Musicians have to be ‘out there’

Derek Allan.
Derek Allan.

Musician Derek Allan, who is one half of We Steal Flyers, continues his diary.

JULY 11

A busy day making sure players and venues remember the gigs coming up for Acoustic Magic nights.

We are taking on more nights and more players in the North East, and although this is great news, it also means we are endlessly working on getting and keeping almost 500 gigs alive every year.

Tonight I was at the monthly open mic night at Seaton Sluice. It looks and is a great place to be.

We found out that The Bluebell in Belford has offered to support mine and Ellie’s charity walk footprintsforothers by letting us stay and eat free on night one. How wonderful some people are.

JULY 12

We have to work quicker on school sports day so we can catch the action. Ellie and Rebecca love most sports and taking part. They like to win, but they are happy for others to win too, the key to a happy life.

JULY 13

Early work done and then to beautiful Warkworth to see the school cricket. It’s a great place to be and watch cricket.

We were then dropped off at Hauxley to put in some more walking hours. An hour through heavy rain and Ellie said “at least there is no wind” and I knew she was ok. Then the sun arrived and the sea of rainbows filled the day with upside down colourful smiles.

We made plans to decide what else we should take on.

JULY 14

The first day of a test match is one of my favourite days. It reminds me of so many days in the past. I like to remember the past, it got me here and will always help me.

I always read a little too, Ben Fogle’s book is brilliant. I love adventurers, so inspirational. This is where I would like to be, on adventures forever.

I had booked us into a 30-minute buskers set in Sunderland and it was awesome. Also the new We Steal Flyers mugs arrived.

JULY 15

After four months of preparing an all-dayer we got a text to cancel it, all 10 players. But every weekend we are asked to play or set up a night so turning down venues and last-minute cancellations is hard to fix.

There is little time to relax for Mel and I, but this is our life and there is a lot to love about it, being with Ellie and Rebecca and them working with us at home and at gigs is great. They love music.

Tonight I played The Smugglers in Sunderland. This is a brilliant venue and I have shared many great times there with great people like Steve Daggett and Paul Liddell. They are wonderful artists and need to be seen and heard. Another great gig and thank you to everyone there.

JULY 16

Being in the right place at the right time is a big part of this business and this is why I am always everywhere. If you want to be out there, you go out there.

I booked The Stables in Beamish and it was outdoors in the sun. Dave Race was there, full of smiles. He played on the Clear Blue Skies album titled I. Outdoor gigs are great when everything works out well, and it did. So many good people, and more new venues coming from it for next year.

Then we went to Billingham, another great venue and the people there love music. This makes a big difference. Two great gigs in one day and Melanie also had one with Acoustic Magic. The hours mean late home and early starts.

It takes a lot of drive, heart and focus to keep it all ticking along, but when the gigs go well it fills you full of all that is needed to set up more for the following year, always a year in advance.