We had an email go around recently from our fearless new production manager (you’d bloody have to be…), Wob Roberts. It had the subject line “More changes – No change there”. Now, that could come across as snidey moaning, but given Wob’s unflappable nature, it’s clearly just the knowing wink of someone who’s seen it all before.
The process of getting a tour together, much like any creative endeavour, is something that starts with a blank sheet of paper (or in the festivals’ case, an empty field). The change from the empty field to the huge event doesn’t happen in one big lightswitch-like flick. It happens over the course of an incredible number of planning meetings, decisions, experiments, triumphs and trashings.
The entire journey is a procession of changes – some tiny, some huge, but all whizzing past you and altering the landscape at an alarming rate. When you first experience this, it can feel very uncomfortable. There is almost nothing solid to build from, because nothing stays the same for very long.
It never really gets any easier, you just get better at ignoring the voice in your head that is constantly screaming “run away”.
None of this is to say it’s any less unsettling. When one job is reliant on another being finished so that you can get started being ready for a third, things can soon get quite interesting. When the deadline for the thing you’re waiting on shifts a few weeks back and the thing you need to be ready for gets shifted forwards – you’re left needing to finish the job two weeks before being in a position to even start it.
Anyway, nobody likes a moaner and in reality, besides the workload, I’m looking forward to escaping from the studio for a bit.
The fellas themselves are on great form. Perhaps it’s the weather, perhaps it’s the idea of escaping from the studio and going outdoors to make a massive noise again, who knows? I’ve just come up the stairs past the ‘art room’. This often acts as a meeting room and a place to listen back to work in progress. The door was firmly closed. I always assume there are serious discussions and furrowed brows when the door is closed, but as I pass, I hear Jonny make a comment and Phil explode in genuine and joyous laughter. Sounds like the vibe is very up.
The greatest thing for me about the festivals, is that they’re a very solid framework for what’s coming up. Everyone knows where they’ll be and what they’ll be doing for a good deal of the summer – and in an environment where constant change whips you like the wind, having absolute certainty about something (or the closest you get to it in this game) is a very good thing.
Hope it stays sunny…