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Saturday, April 12th 2014 - Cabaret @ The Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

A brilliant night at the Red Lion!  There was bingo on when we went to set up, and I must admit to giving a wee groan, but it worked!  They stayed!  They danced and sang along!  They applauded!  I was a happy Joanie, and gave them the best I could.  That’s how you fill a hall!

Tuesday 23rd July 2013 - Red Lion Caravan Park. Arbroath

The Glasgow fair fortnight can bring a bit of extra money in for us entertainers, as we can work midweek as well as at the weekend.  some entertainers do this job full time, and work all week every week.  I choose to work at the weekend for the most part, but jump at the chance of a midweek when they are available.

The family room in the Red Lion is a large room, separated from the bar by a wall of windows, and full of families with kids.  I get on really well with kids - I used to be one you know, and have a daughter of my own - so that's not a problem.  but it can be difficult to choose what to sing for a midweek gig with a fair few kids dancing about.  You really have to turn a gig on its head, doing all of your modern,. fast, dancy material at the beginning of the night as they will tend to go home to their caravans around 11pm.

This was a good enough night, but it got really quiet at the end.  No complaints from me though, as the wee drop of people left in the room were really nice and I had a good bit of blethering...suits me!

Saturday 13th April 2013 - The Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

You never can tell what it'll be like at a caravan park.  Last time I was here it was really quiet, with only a couple of tables of people in the family room where I set up.  This time there had been a kiddies birthday party on and some of the families decided to hang around for a wee while to see what I was like.  They were all really appreciative, and the kids were so well behaved, that I played a couple of the kids' requests for them before I started. 

I met a lovely lady from Kirkcaldy called Pamela, and we had a right old natter about where we live!  I also met a lovely guy (sorry I didn't catch his name) who plays jazz accordion amongst other things.  he was very interested in Dave (our LD Maui 28 system) and went off with Al to have a look at it and discuss its merits.  Men and their tech, eh?

As expected, most of the kids were absolutely shattered by 10.30, and the room got emptier and emptier until there was just my friend the accordionist and his family left.  So I took requests, and fair enjoyed myself right up til the end of the night.

Tuesday 17th July 2012 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

This was the first gig I have ever done alone.  Al has started a new job which means he is not always going to be available to come along to gigs with me.  It was a bit strange doing all the driving, setting up and the gig itself on my own, and I have to admit I missed him being there, particularly during my breaks.

We were still using the Mackie SRM450s at that point, and this was only my second time doing the entire set up on my own.  After winding myself up a bit during the days leading up to the gig I told myself to just get on with it and "man up".

Kat, the manager of the Red Lion Caravan Park, was very welcoming, and let me know I wouldn't be alone at the Red lion, which was nice of her. 

Set up went well, the gig went well, and I did a wee bit of disco for some of the kids that were still up and at em at 11.50pm.  The pack up was nice and quick, and half a bag of haribos saw me home safe and sound, despite the weather.

Seems my reviews will now contain a bit about the journey now, which I think may be helpful to those other acts that come across my site and look for info on a venue. 

The road from Fife to Arbroath is an easy one, and even I didn't need sat nav.  And I barely know which way is up half the time!

Friday 1st June 2012 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Well my previous reviews have mentioned how quiet it is up here at the Red Lion, but I couldn't have been more wrong!  It's very much a case of "New broom sweeps clean" here, with the new manager, Kat Hamilton.

I arrived to find a room full of people, and a warm welcome from Kat, who told me I'd be visited by a photographer! It appears that there will be a Facebook Page for the venue, and it will be updated with photos and information!  Excellent to hear someone so forward thinking. 

The Family room stayed busy until around 11, when a lot of the kids were looking tired, despite their fill of fizy juice and snacks.  That's fair enough, as we know what it's like to have a tired kid on our hands!

I was left with a small group of nice people, with whom I had a good chat and a laugh.

What a difference...

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Friday 30th March 2012 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

What can I say that hasn't been said before?  It was quiet up in the family room, with a few families dotting in and out, their very cute wee girls dancing round and round where my lights were spinning.

I met Craig, a fellow singer, who was up for a gig the following day and owned a caravan on site.  It's nice to meet other singers and entertainers in our business, as we are often like ship that pass in the night - I'm sure many of us pass each other along the A92 of an evening.  Maybe we should set up a club..?

