TWH – Summer means many things, solstice, Midsummer, Litha and Lammas observances for some, but it also means festivals for the larger Pagan community and touring for some of our favorite bands. One of the hottest summers on record in the United States and around the world is making for some wilting weather.
“If I were to be honest, this has been a pretty rough year,” Sharon Knight said. She and Winter have been having a more challenging time than in previous years, feeling the pinch at home in Oakland where they’re getting priced out of the rental market. They’ve unofficially dubbed this the “fly by the seat of our pants tour” because of the difficulty they’ve had, among other things, filling all their tour dates.“I think people are feeling really uncertain about the fate of America, and how safe they will be, and that tends to make folks want to hold onto their money,” she said.
In spite of the challenges, “people really do come through for one another when times are hard, and we have been reminded of this numerous times throughout this tour.”
Knight said what helps make them feel rooted is the music itself, and that they always find shelter in their songs.
Sirius Rising festival has done a lot to lift spirits about which Knight said, “getting to spend time with sister musicians Ginger Doss and Lynda Millard and their giant open hearts is just awesome!”
Similarly, the Tennesse-based band Tuatha Dea has been having an “epic” tour season that actually kicked off in February. Their first show was in Florida, during which they hit a little bump with some noise complaints at a house concert and a visit by police.
“It’s not uncommon for us and we understand when this happens. We know we’re loud,” bassist Tesea Dawson said with a laugh.
Among the highlights she mentioned getting to play with SJ Tucker in St. Louis and at Heartland Music Fest with Ginger Doss and Lynda Millard.
Dawson’s favorite anecdote so far has been the band’s return to Canada, she said. After four years they returned to play at the Pagan Fest in Barrie, Ontario where the band was greeted “with open arms.”
“A lot of times it’s not so much the event or venue but the little things that happen that stick with me,” she said.
Exhausted from the long trip, Dawson described getting to the festival in time to watch Sharon Knight and Winter perform but skipping the drum circle later in the evening.
“We all went back to the camper and put on our pj’s and made cookie butter and jelly sandwiches. The whole group sat up until about 2 am together and just spent time together. I laughed so much that night that my sides hurt.”
This is so special to me,” Dawson explained, “because as you know we are family but it’s a rare occasion you can find all of us in one place at the same time. So when we find those moments like that on the road those are the most prominent memories for me.”
In the midst of their touring Tuatha Dea also managed to put out a new album, Kilts and Corsets in early June. Of the reception to the album she said, “we are just so thankful and gracious that the community has embraced it like they have. We put our heart and souls into this one and the love shown back to us has just been overwhelming.”
From North America out to the wider world, Wendy Rule took time to write on a fiddly iPad while she was on her way to The Netherlands to say that she had just wrapped up Summerland Spirit Festival in Wisconsin before playing at Treadwell Books in London just a few days later.
That event kicked off a short European tour where she will venture through The Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, and Germany before returning to the US for Hexfest in New Orleans in mid-August.“So far, lots of fun, great people, and a wonderful ten days camping in Nature,” Rule said.
The Moon and the Nightspirit‘s bassist, Gergely Cseh responded that after their latest album Metanoia was released in March they did a tour through Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia.
As for the summer, Cseh said they performed at Yggdrasil Festival in Italy and Hörnerfest in Germany.
“We were supposed to play in Ragnard Rock festival in France this weekend but unfortunately the whole festival was cancelled,” Cseh said.
Up next they’re going to be playing Prophecy Festival, which is held inside of a large natural cave in Germany. Cseh said he was looking forward to this one because they’ll be playing with friend Jasen Lazarov from the Bulgarian band, Irfan.
“This show will be a special one for us,” he said.
The Moon and the Nightspirit will round out their festival season at Festival-Mediaval in Germany in September.
Down in the southern reaches of Australia, it’s just past midwinter and much-loved performers Spiral Dance are gearing up to head toward northern latitudes. In September they’ll be starting their seventh international tour timed to coincide with the release of their new album, Land and Legend.
Adrienne Piggott, lead singer and lyricist, said that they love Australia but visiting other places feeds their inspiration and their souls.
“Whenever we go back to the UK we feel we are coming home, we have two band members who were born in the UK and Adrienne is first generation Australian from Irish/English parents, so it’s like we get to take the songs ‘home’ if you like, and honor our ancestors of that land from where the inspiration for so many of our songs come from,” Piggott said.
On the docket during the UK leg— five gigs with Damh the Bard— and another visit to the Glastonbury Assembly Rooms birthplace of the Glastonbury Festival which began in 1915.
After three weeks, they’ll move on to Georgia, to perform at Caldera Fest before they dip down to Florida to play at Phoenix Phyre, where they’ll be playing with Tuatha Dea and sitarist Rick de Yampert.
“We were very honored to be part of the Green Album that was released there last year to raise money and awareness for the Rainforest Trust,” Piggot said.
“So getting to meet a lot of the artists that were also a part of that album will be awesome and of course the fabulous folk from Tuatha Dea who were the instigators of the album and worked so hard to make it happen.”