‘Do you want to walk the Wales coast path with me and Seth?’
When Chris asked me this question in a London pub, the name of which I’ve long forgotten, I answered almost before he’d finished the question. It was November 2022, forlorn Christmas decorations were starting to appear among the busy city professionals, and we were waiting for a mutual friend to finish a gamelan rehearsal in the nearby Indonesian embassy, me there to see a gig with said friend and Chris just coincidentally passing through the capital that same evening. I had recently decided that I soon wanted to leave my then job at a Cornish Vineyard and had a vague plan for 2023 to do some travelling and write more music, having belatedly graduated from Cardiff University (where I met Chris 8 years ago) just a few months prior to our pint that evening. Feeling a mixture of trepidation for ‘going rogue’ (as I’ve since been describing it to people all year), appreciation bordering on guilt for being in a position to make that decision, and excitement for what might come along, this opportunity seemed to land at just the right time.
Over the next few weeks, I learned more about the details of the project and my role within it. I had thought for a while that I shouldn’t be averse to taking different musical paths as they appeared in front of me, composition alone being a notorious route to take. I hadn’t necessarily expected that one of those paths would be 870 miles long, follow the entire coastline of the country I had grown to love while at my alma mater, and involve walking with, assisting, and helping to document my friends on tour with their band. However, nature, folk music and adventures with good people are among my favourite things in this world. Combined with my experience of social media/arts admin from my role as trustee of the Martin Read Foundation, and the chance to do something- anything- involved in acknowledging what’s happening to the climate of said world (or at the very least, to do something like this while we are still able) made this an offer I couldn’t refuse.
We are under no illusion as to the physical challenge of this tour, having learned on training walks the importance of foot care, waterproofs, and group morale on gruelling days.
We are hopeful however that with the beauty of the Welsh land and people, the spirit of adventure, and not a small number of gigs committed to, we can make it to Chepstow and discover incredible experiences along the way.
The preposterous pub proposition over a pint that Chris presented had echoes of when he came to me in December 2015, two fresh-faced freshers as we were, asking if I would like to join him on a cycle ride in the Brecon Beacons. The ill-fated expedition that followed has gone down in folklore among Chris’ family, ending as it did with us lying in a hole by the side of road, my wildly inappropriate clothing and bag choices soaked by Welsh valley rain with his dad on the way to rescue us, only for my bike to then be stolen in the night from outside my halls of residence. I may have answered Chris quickly last November, but a lot more preparation has gone into this trip than did into the one just described.
This year, I have joined Chris and Seth at folk sessions, gone on lots of walks, and had great fun being involved in the promo photos and video that I’m sure you’ve all checked out. So keep an eye on the Filkin’s Drift social media pages, YouTube and website for updates, vlogs, blogs and tickets. I know Chris and Seth can’t wait to share their new music with you and I’m looking forward to joining them every step of the way.