After Kiwiburn - whose principles include 'radical self expression' and where casual nudity was the norm - I plunged myself straight in to an event which was the polar opposite: The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which was to perform in Wellington for the second time ever in February.
I had blithely signed up to be part of a group of Shetland fiddlers for the Tattoo at the Wellington Folk Festival in October 2015, thinking it would be a fun challenge, a little out of my normal habits of experimental, underground, and intimate performances. What followed was a baptism of fired: blindingly fast tunes; surrounded by extremely accomplished musicians for whom fiddling is their lifeblood; marching - yes, marching, through the ranks of bagpipers, no less; co-ordinated uniforms; and a venue with ten minutes' walk between dressing room and stage entrance.
Here's a clip of the finale taken by one punter to give you a sense of the scale:
And here's another video of the Lochiel Drill Marching team - the fiddlers were part of this section, playing a somewhat militarised rendition of the Lord of the Rings theme music.
Tens of thousands of people saw the show at the Westpac Stadium, and thousands of us performed in it.. And now I can officially say: I was part of a mass spectacle. Am I glad I did it? Yes, certainly, it was eye opening and was like a shot of steroids for my fiddle playing skills. Would I do it again? Probably not! But I met some great people and experienced a side of life that is a world away from my normal reality.
After the Tattoo, my next mission was the return of The Shadow Chateau to CubaDupa in March. But I'll save that for a new post - a video of the show will be ready soon and I can't wait to share it.