Well folks, that is Mànran back on home soil for a two week break before we head back out for the second leg of our tour. Just enough time to shake off the jet lag to go back and do it all again.
Our first experience of touring America has been nothing short of amazing so far. Starting off in Milwaukee Irish Festival and meeting up with so many super groups of the Celtic/ Folk genre was a great treat and the fun we had with them all was unforgettable. The festival was run very professionally and we felt like ‘rockstars’ at the the best of times because the people working behind the scenes literally could not do enough for us. The audiences were very receptive every night which settled any per tour jitters we had for being virtually an unknown band prior to this festival.
After Milwaukee we ventured towards Chicago, where we spent a full day going around the city, soaking up what it had to offer, while a film crew from BBC Alba followed us as part of a documentary they are putting together. Highlight of the day was getting to go up to the Skydeck Ledge in the Willis tower, 108 stories up (1,353 feet). Basically, it is a glass box that hangs out at the top of the tower and gives you the impression that you are floating. A scary but tremendous experience and all of us in the band could not recommend it highly enough. Later that week, we played at the Erin Feis, Peroria Irish Festival. Again, we met a host of great bands, linking up again with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, who we had already met in Milwaukee. The atmosphere in tent was electrifying every night and there was no sign of it ending, even towards the end of the festival.
On our way to Albany during the last few days of this stint, we decided that we were too close to Niagara Falls not to stop in for a visit. We took in the Maid of the Mist boat tour and got seriously soaked on the ‘Hurricane deck’ at the Cave of Winds. After that we made it down to Albany for the Capital District Highland Games where we met some lovely people and yet another high octane audience, even though the weather almost blew the whole festival away on the Saturday night.
Now the band is looking forward to a few home gigs before the big journey back across the pond for round two of Mànran’s American adventure. Arizona, Nevada and California, we hope you are ready.