Scarlet's Well, Felipop, Spain
It was deja vu at Stansted when the members of Scarlet's Well met up with sleep-deprived faces to catch a flight to Santiago, Spain. We joined the unbelievably long queue with our instruments to check in. It was my first time bringing drum, or cymbals, so of course got stopped at the Fragile Items to unpack my cymbals case (their x-rays couldn't go through metal!) and the entire contents of my carry on bag, which happened to contain a bass drum pedal that apparently looked like a deadly weapon on the x-ray scanner.
We checked into a cute hotel in the town of Pontedueme and walked around, taking in the town and an ice-cream or beer before being whisked off to Limodre (5 min drive away) for food, a pub (that we walked into as they played a Miss Twinkle to our entrance on the jukebox!) and a party in the open air.
The next morning the bells ensured I woke up ridiculously early, so I had a solitary hike up to the top of a mountain, to be rewarded with the sight of a teeny 11th Century church. On the hike down I breifly worried about the effects the walking might have on my bass drumming and hi-hatting, but it was an unfounded worry. After a hotel move and a siesta, we headed off for soundcheck.
They were still setting up when I arrived for the soundcheck, but oh, my goodness, what a stage! I had a DRUM RISER!! There was an onstage sound desk just for the onstage monitoring. And the BD pedal felt great and responded so well that I decided to not use the one I'd brought with me that made me empty the contents of my bag at Stansted.
Back to the hotel for costume change, food, and back again to the festival. By the time we arrived back at midnight, the tent had filled up with Gallicia's finest trendy hipster indie kids. A band was playing who sounded a bit like early Kenickie, with a girl singer. If I went round the side of the tent, I found a single chair with a view just of the drummer, so I plonked myself there for a while. He drummed with 3 limbs wilst shaking a tambourine in his right hand - a move I thought was really clever and would try to steal one day.
I started to get too nervous, so holed myself up backstage, listening to the strains of a trio of 60's (both in age and from the decade) Spanish folkies perform a reunion gig (first gig in 30 years, apparently) in front of the audience who sung along to every word. Slightly daunted, we went onto the stage when it was our turn, at 2.30 in the morning.
There was too much dry ice for me to be nervous for long. I couldn't see the band, let alone the audience, and I learned I could drum whilst coughing and choking on smoke. After about 20 mins, the power suddenly went out. I was hopeful the problem would be sorted out (and no one told me - isolated at the back on my riser) what was going on, so I lanched into an impromptu drum solo. Boy, that audience must have been drunk - they loved it, and I am incredibly bad at solos...
The problem was sorted out (generator out of petrol, the organisers drove down to the local petrol station..) and we finished the gig about 4am. We didn't play an encore, to my relief, although every time I tried to go back onstage to take my cymbals down the audence went WILD! So we went back for an encore, only to find out that the mics were taken down and couldn't do it anyway!
We partayed for a while, and then staggered back to town. I woke up early again, so took in the sights of the beach. We chilled out the next day, some went back to the festival in the evening, I wanted a quiet night in (spoiled by a 13 year olds' reggae dance evening next door - the only noise I did miss was some bongo playing in the square) and returned to Stansted the next day, happy that we'd played an amazing festival in an amazing part of the world.
They do the Felipop festival every year.