show our support.
A treasure hunt, singing into the night. I love the Broomstick Rally and look forward to next year!
On the Sunday we headed to the Czech Republic for Cerri to give her workshop on the Cauldrons in Celtic Lore and were welcomed by our lovely Czech friends. The next day we were taken to see an island on the river on the centre of Prague. Such a beautiful space.
I play all over the world and audiences vary between having a connection to the lyrics and gently singing along, to the right old party that is my gig in Prague. Last year I even had a stage diver, that has to be a first for a folk concert! This year was no exception. By the middle of the first song everyone was on their feet and singing along, by the third song it felt like I was playing a rock concert. But by Wild Mountain Thyme the ‘biggest group hug in Prague’ was a sight to behold. In fact I had to take a photo from the stage.
Vienna and Prague, I love to both. I love my fiends there, and I always look forward to returning to your magical cities, and seeing and playing for you once more.
Until next year xx