The following day dawned crisp and cold with beautiful sunshine. Steph managed to join us for our Sunday Carvery at the local pub. We then managed a bit of a rehearsal and a nice relax, before Steph borrowed Tracy's car to pick up some friends from Uni. We wondered onto the campsite a bit earlier than usual. Already it was getting busy. Martha was already there with the girls. The pack was there too, but they kept their distance.
Jason was with a tall blonde girl and he visited us, ostensibly to work out who was going to perform 1st, but really to show off this beautiful girl on his arm. Tracy had suggested that he might do something like this to get me jealous. I did not have a good enough handle on the social cues to work out if that was what this was. Regardless, I was chuckling inside as I was more attracted to her than him.
He was going to be singing his own songs again and she was going to sing the one he had shown me earlier. Since we had dancers organised, we thought it would be better if he went first. I think he wanted a different response, but I had no idea what it was, and he couldn't provide a decent reason to go with a different order.
When we went to say hello to Martha and the girls, she presented us both with luminous bracelets made from loom bands. These were to distinguish locals from non locals. That way we didn't have to pay for the food or drinks. They had also roped off an area near the stage area for us as well.
Maria and her friends turned up early as well and started setting everything up. There were 3 microphones on adjustable stands and speakers setup either side of the stage. They also set up some lights. One of the criticisms with the youtube video was that the image was too dark. Not really surprising considering the only lighting was the campfire and torches. They apologised, would you believe it, because they could only bring equipment that would run off the available electrical supply, which was 2 generators. They did have a sizeable video camera that they set up in front. They pulled me forwards to test it out for them. I guess I am getting more comfortable in front of crowds, I didn't even have to close my eyes.
More and more people were arriving. We went up to eat as soon as possible to try and avoid the crowd. Even then, we had to wait awhile. Martha had done an amazing job, but until you actually run something like this, there are always going to be things that you miss. And if you are only guessing on the numbers, everything becomes more difficult. We were used to having 30 people at the campfire. 40 would have been a really busy one. I would guess there were over 200 people and more were arriving.
The car park was overrun and people were parking all over the place. The 2 toilets that had been hired was never going to be enough. There weren't enough volunteers who were selling the food. The food stocks went quickly and pizza had to be ordered. They had to request it be delivered by motorbike so that they could get in the car park.
I will say this for the houseboaters, they pulled together fantastically. Tracy, Steph, some of her friends from Uni and I helped with the food distribution and money taking. Some houseboat owners would lead small groups of people from the queues to the toilets, back to their boats.
After a mad rush, everything started to settle. Less people were interested in food and drink, and the queues to the toilets became more manageable. Would you believe it, as I was still serving food a small crew from the BBC set up to record. I overheard them telling someone that it may never be aired, it just depended on a slow news day. We managed to escape the food station as Jason was setting up with Ashley. I enjoyed his performance, he sang only his own songs, and although his voice was not the best, I felt his lyrics and melody were good. Ashley had a better voice and sang Young Love beautifully. I applauded as did most of us locals, the rest gave a polite clap, but hadn't really stopped talking amongst themselves.
Then it was our turn. As we started setting up the crowd started quietening. I guess, after having watched the youtube video, this is what they came for. Now that I was here, I was starting to become nervous. I had been so busy up to this point, my nerves hadn't had a chance to catch up to me. So I sat down and closed my eyes. I could sense someone move the microphone down to my height and I heard Tracy call out for Amy. Mainly though I was just trying to find my zone. I took some deep breaths and even before Tracy and Steph started, I was ready.
They started with the longer intro we had discussed to use, if they thought I needed extra time. I didn't, but they didn't know that. In my mind I sang Songbird to my father. This time I imagined Amy dancing in the background. My tears started flowing. I'm not sure I will ever be able to sing that song without them. As we came to the end I opened my eyes. In front of me Amy was lying on the ground in her final pose. After a brief pause and before we could start our next song there was really loud cheering. Amy looked up. Our eyes met and we both grinned hugely. This was life.
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