What is a Fyr Garden?
It’s essentially a fire and light show that includes different performers like fire dancers and musicians. They usually make a trail the public can walk through to see all the different displays. I generally don’t get to see all that is being displayed at the height of the show because I’m in my own little spot. However, I do walk around at the beginning and/or near the end. At one show I had sparks flying behind me when they had axle grinding there. It sounds dangerous (and I’m sure the risk assessment is huge) but actually everything is really controlled and everyone is really calm around the fire. Usually I perform my electric violin as it is easiest to wipe off all the paraffin from the smoke, however, one gig I had to perform acoustically in the Lincoln Arboretum so I brought Crauford Thomson along with me to help fill out the sound. We were far enough away that there wasn’t much smoke but we were colder since there wasn’t as much fire around us.
What is it like to perform for one?
It is a very unique experience as a musician, because although you’re outside and expect to feel cold because it’s winter and night-time, actually the fire keeps you warm as long as they keep the barrels near you lit. You just have to be careful about all the smoke. It’s important to be flexible and understand what type of music is suitable for the atmosphere and what is happening around you. Sometimes I do mostly folk stuff, sometimes I do a mix with covers depending on the event and where I’m placed.
What’s happening this year?
In October I performed in Spalding for a small fyr garden. We had a decent audience going for that one. The next one is in Gainsborough on the 26th of November.
Jamie Hawker has put a lot of effort into this project and I am glad to be a part of it. I know the crew have to work endless hours, especially when they have a very large show happening but I’m sure it’s all worth it in the end. Many people are excited to see them and I get asked quite often when the next one is.
Where can I find out more?
The official website is https://www.fyr-garden.co.uk/ and they also have a Facebook page. Do contact Jamie if you want to book an event.
Don’t forget to post any comments or questions in the comment section below!
I am an American British violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.