The moment I stood in Ryan’s Bar in Kilkenny in 2008 waiting for a 3 sister Swedish folk band to start playing I knew I was at a different kind of festival then I had ever experienced before. I watched these 3 sisters (Baskery) light up the room with their energy and then stood in amazement when they walked off stage and straight over to their merch area to sell CD’s! This can’t be normal I thought to myself. Surely they have someone with them to do this for them! But gigs at Hill Billy Casino and Chatham Co Line the next day (which blew my mind musically) went the same way and left me wondering how have I not been at this festival before!
Our old band was coming to an end and the first steps of The Needables would soon begin and it was without doubt that this festival helped confirm in my mind that it was okay to play the music you loved and not try to write a hit record because you felt like you should!
3 more festival visits followed and during this time The Needables were born. When we completed our first EP we scribbled down the goals for the future form the smallest to the largest. One of those goals (which was on the large end!) was to play the Kilkenny Roots Festival. So we thought let’s just send them the EP so that we can get on their radar and hopefully in a few years they might give us a …what do you mean they just offered us a gig at the festival???!!! Holy @##**#!!! How did we get that??!!
Our first time to play the festival was 2012 with 2 gigs on the Sunday. we headed down on the Saturday to catch some gigs as fans and went to check out His Golden Messenger. The gig was amazing and I stood looking at this guy with his brilliant performance and I thought ‘what the hell are we doing playing this festival?'. ‘How did we blag this?'. After the gig and just like all the gigs I mentioned before the magic I watched onstage was now standing beside me chatting about the record I just bought from him! In all my years as a musician this encounter would be probably the most important I have ever had. I asked the innocent question if MC Taylor (real name ,and yes just as cool!) would be hanging out for the rest of the festival and he responded that he had to get back for work on the Monday so he couldn’t. I stood there in shock looking at this guy who just stepped off stage from playing an incredible gig tell me he had a job to get back to. Life as a musician is a bumpy road no matter what level of success you are deemed to have achieved. But it is very easy to think about the negatives, that day changed my outlook on what we were trying to achieve.
This year we head to the festival for the 6th time as part of the Music Trail , incredibly grateful for the run we have had and for the people who have come to see us and returned again to see more! Last year we had people singing our doings louder then he which was quite surreal! We have played and hopefully will get to play plenty of other festivals in the future but this festival will remain deep in the history of our little band.
So my advice to one and all is get down to this festival on the 28th April, and of course don't forget to check us out when you are there!!
Kilkenny Roots Festival a place where people don't try to be cool, they just are cool!