'On September 9th 2017 i played San Diego Blues Festival'
I've repeated that line in my head so many times.
Because it was the very first blues festival i was booked to play, solo, in the US.
The spot i was given was under a tree on the grass verge, looking out over the water
where everyone lines up to collect their tickets before going through the gate into the festival.
Now, that may not sound like a big deal to some, (playing the gate area on floor level not even inside the festival gates), but for this English blues artist, AND blues fan, now living in the US ... ... IT WAS HUGE!
From far away in the UK i dreamed of going to this festival many times, let alone playing it.
Mavis Staples was the headline artist!
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats were on the bill!
The festival line-up was fantastic, as it has been for years.
Also this festival raises money for the local food bank.
Oh, and i was asked if i could come early to do an interview for KUSI NEWS TV channel.
Would i mind doing that?
Err, no i wouldn't mind, and YES of course i would love to do that, thank you very much!
Then it turned out we all got on like a house on fire so KUSI gave me two tv spots ... WOW!
You see, this is a dream come true for me.
I've always been a dreamer, and i've always liked to see if i could make dreams come true.
This dream went like this:
6am - Get up, do my morning routine, eat, check equipment, load the car, wash, dress.
11am - Drive LA to San Diego. Bit of rain but warm and sunny. Meet up with a friend, give her a harmonica lesson, hang out, eat, listen to her amazing old family recordings, and enlist her help for saturday,
7pm - Leave for hotel.
7:30 - Check in, unpack, set up clothes for the next day, check equipment, and bed early.
5:30am - Alarm call, breakfast, wash, dress, pack car, leave for festival site.
7:15am - Arrive at festival. Clouds still around but sun is waking up, its warm and the waterfront is beautiful. Meet Michael Kinsman who runs the festival, find my spot, make friends, drink black tea (I am English!) and start to feel nearly awake. Wait to do KUSI TV News interview.
9:30am - Shoot TV interview.
9:45am - Start setting up.
10:30am - Play for about 90 minutes to the lovely appreciative blues fans waiting to get their tickets, and get filmed by KUSI again while playing live.
12:15pm - Pack up, say good bye and thank you, head back to LA, unpack, wash, dress, repack, go to LAX to fly to Washington State for ... my second festival of the weekend!
The whole experience was wonderful.
Like most days as a gigging musician it was busy, intense, anxiety inducing, emotional, tiring, and many other things - but wonderful.
I would like to thank Gina McClain, Janiva Magness, Michael Kinsman, Larry Teves, KUSI NEWS, Dave Scott, Deanna Polk, all the onsite staff, and everyone in the ticket line who enjoyed TJ & THE SUITCASE.
It was a pleasure and an honor to work with you all, see so many happy faces, and make new friends.
Now i really feel like i've begun my musical mission here in the USA, to play to anyone, anywhere, who wants to see and hear TJ & THE SUITCASE.
And i'll never forget ...
On September 9th 2017 i played San Diego Blues Festival'
(Next Blog Post - Sunbanks Festival)