Highlight of the year at Kielder

Derek Allan and his family at Kielder Winter Wonderland
Derek Allan and his family at Kielder Winter Wonderland
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Northumberland musician Derek Allan continues his weekly diary.

December 6

Our first year back at The Trap was a good one. No longer weekly, it has worked well monthly.

It was a Christmas special tonight, and Emma Garbutt won the £100 prize draw. You need to play once next year if you want to be in the draw.

There was then a Christmas teddy raffle – two winners in one night. Alan Cook, from Seaham, won this.

Another good night and year, and another year booked up.

December 7

The Saltburn By The Sea gig was in an amazing building, fit for Dracula himself. It was great last year.

We set up in the cold cellar, which I loved being in, and waited for other people to join us.

Sadly, right at the end someone plugged a heater into our power and blew up the extension for us to be £20 down.

It was a good enough night, but when there are no sales it is not so great as I love to sell even a badge.

December 8

Our driver from earlier in the year, Chris, had a night off from his new work so he was our driver again. Great stuff.

Shaggy had a party of drinks and the night in Belford was a good one.

It was the Golf Club Christmas gig. We tried out a few extra Christmas songs and played an additional 30 minutes.

It was nice to share the night with these people.

December 9

Melanie, Ellie and Rebecca went to Toys R Us after dropping me to play a great night in Chester le Street.

It is always a safe gig and there’s plenty of interest in our music, both live and on disc. It is all going well.

In January another gig has cancelled so we will add another day of recording instead.

December 10

For the sixth year in a row we had a amazing day in Winter Wonderland at Kielder.

We love being there. It really is an amazing experience. We were surrounded by maybe cold, but happy people. All the people working there know me now and it is good to speak with them all.

Making people happy, especially in the colder months, is the greatest job.

December 11

A lot of things that happen in December are Christmas specials, but very few turn out to be this way and they are just music nights with a few decorations.

I always wish people could join in properly for December and we can share the happiness of this month before winter comes.

I am lucky, I know a few people to share the magic with for a lot longer than a few days.

Monday Magic at Dinnington was a really empty, but nice night. Sam Gibson played well as usual. Curtis Curry, Gary Spalding and Dave Cowan played too. They are great people to be around any month of the year.

December 12

I never stop looking for gigs and when three come in at once it is always a great feeling, all for We Steal Flyers.

Two new ones came in for Acoustic Magic for Melanie and her team. And another two came in for Sam Gibson, Melanie got these two. A nice day for bookings.

Plus there were more than 800 plays of my Christmas song on Spotify.

December 13

It has been five weeks now of this cold/flu thing. It’s ok dealing with a cold if it leaves in a few days, but for week it is so draining.

I ran through my solo set again. It’s all in my head now and no mistakes. It is not so easy writing a whole 30-minute set and learning it.