We arrived in France in early June and headed to Lille, which became a base for the next week or so. In Lille, we tried Couchsurfing for the first time and encountered extraordinary kindness and hospitality from our hosts. Couchsurfing is a website which provides a free platform for members to stay as a guest at someone’s home, host travellers or meet other members. We got along particularly well with our hosts, including myself playing an impromptu game of pétanque (a similar game to boules) in a city square with our host Francois and a few of his friends. Altogether a rewarding and positive experience which reminded that meeting new people and having new experiences was what travelling was all about.
Here’s Dom’s interpretive Couchsurfing dance!
While staying in Lille, we went on a road trip to Belgium to scout a place to film a music video for the band’s cover of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Simon & Garfunkel. Following some research, we discovered the picturesque scenes of Damme in Belgium, a canal lined with a row of trees known by the locals as the ‘magic tree tunnels’. The whole area was breathtaking and inspiring, and the story-book scenes came complete with a windmill and a friendly horse, which we named Albert (pictured below).
We filmed some shots using the car as a camera rig, attaching the GoPro to the roof and the Sony A7S II attached to the bonnet of the car (with plenty of gaffer tape!), allowing us to capture footage while driving slowly along the narrow path alongside the canal and tunnel of trees.
During the magic hour of photography (an hour or so before the sun sets) we experimented with some practice performance shots, trying out different angles and settings with the Sony A7S II.
We decided to return the next day to shoot the music video in full, the careful research and preparation paid off and filming was a great experience for everyone, taking it in turns to film. I think we got some great results, but you can see for yourself below.
The next day the band started busking in Lille and I noticed people were even more receptive to stopping and listening to the music than in the UK. Moments after setting up to busk in the bustling square in front of Theatre Du Nord, Dom started the set with his usual vocal sound check, an a cappella of Elvis Presley’s ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ his voice drawing in a large crowd, who gathered forming a large semicircle around the band and were eager to hear more. They played a couple more spots in the city of Lille that day and the CDs sold like French hotcakes.
The next day we travelled to Belgium again, this time to busk, the guys feeling like proper medieval minstrels as they carried out a musical siege on Ghent.
On the first day they played by the beautiful Ghent Canal, a very touristy spot and on the second day by the impressive Gravensteen castle. The heatwave saw highs of 35 degrees at this point, but we all persevered with plenty of cold water and sun cream. Once again, Govardo were well received, drew big crowds and we made many new friends, making it worth bearing the sweltering heat.
The band were invited back to Lille to play a gig at a restaurant, Le Vieux Basque, which we decided was a special moment and so decided to live stream the last song on Govardo’s Facebook page, much to the delight of their fans at home and all over the world, with the video reaching over 3000 views. This was the first live stream we had been able to set up in Europe, and was to become a regular feature as we were able to engage with the fans directly, and capture some unique and special moments.
After a successful couple of weeks I returned back to the UK to continue work on the footage we had captured and get some much needed rest. I was soon to return, joining them in the town of Koblenz, Germany, and the striking scenes at Deutsches Eck… but more on that next time.
For those of you interested, you can follow Govardo’s journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, also check out behind the scenes updates on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am also available on email for any band enquiries, please use the form on the contact page.
Looking forward to hearing your comments. #followthesun
All the best