A big warm hello to all our Celtic and Celtic hearted friends from the Sliotar crew. We started to get a lot of questions about when and where we will be touring this year. To answer this, let me give you guys a bit of background.
Bit of a background
In the past few years, we really have struggled to even break even with our tours. The European Celtic music scene has been very kind to us, but there are few facts that we cannot ignore. Due to the fact that we live on a small island at the edge of Europe called Ireland, the cost of bringing us and the equipment to mainland Europe is expensive. Over the years we have tried all the possible routes and ways to bring this down. And even if we fly in and out, with budget Airlines it sounds like a cheap option. But even if you can buy the flights cheap, adding the instruments and all the luggage it takes to make the show happen, the price starts to creep up a lot.
Music as a vocation?
But surely music is supposed to be a vocation, and as long as you don’t lose money, you should do it? Well… Let me explain this a bit. We live in Dublin, and if you haven’t heard the news, Dublin is in the middle of a housing crisis. Just even to have a humble roof over your head is expensive. To pay the rent you need to work. We all have regular shows here in Dublin. And to leave the city, we need to cancel those shows. And if we cancel those shows, we obviously don’t get paid for it.
In the past few years, we have done tours where the cost of the tour has been higher than what we got paid for the shows. It is one thing to do shows just to cover the cost, but we simply cannot keep digging into deeper debt.
You encourage us to do more
At the same time, we have had an amazing year. Our new album Voyage has been doing fantastically well. We have got a lot of nice reviews and nominations for album of the year. It has also been doing great in Spotify This all has been really encouraging us to do more. Still, we need to be smart to sustain the business of Sliotar.
This year’s tours
Now on to what has been going on with this years tour planning. Between last September and November, we contacted well over 130 festivals with proposals. You see, for a tour to work, we will need the big shows first. It seems everyone assumes that Irish bars around Europe would be the best venues for us. But the fact is, most of them just simply don’t pay enough to even cover the fuel costs and accommodation… There are few good ones, usually run by musicians, who understand the economics of a touring band and they do their best to fit us on the quiet days and pay us an honest fee. But they are few and far between. What we need are bigger shows to build the tour around.
Just to go back to the earlier point, it does cost a lot of money to bring us over. Because of this we often cannot compete with some bands on mainland Europe who are twice the size of us, when it comes to gig fees. And we often see the festival organizers favouring bands with more members thinking the sound will be bigger and more suitable for a festival stage. Well, that is until they see Sliotar live 😉
Some good news
The organisers of Maxifolk had a chance to see us in action a few years back. And to our delight, they have invited to perform at their festival in September. This is our first show in Belgium for quite a few years now. You can read more about the show HERE.
The Czech Republic has been good to us for over fifteen years now. We are delighted to be back at the Keltska Noc once again. This really is a festival that has kept us going through the good and the bad times. We very much feel part of the family there.
And when we are in the Czech Republic, we always try to do as many other shows as possible as well. This year We will be returning to Zach’s Pub in Plzen and Vagon Klub in Prague. Both are venues we very much love playing in.
There have been some setbacks. Unfortunately the Celtic evening we have been playing at in Kurim for several years, is not happening this year. There has been a change within the organisation, and the new organisers have decided to skip it this year. We hope to return there in 2020, but this pretty much is out of our hands. We have a great relationship with Prazdniny V Telci and one of the reasons this festival is so great is their attention to detail in how the program flows. This year we just simply did not fit into the program of the first week, and for us to stay back without any shows in between would have been too expensive, so we mutually decided it was better for Sliotar to skip Telc this year. But be assured, we will be back in Telc 🙂 We also had a wonderful offer to play in Slovakia, but unfortunately, in the end, the finances just didn’t work out. We are really hoping we can make this happen in 2020.
On top of this we have been in negotiations with several festivals, but between the cost of travel and other programming issues, they just simply have not worked out. We still hope there will be some last minute additions to the summer festival season, but for now, Sliotar will do what we always do, ride the good with the bad and keep on going.
Thanks for being there for us, without you guys we simply could not do what we do. And we really hope to see as many of you guys as possible before the year is over.