A second post! We’ve made it! This lil episode features the highlights of my mini tour to Cairns a few months ago. The idea for this trip was actually that of my friend Jordan Brodie – a great fingerstyle guitarist who lives up in the city. He invited me to come up for a weekend and play some house concerts with him, so I figured why not! Especially as I also have some extended family living in Cairns, making it not only a music trip, but a family reconnection. And so, it starts with an airport:
Friday: House Concert
Upon arriving in Cairns, I was picked up by Jordan’s lovely mum, who took me to where I would be staying – my Great Auntie Paddy's house! She lives there with my "great cousin" (that is almost definitely not the right name for it) Sue, and I hadn't seen either of them in at least 10 years. Then, after a cup of tea and a long chat, it was time to go and help get everything set-up for the first house concert.
This was only my second time being involved in house concerts, the first being a few years ago when I played at a beautiful one with my friends The Mulberry Collective. So I was super excited. I love house gigs, they enhance this lovely community vibe that you can't always get in a venue, as well as generally working out better for artists financially. For those that are unaware, live music venues generally require the artist to pay a hire fee to put on a gig, which can range from $100-$300. So once that comes out of the ticket sales, you aren't looking at much leftover. But house concerts, they are free to put on and the audience doesn't pay any more than they normally would. All it takes is a little elbow grease (or a lot in the case of my house), and you've got yourself a free venue for the night. 10/10 would recommend. ANYWAY, back to the Cairns concert!
After setting everything up, people started arriving, and then more people, and then we had almost 50! It was darn lovely.
Saturday: Day Off
Saturday was a day off! Jordan was busy, so I decided to go on my own little adventure and I set off to the Cairns Sky Rail. The Sky Rail is basically a long gondala ride that takes you over the top of the range, and ends in a little town called Kuranda. The ride was absolutely beautiful, and included lovely little stop-off points where you could stretch and tour the rainforest.
Kuranda was so scenic, featuring an amazing marketplace that felt like a really cramped Woodford. With stallholders tucked into every nook and cranny selling all sorts of things, I explored for ages and had myself a delicious sandwich made by a questionably French man. On my way back down, I hopped off to gaze at the Barron Falls waterfall. I think it might have been a little 'barren' that day (hehehe), but it was still very beautiful.
That night we had dinner at KB's house (another of my "great cousins"), and I was filled to the brim with her amazing pasta and lots of red wine. That was a good day 😊
Sunday: House Concert 2
Our second concert was scheduled for the Sunday afternoon, so Jordan and I drove to the house early and set-up everything again. Due to poor weather, this concert didn’t get as many people as the first, which was a bit disappointing. But in usual house concert spirit, the audience that was there was truly lovely - exceptionally silent throughout both Jordan and my sets, and full of kind words afterwards. Special mention to Pam for hosting this concert, and all the work she did for it.
The concert finished, and after helping pack-down, Jordan dropped me back to Great Auntie Paddy's house where we had our last dinner together. Then Monday came, and it was time to come home! This trip was quite special for me. It was a chance to connect with family I hadn’t seen in many years/some I had never even met, and I was struck by their overwhelming generosity. From cooking me dinner, to offering me (copious) wine, to letting me borrow their car, to dropping me at the airport, thankyou! I was also completely inspired after performing to such caring audiences at both house concerts, I can't wait to eventually put on my own.
Keep an eye out 😊