It’s been a tour of Universities in the last few weeks. In Toronto I did a gig and question time at the city’s University with students. Then drove down to the USA and played a show in Storres (apparently the safest place to be in N America if there is a natural disaster), the Connecticut folk festival (really enjoyed Amos Lee who I had never heard play before) and then got to play and talk at Yale. Returned to the UK last week for Pipefest, which was held at Lancaster University!
I wasn’t sure what to expect at Yale. It’s not an institution I could ever hope to gain access too in an academic sense. The ‘Masters Tea’ is an informal gathering of students at the residences of a Professor from the University. Meryl Streep, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Dr Ruth are amongst previous guests so that’s quite the cast to follow. The people I met there were very impressive in a number of regards. They were warm and welcoming, kind and very empathetic, though I I’m not sure why I expected anything different. I guess we all have our prejudices, which are of course largely built on fear, but we really should have more faith in each other. I spoke about the journey and sang and took questions. We all seemed to connect and it was a very good experience. I have no doubt that there were some folk present who will take their intellect and run with the great opportunities an establishment like Yale can give to them. They will be amongst the new ‘movers and shakers’ and hopefully the afternoon we spent together might play the smallest of parts in all that. Good, good people and it was an honour to be amongst them.
The second ever Pipefest last weekend was a great day. It really felt like the event had grown since last year, and Stewart Henderson played a huge role in defining the day. We had a lot of fun but tackled some serious stuff too and I particularly enjoyed the Q&A sessions. I want to keep the event ‘issue’ based, as that’s an extension of everything the music is about. I thought the balance was just right and though tired at the end I had a thoroughly good time. Thanks so much to everyone who made long journeys and thanks for all the fantastic feedback. We will definitely be planning a Pipefest number three!