Updated: Apr 13
Ever wondered what it's like being a Celtic musician on St. Patrick's Day? It gets hectic even in the best of years, but 2022 was on another level. From winter weather to unexpected injuries, we had plenty of adventures this time around. Join us as we share some behind-the-scenes details of how we rushed around to five different gigs in a single weekend...
1. The Party is Back!
Picture it: Roanoke, March 2020. One week before the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and a full weekend of much-anticipated Celtic celebrations in the Valley. A mysterious virus sweeps across the globe, reaches our town…and shuts everything down. St. Patrick’s Day 2020, cancelled. St. Patirck’s Day 2021, cancelled.
But St. Patrick’s Day 2022? The party is ON! After two years on hiatus, we were overjoyed to finally celebrate our favorite holiday with the fine people of Roanoke and beyond. How excited were we, you ask? We ended up booking 3 gigs on Saturday the 12th, 2 gigs on Sunday the 13th, and 1 more on St. Patrick’s Day itself. Our weekend schedule was extremely busy, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way!
2. Julie could barely walk the day before the show
If you’ve attended any of our shows, you’ll know that Julie has a lot of energy—she bounces, she cavorts, she has a grinning good time. But those of you who attended our shows this year might have noticed that she was a little...immobile.
Why? The day before our most active day of the year, Julie woke up with intense back pain (something involving muscle spasms and pinched nerves). She couldn’t stand. She couldn’t walk. She especially couldn’t lift anything—kind of important when you have three gigs to play the next day, two of which involve lugging heavy sound equipment around! We were sincerely concerned that we’d have to cancel all of our performances (nooooooo!)
The story ends happily, however, because Julie woke up on Saturday still afflicted, but manageably so. Through a combination of medication, careful waddling, and lots of friends willing to pitch in and help move equipment (and run interference in jostle-y crowds), we managed to make it to all of our gigs and perform throughout the whole 9am-to-10pm day.
Josh especially gets a gold star for doing multiple sets of loading and unloading throughout the day. Thanks for taking care of me, Josh!
3. Unexpected Winter Weather
Have you ever looked forward to something for over two years, only to have it derailed by foul weather? This was the entire city of Roanoke during the week leading up to St. Patrick's Day weekend. After weeks of sunshine and pleasant, warm weather, we were all watching our weather apps as the forecast grew colder, windier, and snowier.
All sorts of things were up in the air. Would the Budweiser Clydesdales get to march in the parade? (Answer: yes.) Would the downtown festivities go on as planned? (Answer: Kind of. The parade and several restaurant-based parties went on as planned, but the Shamrock Festival got pushed back one week.) Would Julie wrench her back more than once slipping on ice? (Answer: Of course she did.)
The biggest change for us (other than loading/unloading our equipment during an early-morning snow shower...sorry, Josh) was all of our gigs getting moved inside. Which honestly suited us just fine. We enjoyed a view of the snow-covered mountains from the cozy confines of The Penthouse at Center in the Square. Later, we squeezed into Corned Beef & Co. for the annual Celtic Celebration, which is traditionally held outside. The tight quarters, brick walls, and ample drinks all lent themselves to the St. Patrick's Day spirit, so we really have no complaints. Shout out to the festival organizer, Brandon Davis, for filling in spaces in the lineup when acts based out of Blacksburg had to cancel due to snowy roads!
4. Some truly excellent audience moments
This one's no secret...because it involves all of you! From chants of "GFS!" at the inaugural rooftop party at The Penthouse at Center in the Square, to the most raucous "Rattlin' Bog" we've EVER experienced at Corned Beef & Co., to a house packed to the gills at Twin Creeks Brewing Co.
A peaceful morning at the Unitarian Unitarian Universalist Church of Roanoke, followed by an obscenely sunny afternoon at Fork in the Alley. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day itself at Clam Digger's eatery in Bedford, where we got to meet long-time fans who have been following us online but have never actually attended a live show.
These are the things that make St. Patrick's Day special, and we want to thank everyone who celebrated with us, both in-person and online.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit! Sláinte math!