THE SOLO ARMADA: THE BEGINNING
How did this all begin?
It’s 12th May 2017 and it’s the first day of Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings weekend: a series of four nights at the Camden Roundhouse for Frank to do what he does best. Thousands are travelling to the capital not just from the UK but from around the globe. However, for some the journey was not of excitement but of nerves, apprehension and a sense of the unknown. These people travelled alone to an event where they knew no one, because no matter what, they HAD to be there.
Amidst the build up to Lost Evenings, two words kept appearing in message threads and on Twitter: The Monarch. For those that don’t know, The Monarch is a good size pub in the middle of Camden and holds regular gigs, particularly for new artists and bands wanting to make an impact. And good god, it’s full of character! The Monarch was to become the official meeting place for anyone that was a part of the Frank Turner Army, so it was logical for the people who had travelled alone to head there in the hope they might get involved in a conversation or two; that didn’t happen. What happened was better!
Speak to any of the people that travelled alone that day and they will find it hard to put into words what happened. To be honest, the whole weekend was a blur due to alcohol, good times and a sense that something special was happening. Now bear in mind, the loners had never spoken or had any correspondence with each other on social media – not directly anyway. All we knew was that we wanted to enjoy ourselves as much as possible, but not alone if we could help it.
Two loners met randomly in The Monarch. Those two loners soon became three, then four and so on. It grew and grew which is even more surprising when you consider none of them were searching for each other.
Over the next days a Facebook message group formed so we could arrange where and when we were meeting and who was doing what. Matching tattoos were discussed, in what was at the time a jest that our group was becoming a cult… Some of us even ended up with those matching tattoos (after emailing Frank who designed our first one). Frank himself shared our group photo from Instagram and we finally found a Welsh man for the group, making the UK loner attendance complete!
It’s 15th May, 2017 and it’s the last day of Lost Evenings. Everyone is in The Monarch which has now become the official meeting place before the Frank Turner gigs. There’s a group of people who travelled alone to an event that they just had to get to, except, they are no longer alone.
They’re chatting as if they’d known each other for years. Chatting about their lives, the weekend, music… anything. These people have become friends through a mutual love of music. These people are already planning when they are going to see each next and at which gig. These people have become the Solo Armada.
Sound like something worth knowing about? Find out how the Solo Armada works…