Playing to the tune of summer

Posted on: 6th July, 2015

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

And we’re off!  Schools are out, exams are all finally done, days are long, you can smell the warmth in the air, and even the vegetarians amongst us are thinking about ‘having a Bar-bee’.  It’s festival season.

Of course all of the seasons are special.  As a scorpion, I identify most with the autumn; on a low stress level I dread its coming but when it does come I feel immersed in its magic. But the summer is the season that we all wait for, it’s like a treat, our reward for all the hard work we’ve put in during the year, and now the days are so long that we can get around to everything, even a little time off.

Baltimore covered the opening May Bank Holiday weekend with the Fiddle Fair, again, (though we all have reservations about the banks taking holidays) Bandon got bigger and better for the June equivalent, the Chamber Music festival is taking place in Bantry as we ‘write’, as is the Brass Bands weekend in Clonakilty, Macroom is coming up and I’ve been told that tickets for some events are already sold out, not to mention the Valentia Island music festival, which isn’t in West Cork but if you keep following the road…and all the while the Marquee is going on in Cork, with pretty much a show a night for a whole month.

Ok, the Marquee is not perfect, but it would be less perfect if it weren’t on at all.  I think its especially relevant for us from West Cork, easy access if you’re driving, there’s car parking on site, which I think is a real treat, that only costs a fiver even if there’s a dozen of you in the van, and straight home again after the gig, sorted!  I love that tent (marquee), not the tarmac floor or the far away seating but the tent itself, I’m convinced it’s the same one that they use at the Electric Picnic and such delusion is part of what keeps me happy in my everyday life, I need something, actually I need a lot.

But there is something about the different life that we live during the summer time, tunes that we were listening to last year become popular again, tunes that haven’t shook our booty since last summer. What is that? Is there something that irritates us about sunny upbeat summer tunes when the weather isn’t great, that makes us stop loving them when the sun goes down?

I think that there is also something about playing music that changes during the ‘deregulation’ of the summer. We study, in a determined way, to improve, to make ourselves better during the rest of the year that we abandon, that we just couldn’t be bothered with during the summertime. We want to take time out, throw off the clobber and just go for it. Busk on the street with a banjo, no matter how good you are, grab a box drum or a bodhran and head to the beach, a guitar or two around a bonfire, cheer your grandma up with a ukulele, or you could just fiddle anywhere, its summertime, time to have some fun, no rules, enjoy.

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