I was left at 11.30 playing to an empty room, with three young teenagers coming in and out, requesting Ed Sheeran and generally taking the mickey a bit.  But Hey ho, that's how it goes.  One of them was touching our equipment, for which Al told him off.  That's kids for you!

It's a shame this lovely caravan park doesn't get many people out to the family room on a Friday night. I suppose they need to have something on un case people do want to come out, but it leaves us poor entertainers playing to empty or nearly empty rooms. 

Friday 16th September 2011 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Yet another end of season caravan park gig.  It can be hard to keep the energy levels up when you're playing to half a dozen people.  This was certainly the case tonight, and I must admit to struggling a bit.  The weather was atrocious too, so I can't really blame the campers for staying in their caravans.

Al keeps me going though, and there were quite a few people sitting through in the bar area, watching me in my goldfish bowl...

Friday 8th July 2011 - The Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Upstairs at the Red Lion can be hit or miss - in fact I've performed to just a few people on some occasions!  This time there was no entertainment in the downstairs bar, so I had a captive audience.  Braw.  There were quite a few families in on the night, and a LOT of cute kids.  Makes me miss my wee girl when I see other people's kids at gigs.  But I'm sure she'd fall asleep by the middle of my performance, so maybe another couple of years, eh?

I did a good mix of music all night, and hope I pleased everyone at some point.  They applauded, and I had a bit of a chat between songs.

I had an unexpected request near the end of the night - I was asked for some asian music, specifically a bit of Bollywood.  I have no experience AT ALL with asian music, so if anyone out there wants to help me out there, please get in touch with your suggestions.

Saturday 30th April 2011 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath 

The Red Lion is sometimes busy, sometimes quiet. If you are upstairs you have the family audience, and if you are downstairs you have the adult crowd.  Tonight I was downstairs, and arrived a bit early so Al could take me through the set up of our equipment.  I can hardly believe we've been doing the job 9 years and I have only just got round to learning to put the equipment together.  I'm a lucky woman, having Al to do all the carrying and setting up for me.  I'll keep learning to do it myself though, as you never know what might happen - if Al's ill, or has to work I'd have to go out myself.  Many singers I know do the whole lot themselves week in, week out, and I have nothing but admiration for them.  It's tiring enough doing the singing without having to set up and pack away everything.

Anyway....I had a lively crowd in for most of the night.  I say lively as the group of folk in their 20s and 30s were obviously out to have a good time.  I did, however, have to tell them on numerous occasions that "No, it's not a Karaoke" and "No, you are not allowed to sing". I believe I have mentioned a similar gripe in my Wartz n All section, so I'll put that to one side for the moment. 

I often find that some people are not happy with my getting all the attention, and they find it necessary to dance about right in front of me, singing into their bottle of beer/hairbrush/empty fist.  On this occasion, however, we had a live one.  I think this particular lady must be a dancer, as she certainly could strut her stuff.  Unfortunately, she decided to do it in front of me, doing a somersault and landing in the splits.  Very impressive.  But the main bar in the Red Lion is not the Gymnastic arena, or the venue for one of the many "talent shows" on TV.  I think she hurt herself, as she was heard to comment on the fact that it's best to warm up before doing any moves. Wise words indeed.

Let's see what the next gig at the Red Lion brings.....


Saturday 23rd October 2010 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Well what can I say.  The end of the season, and the weekend after the close of season dance.  The residents has insisted that there be some form of entertainment on for them, but where were they?  I had a lovely family in - all 4 of them.  Don't get me wrong - they were lovely and Al and I had a good laugh and a bit of a blether in between sets (were no shy), but I had expected maybe double figures.

There was a party going on downstairs in the main bar, but it was private, so I guess there wouldn't be many residents there. It was a cold October weekend in the middle of their school holidays, so I guess that didn't help either.

I must say a big HI! to Craig, the young lad of the family, who I loved talking to.  Oh he's 9 by the way...


Friday 17th September 2010 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Last time I appeared at the Red Lion, I was downstairs, while the vast majority of people were upstairs watching another act.  I thought maybe things would be different upstairs.  When I arrived there was a private function downstairs, which made me think the upstairs lounge would be full.  Erm... no.  There were a good few people milling around the bar area, but only a few residents in for a meal in the lounge when we arrived.  They were very nice people, don't get me wrong, but half a dozen people doth not a busy night make. After finishing their meal, they stayed on to listen to me, for which I was very grateful.  Unfortunately the bigger group contained a few young children, who got tired around 10pm.  I sang their request of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" before they had to go.

