An impromptu couple of songs from your truly at the Schottenfest afterparty (pic: Alexander Galler)

THE alarm goes off at 6am. Jeez. We’re knackered!

After showers, coffee and packing the car we make our way to Edinburgh airport and check in for the first leg of our trip to Vienna – Edinburgh to Frankfurt – with Lufthansa. The woman at check-in says the flight’s busy, but we can take the guitars to the gate and if we go to priority boarding she’ll see if we can get them on board. 

Sure enough, at the gate we’re told to board ahead of everyone else and the crew put my guitars in the business class lockers. A similar thing happens at Frankfurt…we’re ushered through the gate ahead of everyone else and this time we’re given a seat for the guitars and a couple of ground crew come and tie them in. None of this is charged. We’ll see how the trip home fares, but at this rate Lufthansa have rocketed to the top of the customer care chart!

Not long after takeoff a lady comes and asks me something…I’m not quite sure what she says then she adds: “whisky in my blood” and beckons for autographs for her and her friend. Now there’s a first!

We’re met at Vienna airport by Ulf who drives us to our hotel – the Ruby Marie…but there’s a problem with check-in so we go straight to the venue and watch tonight’s Schottenfest line-up Karine Polwart and Mick Flannery and enjoy a few beers.

By the time the show’s finished, the hotel registration problem is sorted, so Ulf takes us back and we drop off the gear sort a couple of things out then he takes us to the after show where we eat and have a drink.

Our pal – festival organiser Shane – and some of the Vienna Songwriting Circle are providing the music and when Shane spots me I’m ushered to the stage. I manage to negotiate his guitar and (very) short strap and knock out a couple of tunes…a drum rand bass player joining me for Homesick & Blue 🙂

We hang out for another while and drink beer then wander back to the hotel. Knackered. It’s been a long – but good – day.

The guitars get a seat – and custom tie-down – on the Vienna to Frankfurt flight!

Karine Polwart opens for Mick Flannery at Schottenfest…

..then the man himself. Amazing!