Over the October long weekend, Ferg wasÂ part of the inaugural Beyond Festival in Canberra. Well, near Canberra. Far enough outside the city that there was no phone coverage (unexpected but not such a bad thing).
FergÂ was travelling as PA (and support act) for his mate Dazz who was speaking at the festival. Dazz talked about justice (and sex) and making the world a better place. And did some stand up comedy (really). Ferg sang some songs and told some stories. Much fun was had.
Saturday, 9 March 2014. WOMADelaide. It was very dark, the flash on Ferg’s phone camera is terrible and the poor guy was exhausted after performing for an hour and a half but Speech from Arrested Development was gracious, humble and thoroughly lovely and Ferg’s big goofy smile says it all! So ridiculously excited to meet one of his heroes and so delighted that he turned out to be such a great bloke.
Later that same week. Ferg’s Christmas present to @ashlyferg was VIP tickets to the launch of Kate Miller-Heidke‘s fantastic new, crowdfunded album, “O Vertigo”. The show was in the Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of the Adelaide Fringe. Of course, Ferg had to go along too. Because, fanboy, you know?
In May, Ferg flew to Melbourne for Clare Bowditch’s Big Hearted Business conference. It was a challenging and rewarding experience. One of the highlights was Missy Higgins‘ keynote speech — it was incredibly encouraging to hear her articulate and affirm the value of what we do as songwriters (and Ferg’s daughters were appropriately jealous that he got to meet Missy). The lovely random stranger who agreed to take a photo of Ferg with the equally lovely Missy Higgins captured the candid shot below while they chatted in the moment before posing for a more typical fan photo. There is a sweet irony in the RAGE apparently emanating from Ferg’s forehead since the mood was entirely cordial.
In July 2014, as mentioned elsewhere, Ferg had the opportunity to sing with the lovely Clare Bowditch at The Gov in Adelaide. Clare is a genuinely lovely human being and she was so warm and welcoming of Ferg’s hastily-thrown-together gospel quartet (featuring Ferg’s daughter Rachel Ferguson, his kinda-sorta daughter Lily Wicks and the inimitable Luke Thompson). The snapshot below was taken backstage after the show (thanks Lily). If you haven’t seen the video, you can find it on YouTube by searching for “One Little River Fergus Maximus Clare Bowditch”. Or, you know, click here. That works too.
Megan Washington‘s “There There” is Ferg’s favourite album of 2014. This shot was taken by @ashlyferg after Washo’s album-launch gig at Adelaide Uni Bar in August (Ferg hadn’t been there in 15 years but ended up returning a few weeks later to bid a bittersweet farewell to Bluejuice). Meg was feeling pretty ordinary that night but soldiered on and even hung around afterwards because she is a super trouper. The highlight was a solo version of Cement (with full audience participation, of course). She almost didn’t do it because she said it was a “terrible idea”. Best. Terrible. Idea. Ever.
On 25 October 2014, Ferg took part in Welcome To Australia‘s “Walk Together” event, playing congas in Rundle Park, Adelaide to help welcome the thousands of people marching to say we want to change the conversation surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. He had the chance to meet the charming Wally De Backer (aka Gotye) who had flown over to lend his voice to the cause. Technically, I guess you could say Ferg shared the stage with Gotye but they were on that stage at different times. The shot below illustrates beautifully why Ferg doesn’t usually post selfies.
You Am I rocked Memorial Drive after the opening of the redeveloped Adelaide Oval. In fact, they rocked so ferociously that the security guy achieved a momentary state of serene calm. (Spiderbait were on first and they were seriously great too).
Things of Stone and Wood re-formed to celebrate 25 years since the release of their debut album at The Gov (and as a special treat for the Adelaide crowd, Seven Stories also re-formed just for the night).
Ferg’s brother, the absurdly talented and even more hard-working Mark Simeon Ferguson, launched his new project, a 19-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra called Orquesta Mermelada, at Nexus.
And to top it all off, Ferg was treated to a masterclass in being a frontman by Mick Jagger, lead singer in some obscure little band you’ve probably never heard of (the tickets were Ferg’s Christmas/Birthday present from @ashlyferg). The Stones had originally been booked to play at the opening of the redeveloped Adelaide Oval in March but circumstances conspired against them and it was a nervous wait until October when they made good on the promise (since they are, collectively, about 250 years old). Well worth the wait.
To celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary in September 2014, Ferg and @ashlyferg flitted off to Sri Lanka to visit their friend Carolyn and her partner, bluesman Glen Terry. Glen and Carolyn run a wonderful resort on the West Coast of Sri Lanka called Udekki. So much fresh seafood, lazing by the pool, reading for pleasure (Ferg devoured 4 novels in a week!) and a wildlife adventure where they got to see a couple of wild leopards. And music, of course. Glen used to tour the world playing the blues. Now the world comes to him!
The shot above of Ferg jamming with Glen by the Udekki swimming pool was taken by the aforementioned, exceedingly talented Carolyn McKay. Nice work, Lyn.
Adelaide’s music fraternity was rocked in late May 2014 by the tragic, unexpected death of Mike Stewart. Mike was a saxophonist, big-band leader and jazz lecturer. Most importantly, though, he was a really excellent human being and he is sorely missed.
Joy commingled with sorrow as the Adelaide jazz community gathered at The Wheaty to say farewell to Mike. It was emotional and beautiful and heartbreaking and there was a tremendous sense of solidarity, of community. Mike was taken from us far too soon but his legacy lives on.
Apparently Kate Ceberano plays drums. Who knew? Ferg was at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with some friends to see Virginia Gay’s excellent show “Songs to Self-Destruct to” (her mash up of Mr Sandman with Enter Sandman was worth the price of admission). At the Piano Bar later we were surprised to find Ms Ceberano hiding behind the drum kit, guesting with an outfit called Oz Cocktails (“lounge versions of Australian classics”).
They had a variety of guest artists up to sing with them and then at one stage asked if anyone else wanted to come up and sing. Andrea and Dazz bullied Ferg into stepping up to the plate (cos he’s so terribly shy). The band didn’t have a chart for “Under The Milky Way” so Ferg sang “Message to My Girl”. So much fun.
And maybe Ferg got a big hug from Virginia Gay afterwards (or maybe she was just trying to get past him since she was next up on stage). We’ll never know.
Wow. Just wow. APRA’s Song Summit in Sydney was amazing, inspiring, encouraging and other “ing” words I can’t quite find at the moment (they’re probably in my luggage somewhere). Highly recommended and … yeah, wow again.