Saturday 31st October. We’re going to ‘celebrate’ Halloween in a church!
After the trek around the M25 we slip down the M20 to Ashford, Kent. The town lies on the Great Stour River at the edge of the North Downs and its name comes from the Old English æscet, indicating a ford near ash trees. This historic medieval market town has stood at the centre of five railway lines since the 19th century and, with its new passenger station and high speed links to London and the Channel Tunnel, is now an international communications hub.
Mentioned in the Doomsday Book, St Mary’s Church has been a local landmark since the 13th century and today functions as a centre for both worship and entertainment. It’s a stunning building and, despite the many alterations and additions in its thousand year history, many of its medieval features remain today. Inspired by the Union Chapel in Islington, London, and enhanced to stage live music, the church has, since 2011, featured performances from renowned folk, jazz, pop and classical artists. It is a truly unique setting.
We arrive mid-afternoon, backing in to the tight confines of Tufton Street to offload. Inside, the stage and lighting are beautifully sympathetic to the church’s medieval splendour. Backstage there’s tea, coffee, fruit, sandwiches and snacks. We set up, ably assisted by the delightful crew, with Matt Hay once again at the controls. After soundcheck its off out into the old town for a bite to eat.
The house is full, the lights are dimmed and we hit the stage to enthusiastic applause. Our third night in a row after almost a year away and we’re all more relaxed. The sound is great (thank you Matt) and after the fifteen song set we encore with ‘Feel It’, chat with fans, sign CD’s, pack up and load out before heading off into the starry October night.