16/60 Bluebell Roots

24 Dec 2023

17/12/23 Christmas Special in Arlington

We have written before about the wonder that is Bluebell Roots. For the Christmas Special we invited some of our regular floor spot performers to do longer sets and Philippa and Michael Vine served up an extra course for the meal.

The atmosphere was wonderful and all of the performers pulled out all of their stops entertaining the sell-out audience with some great Christmas originals, covers, sing alongs and more. Jade, our number one fan, wrote and read out an introduction for the evening then performed a gentle dance to our first number, Peacock Blue Dress.

There seemed to be less space than usual which was odd as we’d limited the numbers (40 including ‘staff’) and was slightly awkward as we had decided to bring along the electric piano this month! But with some nifty footwork by Jim and Neil, we managed to clear away the PA and cables so everyone could queue up to get their food in the interval. We could then set up the piano ready for the second half when we performed a brand new song that Paul Winter wrote collaborating with Jim at one of our songwriting sessions. Jim on piano, me on clarinet and Paul with stunning vocals. Jade then got up to play cajon with us in our guise as The Three J’s for Home Is Where The Heart Is. We then played two of the songs we wrote on our Devon songwriting retreat – Chiddingly Onion Pie Murder and Brixham Wives. Our final song was at the very end of the evening – When Ol’ Ned Sings Merry Christmas – a number that audiences with drinks in their hands can join in with by ‘dinging’ at the appropriate moments. We also had an amazing bit of backing vocals in true Elvis ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ style. ¬†Great fun.

It was noisy and busy, full of laughter and love, great food, great music and was the perfect final gig of the year. Our car had broken down on the way and Michael Vine had to come and rescue us, our instruments and the PA in the pick-up truck. The collection went towards paying for this PA as ours had gone ‘pop’.

Floor spots were by Paul Winter, Nigel Horn, Bill and Jenny, Jason and Lisa, Andy Melrose, Kathy And Mick (Two’s Company) and us with Paul Winter and Jade. Food was prepared on the spot and served by Philippa and Michael Vine mostly with their own produce from the farm. ¬†Neil Povey arrived a little late as he had been running a kids’ disco that afternoon but took over as MC for the rest of the evening and helped us to get packed up at the end.

We did remember to put out our merch and the audience book, sold one card and gave away 2 lyric sheets for previously bought CDs. We run out copies of a Bluebell Roots newsletter each month which included a sign up form for our mailing list and advertised our songwriting workshop

As we were travelling home in a borrowed tiny car we left some of the gear there to pick up in the morning . When we got home and unloaded we flopped down on the sofa ready to watch a little post-gig telly with a hot chocolate when suddenly the electricity went off – not the lights, not the heating, just all of the electric socket circuit! Jim rushed around with extension leads plugging in to one socket in the garage which was working so we could use the computer for work in the morning… then we crawled into bed. Not the best ending but a brilliant weekend!