The final week of the tour was wonderfully busy with Richard Durrant giving five performances from Lincolnshire right down to Sussex. 

Continue the story of his amazing Music for Midsummer journey…

And as the sun rose on the Summer Solstice the immersive audio version of the new album The Sleep of a King went live on all streaming platforms and Richard found himself in Guildford preparing for his open air concert at YA Theatre Guildford

The next morning Richard headed for the south coast, pleased to be heading straight towards his beloved Sussex downs. With his fitness well established and the bike and trailer nicely in trim the miles appeared to whizz by easier than before.

Daughter Daisy took this snap of her excited Dad by the wooden heron in Shoreham where 25 years earlier Richard had played at the unveiling of the sculpture along with children from Heronsdale School.

Richard’s next, and rather important stop off, was to see his trusted nail technician Amy… 

My nails had survived all the gigs so far – but I was pleased and relieved to be able to visit Amy on my way through Shoreham. Amy coats my nails with a protective gel and she’s earned my trust over many years. I won’t let anybody else near my nails!

Said Richard

And then it was onto Brighton Open Air Theatre for another Solstice celebration. This time with Richard’s home crowd.

And the tour continues with Richard cycling out from Shoreham for his four remaining shows in Tunbridge Wells tonight, Clayton (Sold Out), Bexhill-on-Sea (part of Bexhill Festival of Music) and the Summer Tour finale at Ropetackle at the end of July.

And the tour continues with Richard cycling out from Shoreham for his four remaining shows…

Catch up with Music for Midsummer in Tunbridge Wells tonightClayton (Sold Out), Bexhill-on-Sea (part of Bexhill Festival of Music) and the Summer Tour finale at Ropetackle at the end of July.

Cycle with Richard

How about joining Richard on his cycle from Shoreham to Bexhill on Sea and see his concert at Bexhill Festival of Music? 

Book your tickets below and meet Richard and the Durrant’s family run Pollinator Cafe, Forthaven BN43 5HY at 8.30am on Weds 29 June. Departure will be around 9am after coffee and croissants!

Please note: You will have to be responsible for yourself and your own bike if you take part in this event.. Richard will set off and head for the concert at his own speed. The distance is approx 44 miles.Richard’s average speed fully laden is 11mph.

Richard Durrant

Even three days of relentless winds plus numbed hands has failed to prevent Richard Durrant from appearing on stage on time. Follow the story of his amazing Music for Midsummer journey…

Under Cumbrian Skies

My Aurelius tour bike with its troublesome truck is actually a slick, well planned machine; carefully trimmed and perfectly packed it will munch up the miles. From Orkney to Edinburgh I was able to average 11mph which, with the load I’m carrying, is fairly respectable.”

Says Richard

But then things took a turn for the worse: For three unforgettable days, the wind changed everything. Pedalling to go down a hill as well as up made even 7mph a struggle. Ride times increased and Richard started to feel felt battered and tired.

More seriously, this began to take its toll on his hands: Onstage in Cumbria his left hand 3rd and 4th finger were without feeling and ‘disobeying orders’. The same happened in Lancaster Priory with some of the bigger guitar pieces requiring a super human effort. 

Under Yorkshire Skies

Sunday was a better day but Richard’s wife, Louise and his good friend Gary Southwell – the famous luthier and creator of the bog oak guitar – had different ideas.

Ultimately Gary found me on the A65 halfway between Lancaster and York and talked me and the bicycle into the back of his Land Rover. I was delivered to NCEM York and told to take a deep breath, have a cup of tea and get my hands working again.

Explains Richard
Bog Oak Guitar

Fortunately, Richard obeyed orders from his loved ones so was able to work on reviving his hands.

It turned out to be the most wonderful gig imaginable with a big crowd, friends old and new, and a surprise chance to play an encore on a rare Gary Southwell, bog oak, steel strung guitar (pictured).

Towards Southern Skies

Now the tour continues its journey South toward Midsummer including performances at The Stables Milton Keynes, Yvonne Arnuad Theatre Guildford, Brighton Open Air Theatre (pictured) and Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells.

Music for Midsummer 2022 map

And don’t forget that the immersive audio ‘Binaural Headphone Mix’ of The Sleep of a King goes live on all streaming platforms from sunrise on the Summer Solstice (21 June).

Richard on ferry to Orkney

As Richard Durrant began his Music for Midsummer musical, cycling pilgrimage on Orkney, the sun broke out during the ferry crossing and stayed for the entire visit.

First stop was Stromness Academy to meet some of the music students:

Stromness Academy

Next, Richard took the Bog Oak guitar to the Ring of Brodgar. The plan was to introduce the neolithic timber to the neolithic stones – and then perhaps play a piece of music. The guitar had other ideas…

The concert in St Magnus Cathedral was a huge success attended by a large audience.

Early the next morning Richard returned to the Scottish mainland to begin his journey south for concerts in Inverness, Dundee and Greyfriars Edinburgh.

‘It’s been fascinating playing a concert containing so much of my own music. It makes me dig deep to find the colours and the clarity of phrasing to draw people in. This is because I know it’s the audience’s first listening.’

Says Richard

The tour continued as Richard crossed the border heading for Upfront near Penrith, Cumbria for the Friday night show.

On Saturday 11th June he’ll be at Lancaster Priory, then a huge ride is needed to get him to the National Centre for Early Music in York for Sunday’s evening concert on 12 June.

The challenge of the ride!
Richard will have covered well over 1,000 miles by the time the tour is completed.  The early stages were not without problems due to the amount of weight the bike has to carry.  

On two separate occasions Richard had to find a welding shop to repair the luggage rack fixings and then, by Dundee, the trailer couplings were in need of attention.  

But as the ride progressed the Aurelius bicycle found its balance and began to feel well trimmed and more than happy to purr its way through the miles.

Cycling through the British Isles has strongly reminded me of my early days as a vegetarian – everything has to be carefully planned because nothing is going to be easy and most people will express either surprise or total bafflement.  The connections continue: first, we can’t continue to travel by burning fossil fuels and, second, the planet will starve or overheat if we continue to depend on a diet of animal protein.

Added Richard