Jon Earl – My incredible year after winning Shed of the year in 2011

Jon Earl and Seasick Steve - Steve has the longer beard :)

Here is a guest post from Shed of the year 2011 winner Songs from the Shed owner – Jon Earl – many thanks to Jon for his work and helping promoting Shed of the year – some say the responsibility is like winning Miss World but with less flowers.

It’s 6am the sun is bursting through my tent and a post party head drags me from my sleeping bag. Two requirements are paramount a pee and a cup of coffee.

I emerge from my canvas cocoon to a damp but bright morning and after the first need is satisfied I step round a couple of comatose bodies into the back stage area and begin my search for caffeine.

Nothing is open the place is, in stark contrast to 4 hours before, empty and silent. I walk round the stage and start to climb the hill towards the food stalls. A lone, spectacularly bearded gentleman is the only other person in sight.

There is a strange etiquette in this situation, we’ll either acknowledge each other with a brusk “Morning!” and walk on by or become early riser mates for a brief moment in a mutual understanding of the love of the dawn. ” Morning Man” says my new buddy “Hi, you’re up early” “Always up early” he replies.

We find ourselves a couple of plastic chairs and talk about last nights performances, the quality of Wadworths fine bar and beer, the food, until eventually my companion asks why I am at this festival.

My response to this question always brings one of two reactions, “I’m here because of my garden shed” I say and go on to explain that a couple of years ago I had this crazy idea that I would invite musicians to come and play in my shed and put the results of these acoustic sessions online.

Now this is the point where people either shuffle nervously, make their excuses and leave or a huge smile appears and they immediately know and understand what I am talking about.

My companion was of the latter and his exclamation (You should read this in an American accent) of “I know all about you man! You were in the press and everyone’s talking about your shed!” was the best hangover cure I have ever experienced, bolstered by his response and grinning from ear to ear I suggest he might like to come and play in my shed, he promises that if he can find the time he will.

We bid our farewells, I hand him a card and continue on up the hill where I turn back to look at the stage which is just starting to come to life and fight back the lump in my throat (Remember, I’m very tired). I can’t quite comprehend……

I am at Cropredy Festival as a VIP guest and Seasick Steve has just said he’ll come and play in my garden shed. How can a rotten wooden building have changed my life so much ?

This is just one of many stories that have happened since starting this project and winning shed of the year bought the worlds media to my doorstep.

The shed was gently building a reputation as a fun quirky place for musicians to come and record a session but nothing quite prepared me for the whirlwind of press attention winning the competition would bring.

Sky News, BBC , ITV, National Geographic, The New York Times, all the national UK papers, to name a few, were clamouring at the door.

We even had a couple of magazines offering my wife serious money for a “My husband left me for his shed” type stories, Thank goodness she politely declined.

There have been so many high points in my winning year and I am truly grateful to everyone that voted, Cuprinol, Uncle Wilco and to the star of the show my shed.

It’s been an incredible year, full of the most amazing experiences and I am looking forward to helping choose the winner of this years competition and I hope they enjoy it as much as I have but I will offer a small bit of advice to whoever wins……. for the first couple of weeks after winning turn your phones off at night the worlds media never sleeps !

Long Live sheds and those who dwell in them.

Jon Earl

P.S Later that day Seasick Steve was introducing me as his “friend with the shed”. He still hasn’t visited but he will, I’m sure.

By Andrew Wilcox

I love sheds Founder & judge of Shed of the year - Wilco writes mainly about sheds. About the blog Enter your shed into #shedoftheyear