Das Fagott Mannschaft went on its first road trip to Sudbury to perform at the Northern Lights Festival Boréal on July 5th! We had a spectacular time: we met amazing musicians, heard fabulous music, and made many new friends! The festival featured many Canadian musicians, artisans and small local businesses.
As artists, we felt spoiled all weekend, we were fed with delicious food provided by the Motley Kitchen. We were watered with beer provided by Stack Brewery. And we got to mingle with other artists and local music producers all weekend. The weekend was busy, busy, busy…but even busier for our good friend’s Geoff McCausland who is a partner of Motley Kitchen as well as brewing small test batches at Stack brewery PLUS he was also performing with his band Murder Murder, a Sudbury-based band that sing Murder ballads…
Our weekend seemed a bit less frantic when compared with his as we actually had time to enjoy some of the other bands. (Like Melbourne Ska Orchestra, we caught their high energy, foot tapping show, then we were lucky enough to hang out with them at the artist residence!)
Our performing weekend started out on the family stage’s instrument petting zoo, as we demonstrated the awesome power of the bassoon and contrabassoon beside some ethnic percussion instruments as well as a double bass played by festival Artistic Director Paul Loewenberg, owner of The Townehouse.
Later in the afternoon we got to got to jam with Sheesham & Lotus and friends on the workshop stage sponsored by the CBC. Our workshop was called “Breakdown in the Reeds” with a smattering of bassoons, fiddles, a double bass, a mandolin and some strange looking harmonicas and harmoniphoniums…you can bet it was quite a site to see…Even though us bassoons are not “jammers” and were mildly terrified at the thought…we tried our best and even played along for a couple of tunes…Which was quite fun. The workshop rounded off with a blue-grassy, reedy adaptation of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.
After the workshop we were off to the networking tent to meet fellow musicians and festival presenters. Then straight to our soundcheck…No rest for the weary, we had a bite got changed and were ready to go for our 8pm show time.
Kudos to our sound guys (yes, there were 2 of them…) for not even batting an eye when 3 bassoons, a contrabassoon and a percussionist walked on stage…I’m sure we were a strange sound to work with but they did an absolute killer job, and we were giddy with how great we sounded…though of course it wasn’t ALL the sound guys… 😉
Our set was lots of fun, we had an amazing and appreciative crowd…I especially loved the moment of reaction when the crowd clued into what un-announced 80s hit had just started. We had some dancers, some sing-alongers and lots of positive feedback from those who caught our show or heard about what they missed out on…Apparently with a name like Das Fagott Mannschaft you become the talk of the town!
Speaking of positive feedback, our most exciting message was relayed to us from festival organizer, Paul Loewenberg. As luck would have it, he was walking festival headliner, Bruce Cockburn to the mainstage for his set when our performance of “Wondering where the Bassoons Are (…I mean) Lions Are” drifted towards him over the festival grounds. Rumour has it he listened, realized what song it was and said to Paul, “Lovely!”
Other highlights of the weekend for us…We sold some merch!!! One T-Shirt was sold to a complete stranger (If it was one of our groupies we would have known!!!!) We also sold some buttons…The 3-pack is a big hit!
All said, we had a blast up in Sudbury for the 2014 Northern Lights Festival Boréal. Big thanks to Paul and Max for inviting us up to play, and for Clayton who first made Paul listen to the strange bassoon group that does pop covers… OK enough talking…more photos!