In July, we performed in our first Edinburgh Jazz Festival for 17 years (!), with over 80 people coming to see us at The Jazz Bar. It was a very nice audience, some of whom had seen us play before in other towns. An encore was duly supplied!
August saw us perform every day (25 concerts in a row) at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This was our 15th year at The Fringe, and our 4th year at Venue 188, in the Tap Music Lounge at the Novotel Edinburgh Centre in Lauriston Place. The festival (EdFringe for short) is the biggest arts festival in the world and has been running for over 70 years. You can see more on their website at: www.edfringe.com
It was an amazing success for us this year with record ticket sales. 996 people came to see us play, with the weekend concerts selling out!
We had some amazing audiences – warm, friendly, appreciative, and met some really, really nice people from all over the world. It makes sense of all those hours of practice, day in and day out (in my case in an airless, sound-proofed cupboard, the size of a telephone kiosk!).
Some people have come to see us year after year, throughout the 15 years we’ve played in The Fringe. We really appreciate that! A saxophonist from near Scarborough asked us if we could play my tune “Gemma“! Brilliant! (Its the 2nd time someone’s requested that tune before a gig.)
Its always very nice to see young musicians at our concerts too. We feel that is very important.
In the first week of The Fringe, both my saxophones (tenor & soprano) needed emergency repairs! Nightmare! Luckily, Ruth and Jonathon at The Workshop in Cumberland Street, were able to come to the rescue. Phew!
On the way to the venue one day, we came across some dogs with small “A” boards on their backs advertising a show. Very inventive!
One owner even brought his dog “Reg” to our show, and they sat in the front row! “Reg” seemed to relax and enjoy it after some initial uncertainty from him!
The Novotel staff were (as always) fantastic! Always friendly, welcoming, helpful and very hard working. It made our job so much easier! Thank you to them.
There was some atrocious weather in the first week or so of The Fringe. Very, very heavy rain and thunder & lightning.
“Jazz at Lunchtime” is not without its hazards. Once when we were playing, Dom was continually attacked by a wasp! On another occasion, as I was playing, a spider came down from the ceiling above me on its line and landed on my face! It’s tough at the top…..!!!
Not content with the huge challenge that playing 25 concerts in 25 days brings, I decided to add another. I went for a 4 mile run after the first concert, and thought to myself – it would be great to do this every day…..hang on a sec! 4 miles a day for 25 days is 100 miles. Now there’s a challenge! So that’s exactly what I did. I ran 4 miles every day for 25 days in a row around Holyrood Park.
Because I couldn’t miss a day in order to complete the challenge, I had to run in some really bad weather. Several days in the heaviest rain I have ever experienced. Once it was so heavy that the pavements had become rivers several centimetres deep – when that coincided with loud thunder and lots of lightning, I was a bit concerned (standing in water) that I might become a large lightning conductor! I ran a wee bit faster that day!!!
Amazingly, I got stronger, fitter and faster as the days went on. This confirms S.A.I.D (Specific Adaptation to the Imposed Demand). In other words, your body adapts to the physical challenge you are making it do, by strengthening bone and muscle etc. Wonderful.
A fantastic side effect of all that running was that I didn’t feel tired or drained during The Fringe, in fact, I had bags of energy! Usually, I get more and more exhausted as the days mount up. This year – fresh as a daisy the for the whole 25 days! And my legs didn’t feel like I’d been running at all! I must do this again next year…..!
Here’s some photos Dom took of me completing the final day’s running challenge.
Dom also kept himself fit, by cycling in from his home most days – a round trip of 18 miles.
We’re already looking forward to next year’s “Jazz at Lunchtime” in the 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe! Our next concerts are in Elgin at the Moray Jazz Club and then Braemar at St Margaret’s Art Centre (the day before the Braemar Royal Gathering). Here’s a few more photos to finish off.
© 2019 Words and photos by Ian Millar