Life can be ironic at times. At the thought of moving back to Flin Flon in the past I would have scoffed. ”When PiGS FLY!” Pigs have indeed flown & I have been back for over a month now. What’s even more ironic somehow is that within a short time after my return, I was being invited to perform in the community. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.
Back in Ottawa I had spent the past couple of years performing live every so often (Club Saw Gallery, Elmdale House Tavern, The Rainbow, Mercury Lounge, Backyards of Chinatown to name some), be it doing my solo folk stuff, or within DANNiEL OiCKLE’S song cycle ‘CORRUPTiON of FLESH‘, alongside him & fellow fawn OLEXANDRA PRUCHNiCKY. I had a lot of fun in these experiences but to get these gigs you had to a) seek out venues, and b) do a lot in terms of promoting it & ensuring you even had a crowd. I’m definitely interested in performing in front of a audience but I will say being a professional musician is not a cake-walk & I also contend with some mild stage fright. What I enjoy more than being ‘on’ in front of people is the opportunity to simply ‘play’ with other musicians & play my kind of music. I just love to sing.
You could imagine my surprise when I got a phone call in my first week back here in Manitoba, from an old friend (we’re talking elementary school old friend) who now lives in Saskatoon where he manages a bar called The Fez on Broadway. Turns out he & some of his buddies were looking to bring some musical/community fun & spirit up north here. The idea was to invite a variety of musical acts from all over, for a 3 day outdoor music fest (on a beautiful vast acreage) - & they were calling it ‘FLONSTOCK‘. I said yes right away – I mean it had been years since I really spoke with this friend but had to ask myself how often I would be asked to do something like this. Plus – it seemed a great opportunity to re-introduce myself to the Flin Flon community in a way. And like I said, in Ottawa I had been accustomed to doing a lot that prep work for my own shows myself – here all I had to do was be prepared and show up! Right on!
I called up my local musical friends DOUG & ANN, two seasoned musicians are used to playing here & there in town – I wanted to see if they would be interested in making my solo thing a TRiO of sorts. Like I said – I had made a sort of personal goal to play with other musicians as its not something I am familiar with yet I wanted to also up my showmanship. DOUG & ANN are the perfect pair & my kind of people so I was really happy they said yes & before I knew it I was over at their place a couple of times in the two weeks leading up to the 3 day fest, jamming & working on our set list. In the end I think we had prepared enough to offer the crowd a loose, acoustic set.
August 17th came round & when we played for the small crowd of just under 100 people in total it was surreal. Keep in mind I left Flin Flon in 1997 after I graduated (I know I am dating myself) & other than the annual visit home for Christmas or summer I had never really been out & about like this – so it was a real homecoming in a lot of ways. I really have no idea what the crowd thought after we wrapped up our set, but I will always remember the three of us sitting up there on that stage, the back drop being this wide open field & sky of pinky-purple-yellow as the sun went down…. the mosquitos were swarming around our faces like mad, yet I kept thinking ‘This is it – I’ll remember this forever…I’m here…& for better or for worse I am gonna try to do my best.” I am so grateful I had DOUG & ANN to be by my side; and for LEMi & all the people who put the event on. After our set I could relax & kick back for the night & enjoy the rock acts that came after us – I am so happy with the pics I got that night. We were more folky/blues/country but there were some fine rock bands from Saskatoon, Flin Flon, and even a solo guy on guitar all the way from Edmonton who kicked off the night. I’ll never forget it. Period.
Check out selected pics from that night – starting with a few from our preliminary rehearsals at DOUG & ANN’s.