So, despite the deluge of rain, the gig at the Folk East Festival was really good fun! It was a small but well-attended event, with a really great mix of people in the audience. The Get on the Soapbox stage was sandwiched between the two main stages, but being on the thoroughfare meant that there were plenty of curious passers-by, willing to stop and listen for a few minutes.
My own set was pretty well-received, with a small but appreciative audience who laughed and clapped in all the right places - always a bonus! I also managed to lure in more people who were clearly intrigued by the content of my poems. In fact, I even saw one man do a double take while I was reading Shaving Grace. (I'm pretty sure it was the 'meaty pocket' line that did it!)
I also managed to chat to some people afterwards and give away a few of my contact cards, which is nice. And it's funny, but I definitely felt more confident performing those poems that I have memorised. It made it much easier to interact with the audience and actually perform, rather than just reading the poems. A good reason to start learning more of my stuff before my next gig!
And September is shaping up to be a pretty busy month for me:
On 1st and 2nd September, I'm off to Off the Tracks Festival in Derbyshire, to camp in the beautiful countryside and read poems to the festival-goers on the courtyard stage.
Then, on Sunday 9th September I'm performing at Verbal Remedies, one of the events being hosted by the John Clare Cottage in Peterborough as part of the We Love Words Festival. I really love the work of John Clare, so it's great to be involved in an event organised by the charity which bares his name. It's also my first paid gig, which is very exciting for me.
Then, on Wednesday 12th September, it's the Regional Final of the Hammer and Tongue Poetry Slam in Cambridge. I'm especially looking forward to this one, because there are so many amazing poets competing, and it's always really nice to share the stage with great talent. Performing among great poets always spurs me on to a better performance, and the Hammer and Tongue nights always have such a fantastic atmosphere. I'm even learning a new poem for the night, so hopefully that will pay off!
I'm on the radio on Sunday 23rd September, doing my first ever piece on the airwaves. I'll be the guest poet with Patrick Widdess on Headstand on Cambridge 105. Patrick's show is an eclectic mix of music and spoken word poetry, and I'll be performing some of my poems live on air and chosing some of my favourite music and poems too.
Finally, on Saturday 29th September, I'll be hosting Shindig at the Leper Chapel in Cambridge. There'll be three amazing musicians performing - Lester J Allen, Paul
Goodwin and Dave Gerard - and the venue will be decorated by artwork from excellent cartoonist Chen Xi. Plus, I'll be steering the ship! It's my first time at the compère's mic, and I'll be introducing the acts, making sure everyone's having a good time and performing some poetry too.
On top of all these lovely events, I'm also researching, interviewing and writing for the Cambs24 news website. Recent post include an interview with spoken word poet Nikki Marrone, Ely Poetry Festival Organiser CaoimhínÓ Coileáin and Cambridge-based poet Holly McNish. Next to come will be an interview with Kumquat Poetry founder and Poet Flo Reynolds and local poet Jessie Durrant.
So yeah, a busy month ahead. Lots of first times and exciting opportunities. I can't wait!