The first Anniversary of Under the Willows is only just over a week away now. For Dottie and I Friday nights would not be complete without dropping in to this one of our favourite live music venues to listen to and enjoy at least one of the high quality performers there.
UTW is a beautiful friendly venue at which to enjoy live music :)) A lovely green landscape with wild flowers to dance or sit among, an island stage, streams and ponds of fresh water, the sea and the willows themselves :))
I took the opportunity to ask venue owner and friend Precious Rallier a few honest questions about the background to UTW and about herself :))
GC Precious the 1 Year Anniversary Celebration of UTW opening is on 30th September ! What have you got planned for us for the party ?
PR What better way to celebrate a year of great SL live music @ UTW than a walk beneath the willows, but hold on before you do let's make sure you are prepared for an overnight stay. So stay tuned! I'm not giving any clues here !
GC I'm a firm believer that the environment in which music is played is a very important factor for it's enjoyment. Do you agree ?
PR I fully agree! I have learnt over the year and heard over the year how relaxing and mellow the musicians and the fans become when they are at Under the Willows. Some more than others.
GC And all on 1/8th of a sim ! What gave you the idea for this landscape ?
PR UTW was never meant to be a venue, it was actually my SL backyard til one day while looking at the willows chatting with a friend about RL it hit me, my SL backyard had become a place from memories new, old and future. Willows and music have always held significance in my life being raised around both. So combining the two was so natural then. After that moment I knew I wanted to in some small way give others a place that evokes new and old memories and also a relaxing, beautiful place to just sit back and enjoy some of the best SL live music.
GC You host some of the best performers in SL. How do you go about picking your performers ? Do they reflect your own tastes in music ?
PR The majority do reflect my taste in music, but not always. As to picking them well some I have found by just landing at a venue, closing my eyes and just listening, others have come to me. I have gotten to know a few great managers who without them in some way I would have been lost as would the Willows! I do have two musicians who I give a special credit to. Both for being there from that first day, one as a good friend the other as one of SL's finest musicians.
GC In the UK we have a very long-running radio programme - Desert Island Discs. Each week a different celebrity castaway chooses 8 pieces of music they would take with them. What would your 8 be ... what are the reasons
for your choices ?
PR 8 ... oh how can anyone ever just pick 8 with all the music in the world. This is a tough one. I was once asked to pick 5 favourites of one of the shows that play at Under the Willows and it took me days. Every song changes your thoughts ... feelings, an old favourite could make you feel one way or another depending on how you feel at the time. So reasons for liking a song are hard as they are ever changing. So I will just list the songs that do and have special meaning to me, in no particular order.
*Willow Tree* an orginal by SOAR
*Fireflies* by Owl City
*Pinch Me* by Barenaked Ladies
*Ripples* by Trembling Blue Stars
*Crash Into Me* by Dave Matthews Band
*I'm The Girl* by Dayna Manning ok she gets 2 cause they are tied *I Want*
*This is Life* by Mike Alviano
*Pussy Willows Cat Tails* by Gordon Lightfoot
*A Criminal Mind* Gowan
*Under a Different Sky* By Women in Docs
*Breathing You In* By The Whitlams
*Seabird* By Chris Rea
Ok I can't count lol ;) I love all varieties of music, it is so hard to pick a few.
GC Is Bright Oh hard to keep under control ? (ok maybe don't answer this ... though his mention might get this article more readers ... )
PR LOL!! OMG! I should have read through the questions before answering them :). But I will say this ... really would we all want a controlled Bright Oh! Think on that ;)
GC You've put a lot of hard work in over the year Precious, and built up a regular and appreciative audience. What is the magic formula for a successful venue ?
PR Oh my I have always thought of UTW being a small place on a huge map. A really nothing special place. But over time I have seen, heard so many wonderful compliments about this lil place that I am amazed. I have been brought to tears, become speechless and at a loss at times and have laughed with what some say they get from UTW. Not just the music but feelings, thoughts and some memories. Successful ... I never thought of UTW in that way ... it simply is what it is. But in the end it is the music, the musicians and the fans above all else.
GC What are the main limiting factors on the development of a successful live music venue.
PR This becomes hard to answer. I never set out to be successful, just wanting a place for everyone to relax, enjoy, take in what SL has to offer in some of the best live music. But hard work, dedication and respect for the fans the musicians and other venues are forefront. I have many venues and owners that I hold in high regard for the time and the work they put in.
GC Do you have any aims or development plans for UTW for the coming year ... and will UTW always be restricted to Fridays for live music ?
PR Plans change of course and are always on-going at UTW ... just ask Bright Oh, I think he has UTW up to move version 18.4. SL is a place meant for changes. As to restricting to just Friday nights ... you'll all just have to wait and see.
GC I noticed on your profile that you say ... " Happiness is often as simple as just allowing yourself to be happy " I find this very interesting though sometimes difficult to do. Would you care to expand on this.
PR It is difficult to do, difficult to keep that thought in mind especially when life just up and decides to throw you a curve. But someone who has meant the world to me always said nothing is ever as bad as it seems, you just have to look harder for the good it's always there, in the simpliest things such as a smile, a hug, a warm compliment ... I've grown to use that knowledge on a daily basis finding that ... yea happiness is as simple as allowing yourself to be happy :))
GC Is there any question which you wish I had asked you or anything you would like to say ? If so what is it and what's your answer ?
PR Ohh this could go soo many ways ... But I won't ... Under the Willows is and always will be about the music, musicians and the fans ... But it is hard to believe it's been almost a year for Under the Willows, the year went fast. What a year it has been!! With all the great SL live music out there UTW has had it's fair share of it over the year. And I would like to thank each and every musician, fan and friend for coming together at UTW! Without all of you UTW wouldn't have become what it is day!
GC Precious, Dottie and I would like to thank you for creating Under the Willows, for all the wonderful hours we've spent there over the last year and for making it such a friendly and beautiful venue. Congratulations on your first year Precious, we hope it's the first of many very successful years for UTW !!
PS. Precious has given us another clue for Friday 30th ... What would you need for a walk through the willows ? Easy answer your jammies :) That's right your PJ's! You know the one's you'd wear at gramma's house ... so please keep the lingerie at home ...
Check out the UTW Schedule here
Here's the SLurl to get there.