It is the morning after I arrived home from the longest stretch of this summers Sliotar tour and I am trying to slowly make sense of it all. It has been crazy few weeks. In the past fifteen years we have toured a lot, so it is hard to rate the tours anymore at this stage. But I still cannot help to feel that we did some thing great on this tour. Every show was a pleasure for us to play.
We started the tour at the wonderful Bundan Celtic Festival. I’ll be honest, we did struggle with the heat, and maybe did not get to enjoy our time off at the festival as much as in the past few years. But at the same time, it was the worst heatwave in Italy since 2003 and most locals were struggling with it as well. But that did not stop us having a stormer of a show! The massive audience of Bundan Celtic Festival were with us from the start and together we rocked the dust filled flood plains of Bundan for two hours!
Sunday was our day off at the festival, but we love to play, and when the Cisalpipers invited us to play with them during their show, we were more than happy to do it 🙂 It is rarely this kind of collaborations amount to anything more than a mess, but there is something wonderfully organic about the two bands joining forces, partly to do with the fact that our instrumentations don’t overlap too much. We love Cisalpipers!
After Italy, we headed to the Czech republic. It is no secret that Sliotar has a special place in our hearts for the Czech republic. This is where we have been coming for 13 years now, and in many ways it was the inspiration that lead to us tour independently around Europe. We love the food, we love the beer, (and I even love the sparkling water) and most of all we love the people 🙂
Our first show was at the Zach’s pub in Plzen. It is hard to describe this show as a pub gig, as on summertime the concerts are held outside on the courtyard, and the stage is bigger than some of the smaller festival stages we have played. Plzen did not let us down, the court yard was full, and we could not have asked for a better start to the Czech leg of our tour. The night was beautiful and the people gave us a warm welcome 🙂
From Plzen we drove down to Prague, the famous and beautiful Czech capital city. We played a show in the Vagon club with our good friends the Hakka Muggies. It was a sweaty mayhem, a night I will not forget for a long time! Once again the crowd fed us with their energy, and for nearly two hours together we shook the foundations of the wonderful Vagon club. Also since the very first time we heard the Hakka Muggies sound checking at the Keltska Noc festival many years back, we have been fans. There has been few lineup changes in the past year, and their always solid set this time was the tightest we have ever heard! Check them out.
On Thursday morning we left Prague behind and headed for Moravia. Let me just say that for the thirteen years we have been coming to the Czech republic, there has been road works on the Prague – Brno motorway. And still it does not seem to be getting much better. So if you are planning to make that drive, allow for some extra drive time.
Our first stop in Moravia was Kurim, where we have been going for almost every year since the beginning. In Kurim we play on a beautiful old school yard, and the tradition has been that it always rains in Kurim. This year, we were lucky, we had a starlight sky and no rain 🙂
After Kurim we headed to where it all started for us in the Czeck, the wonderful Keltska Noc festival. This has been a highlight of our schedule for many years, and even though we only play at the festival on Saturday night, we always stay for the whole festival. In fact we are trying to convince the organisers to expand the festivals 15th edition to three day festival 😉
On Friday night we enjoyed the music at the festival, wondered around the stalls and mingled with many friends we have made over the years. And when the official festival program of Friday night finished, the session continued well into the early hours of Saturday morning, when the sun was making its way up again over the skyline of Plumlov.
The Saturday morning festival program kicks off with a short session on the festival stage of several musicians from many bands who play at the festival. It is always a moment of disbelief when Tomas Somrs knocks on our cabin door in the morning and asks us to join in the session 😀 But all it took this year was a promise of coffee from the wonderful coffee stall they have at the festival to get us up on the stage 🙂
Finally Saturday night 10.10pm Sliotar took to the stage. What followed was a wonderful hour and twenty minutes, where once again the audience fuelled us with their energy and stuck by us even through the few rain showers. It is hard to put into words the love we feel from our audience at these shows. But as always, sooner than we would like, the show was over for another year.
Still the after party of the festival participants, who were not ready to give-up just yet, went well into the Sunday morning.
Our final show was in Telc, which truly is a magical place. If you have never been to Telc, put it into your bucket list right now! You will thank me later 😉 We have long history with Prazdniny v Telci as well, but we missed the festival last year, so it was even more special for us to be back playing in the beautiful castle. Also the wonderful Tradish from Denmark played amazing show before us, and with them the afterparty session in the bar on the main square continued to the early hours of Monday morning. It was hard to say good night as we knew this would be the end of the tour, and when we would wake up, it would be time to say good bye and head home. But that is the nature of our job 🙂
Let me just say big thank you to Tomas Somrs, Alan Fabbri, everybody at the Bundan Celtic Festival, Keltska Noc Festival, Cisalpipers, Milan and the whole family and everyone at the Prazdniny v Telci, the Hakka Muggies and everyone at the Vagon club, Karl and the staff at the Zach’s pub and all of the organisers at the Kurim celtic evening event. Big thank you to all of the sound crews we got to work with, you guys make us sound fantastic night after night!
But most of all, absolutely massive thank you to everyone of you who came to see us at the live shows, without you guys we simply could not do this. It is your faith in us and continued support in what we do that make us want to work even harder. Thank you! And don’t forget, Keep it Celtic 😉
J.P. Kallio from Sliotar