Hathersage Gala 2022

I got a call early in June from Toria, the organiser of the Hathersage gala. Having decided to push the boat out this year and pay to have a couple of bands play on the final night of the gala, they’d been let down by one of them with 6 weeks to go. I rang around the band members but unfortunately, our drummer had just accepted another gig.

GA LA, GA LA, GALA!As it happened I was able to call upon the services of James, who is depping for us on a 50th birthday party in August. After some persuasion that we could get his knowledge of the songs polished before the 9th of July with a few rehearsals, he agreed. Nothing like a bit of pressure to focus the mind. I called Toria back and told her we were in.


I can understand James’ hesitancy. It’s been five years since he played infront of an audience, in a band called Greta Nova with our frontman Ben. He’d considered his drumming days over and with his kit in a state of disrepair, having had a ceiling collapse on it, that might well have been true before this opportunity hoved into view. We looked at a few options for sourcing a kit. One was using his electric kit, but these always sound a bit synthetic. Borrowing might have been an option but drummers are a bit funny about other people clubbing their junk. There was also the option of renting, but in the end James took the plunge and spent a wedge getting his kit refurbished.

The plan came together surprisingly well. Over the following weeks we had three rehearsals with James while his kit went off to be cleaned up and reskinned. James did lots of homework and with every rehearsal the setlist got tighter. At the final rehearsal James told us his kit was back and seeing it restored to its former glory had brought a tear to his eye.

This was all going far too well, surely someone was going to break a finger or catch covid?

Nope; all of us arrived, fit and well (aside from some understandable “first night” nerves from James), in the allotted field at the correct time on a sunny July evening with cars full of gear. We were the support act for this event, Burnt Stones being headliners. We got out of their way and spent some time marvelling at the shear amount of gear they’d brought. A formidable rig if every I saw one.


Once they had setup and soundchecked we were able to setup our gear around theirs and do a brief soundcheck before diving in with Song 2. The tent wasn’t empty for long. Ben made good use of his wireless mic to roam the empty dance floor, encouraging the sun drunk and languorous to indulge in some frivolity. It wasn’t long before he had some takers.

The TikTokers in the corner seemed to be having fun running through their routines as we wound up set one with Dakota by Stereophonics and took a quick break. The beer and getting set one under his belt settled James’ jitters as we readied ourselves for set two. We were back on by 8:45, conscious that we needed to make way for Burnt Stones at 9:30. The second set always goes down a storm and by the time we were ready to hand over to the headliners the crowd were well warmed up.

Crushed it!

We finished with Seven Nation Army and spent a frantic 15 minutes disassembling and removing our grear to make way for Burnt Stones. Toria found us and bought us all a drink and said how pleased she was with how we’d gone down with the crowd. Five weeks earlier we had a sceptical drummer without a kit and a lot of work to do yet here we were, sipping beers in the sunshine having crushed it.

Beautiful weather, beautiful people, another great gig in the bag.