This will be the sixth instalment of the #looptheworld Gig Profiles. As I travel the world playing music for a living I will be writing up these Gig Profiles in an effort to help out those that dream of doing the same. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’ll do my best to help out as much as I can.
This is the first gig I ever played in Europe. In 2015 while on Koh Tao in Thailand I bumped into an old friend of mine Scott Frost. We used to work in a kitchen together when we were teenagers. Since then he’s gone on to be a chef all over the world. Before landing in Thailand and buying himself his own restaurant on Koh Tao he had spent a season on the island of Ios in Greece cooking in the Harmony kitchen. He introduced me to Kathleen, the owner of Harmony and luckily for me she was in the process of booking her artists for the 2015 season. After a short conversation online she booked me 6 nights a week for two months over July and August.
The gig doesn’t pay a lot but the small and steady income was enough to sustain me quite comfortably. Living expenses are minimal on Ios. Those of us that work on the island receive a few perks in the way of “locals prices” in almost all the bars, a few eateries and even some of the islands adventure activities. In my case I even managed to score a great deal on some accommodation. I was travelling with my partner Hannah so opted to avoid the staff accommodation. But if you don’t mind living in close quarters with your work mates then the staff accom is a cheap option that is always available.
One of the best parts of living and playing on Ios is the feeling of belonging to the community of young, fun loving staff that stay for the season. Within days you’ll be welcomed into the family as if you’ve been there for years. I must warn you though, these guys know how to party, or more to the point, drink! The daily routine on Ios usually consists of waking up late morning, probably hung over, hitting the beach for a few hours then making your way up to Harmony for the “Staffie” meal. At about 7pm most of the island staff head home for a early evening siesta before hitting the town at midnight and drinking till the early hours. Your social life will love you for it but your liver will probably have a different opinion.
Harmony is a popular spot for the seasonal staff. The food is amazing! Generous servings of Mexican inspired meals, cocktails, live music, backgammon and giant Jenga. What more could you want? Town doesn’t really warm up until about midnight and Harmony has managed to slot in as the place to go out, before you go out. The restaurant is positioned on a headland looking over Mylopotas beach with a beautiful view. The warm evenings make for great out door dinning. Million dollar yachts are moored out the front and inflated bananas covered in screaming tourists pulled by speed boats often fly by. The PA is delightful for the size of the venue. A nice big sub woofer and several FOH speakers distributed among the restaurant will mean you get a decent sound. You’ll need to do your own mix. If you are not familiar with running a PA the other musicians and Luke in the kitchen will give you a hand figuring it out. Each night there are two shifts for the musicians. The first 6-9pm and the second 9-12am. You will share the roster with 3 or 4 other musicians so if you ever drink a little too much the night before or get run down by the infamous Ios cough someone is always there to cover you as long as you return the favour. The patrons are there to eat and must be seated to be served. Almost every night it’s full but it is firstly a restaurant so don’t expect an energetic dance floor. That doesn’t mean you won’t get tables full of excited diners getting involved. They are mostly after popular covers but once you get the crowd on side there is more than enough space to perform your original material. I managed to move a decent amount of CDs, to the point that I sold out. Make sure you bring enough, the extra income goes a long way. To get the gig you need to talk with the boss Kathleen. She will want to see a video of you performing live to see how you interact with your audience. It’s best to apply for this gig between February and May before the season begins. The season goes from May to September. I suggest staying at least a month to really get into the swing of the island life.
Best of luck. It really is a great way to spend a European summer.
Gig Location: Mylopotas Beach, Ios 84001, Greece
Venue Contact: Kathleen via the Harmony Facebook page
Pay: 40 Euros + 20 Euro food and drink rider.
Capacity: Approx 80 seated