The remaining few punters stuck around for the rest of the night, and were very appreciative, so I'd like to thank them for staying.  Cheers guys.

Friday 30th July 2010 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Well another strange night in the Red Lion Park.  I am told that the locals have told the management that they want the downstairs bar to be open with entertainment available, but I'm wondering where they are?!

I had a grand total of 10 people in and out all evening, and while they were lovely people and were very appreciative, I could have done with a few more.  It didn't help that they had the amazing Linton Osborne upstairs, doing his Elvis tribute and a good mixture of swing, pop and rock material.  I went up during my break to find a packed house upstairs, full of people with their kids who aren't allowed in the downstairs lounge.

I had one very nice group left at midnight, who were obviously enjoying what they were hearing, so I must say thanks to them for keeping me company. 

Oh and a big HI! to Craig behind the bar, who tells me that most acts in the downstairs bar have a quiet night.

Saturday 1st May 2010 - The Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Erm... hello?  Is there anybody there? I was beginning to think I was on my own at this gig, as I'm sure I saw a room full of people but they made no sound. I tried every genre of material I could, but to no effect. 

Last time i was here was the Red Lion's Christmas Party, and it was a bit quiet to start with, but picked up later, and turned out to be a great night.

It was a haaaard night, and I have no idea why.  Maybe someone who was there can send me an email or post a comment and then I'll know for next time. I had one comment, however - that "Sinatra's Job is Safe anyway".  Well take from that what you will.....

Saturday 12th December 2009 - Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

Christmas parties can be a mixed bag - some are better than others.  At the beginning of the night I was wondering how on earth I would entertain a room of around 100 people, most of whom had never met anyone at the other tables.  This was a long gig too, with me providing music via my laptop as well as doing my normal 3 sets. My usual breaks would be non existent.

I needn't have worried.  After seeing a shocked looking audience during my first song (I'm not sure what they were expecting from me, but they looked surprised when I opened my mouth), they applauded every song from start to finish, and suggested music they'd like to hear during the breaks.  This took a lot of the worry off my shoulders, and I was able to relax a bit more and enjoy the evening.

A few highlights included -

  • Showing the crowd the dance for "Big Fish, Little Fish" and watching them follow suit - Al was absolutely flabbergasted that I would ever think about doing it! Thank goodness I stopped before "The Court of King Caractacus" though - I don't know if I could have done that one.

  • "The Time Warp" - The Rocky Horror Show is a particular favourite of mine, so it was good to have a boogie and be the one who knew the dance!

  • During "Chasing Cars", the dancers dropped to the floor during the chorus ("If I lay here.... if I just lay here..".  I'd never seen this before and got a bit of a shock.  That's definitely a great first dance surprise for any wedding.....

All in all I had a good night, despite being ill through the week and a little low on energy.  I was happy, they were happy, the Manager (Mary) was happy.  What's not to like??

Friday 28th August 2009 - The Red Lion Caravan Park, Arbroath

I've recently contacted Select Entertainments, and now have gigs coming in thick and fast.  This was my first for the agency in a loooonnng time, so I was eager to prove myself.

I'd never been to the Red Lion Caravan Park, so I was understandably nervous about what to expect.  When we were pointed upstairs I was even more worried - but I needn't have "got my knickers in a knot" - there was a lift just next to the room in which I was to set up. The room is separate from the main bar upstairs, as there is a family room adjoining and kids are not allowed in the bar area.  It was a little daunting that the room was totally empty, but then I realised that no one would be going into the room until there was something to see - D'oh!.

I started at 9.15, and did my usual three sets, which I always refer to as three halves - it gets people thinking and means they talk to/mock and connect with me at the beginning of the gig.

The first "half" was reeeeeeaaallly quiet.  There were around 9 or 10 people in the room, but the silence between songs was deafening.  I find that my first time at a new venue is invariably the same, as people get a feel for me and decide if they like what they are hearing.

The second and third halves were much better for me, mostly thanks to a lovely lady called Joan who introduced herself to, and danced with, almost everyone in the room.  I must also say Hi to the group of ladies who had been to the local bingo hall and had come back to spend their winnings on site.  i later learned that they were from Methil!  Thanks girls!

I received a lot of praise from people in the room and outside in the main bar (who could hear me through the glass), and they all hoped I'd return soon.  Many of them thought I would be there on Saturday, and were looking forward to seeing me again.  Unfortunately I had another booking on Saturday, so I made sure I handed out a lot of business cards.