In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the pop artist, ili, shares one of her stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
It was my first ever tour traveling around Scotland, at around 13 years old. The previous dates had gone pretty well playing to families, with just me, my guitar, and some really sweet songs a 13-year-old would write. For reference, one was called “Cherry Lip Balm” and another “Dream Girl.” Although they were sweet songs they will never see the light of day now-haha! On this particular day, I was stopping off to play at a festival called “Thunder In The Glen” in a beautiful town called Aviemore. We didn’t use technology as much as we do now back then, so I never knew much about the festival and what it was for. The previous gigs were very family orientated, so, I was thinking it was something similar. 5 minutes from the festival, I noticed that there seemed to be thousands of bikers on their bikes, it was honestly so breath-taking. I had never seen anything like it in my life and thought it was by chance they were there the same day as the festival.
As I got to the entrance, it was pretty much time for me to go on stage right away. I got my guitar and piano out of the car and was taken to be rushed on stage, not taking my surroundings in. I ran onto the stage and gasped as around 150 bikers stood with a powerful stance, arms crossed, all looking in my direction- it was like they had stepped out of the TV series, “Sons Of Anarchy.” It was then I realized, I was playing at a biker rally! As my set went on playing some of my original songs like “Cherry Lip Balm” and “Dream Girl,” they were all being very supportive, clapping and singing along. Although, all I was thinking in my head was “they don’t like my music” or “I wish I had learned some AC/DC or something a little heavier for this!” I was extremely nervous as they all watched in their leather jackets with Harley Davison patches on them and their huge boots. In fact, I was so nervous I stopped my set a song early.
I left the stage in a panic feeling slightly anxious. I was then suddenly flooded with the crowd congratulating me, telling me how much they liked my music and how they listened to every word. One biker, who was an incredibly strong man, came up to me to tell me he had tears in his eyes during one of my songs. I was so shocked as I was certain they wouldn’t like my set. It turns out, that they were honestly the kindest, purest, and the most wonderful bunch of people I have ever had the privilege of playing in front of and talking to. You really couldn’t have asked for a better response from a crowd after playing, I was so happy. Little 13-year-old me learn a huge, but very valuable lesson on this day to never judge anybody. Those bikers have a special place in my heart!