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PiratePalooza 2017: A Pirates Adventure!

13th Annual PiratePalooza A Tale of Adventure!

We celebrated the 13th anniversary of PiratePalooza™ once more in the inland port of Decatarrrr. This be an account of that adventure. – Captain Drew

For the first time in years I arrived on schedule to Mister Twain’s House of Ale.  As I looked around the place all I seen was landsmen – not a sailor in sight. For a heartbeat I thought I’d gotten my schedule mixed up (again) and was about to leg it down to Henrietta’s Butt Hutt to figure out what day it was – that’s when I seen Porthos sitting up near the front.

Getting to a party first is just an awful business for me because I have to go around and introduce people I don’t even know in the first place so I usually just mumble something like “Mister Flibbinflam meet Mister Hasselflap”. If I do it right both pirates be so confounded that I have time to sneak away to the bar.

There wouldn’t be no sneaking away at Twain’s this day – pirates was streaming in from every direction and the bar was filling up with ’em.

Pirates arriving at Twain's

So there we was, positively affecting the Gross National Product of Decatarrrr one beer at a time – a really pleasant way to start an invasion. It was such a nice time that I once again thought about calling off the damned thing and just settling into a booth to curl up with a pint. But as me pappy once said, “A landsman’s life is all his own, he may go or he may stay, but when the Palooza gets in your blood, when she calls you must obey!”

And obey the Palooza we did.

Me and the crew stepped outside and I produced the invasion orders from out my enchanted brass pouch and began reading them…

Reading the Invasion Orders for PiratePalooza 2017

… the crew exploded into action once the orders had been given, stepping smartly over to the curb and pressing a button and waiting for the light to change. If there’s one thing a pirate respects it’s a zebra crossing.


The Invasion March

As the pirates marched over to the Brick Store I could tell that we were much quieter than in previous years, seeing as our shantyman Israel had slept in after a hard night of carousing with Miss Ritual Oni at her Treasure Island Party. It was such a quiet march that I realized that we must have a drummer to march along with the PiratePalooza flag next year.

The good news is that because we was being so bloody quiet we stumbled across a money making opportunity in the form of a safe that had been left out on the sidewalk. Every pirate wants to see what’s inside a safe, am I right??

Captain Drew wrestles with a giant old-fashioned safe on the sidewalk. The side of the safe appears to have been blown open.

Rounding the final corner, the leading wave of pirates stormed into the Brick Store and surged up the stairs to the Belgian Bar, where they set about draining the Belgian’s kegs of ale.


Belowdecks (Upstairs) at the Brick Store

The Brick Store’s Belgian Bar is my favorite place along the Palooza (what’s yours?). Because of its tight quarters and low ceiling it reminds me of being belowdecks, the perfect setting for our adventure!  Itching for some music I turned to look for the minstrels only to find El Presidente staring back at me from two feet away. If you don’t know, El Presidente is the figurehead of a thing called Play On Con over in Alabama, and since he is such a public figure I surmised that he might be able to do something fairly entertaining.

“Sing us a song!” I yelled.

He looked me dead in the eye and began an incredibly heartfelt rendition of “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA, marking the first time that a Swedish shanty had been sung in the entire history of the Palooza.  Not long after he finished his rendition of that chart-topping song, the boozing ken became filled with real sailor music from the likes of the Barehead Bards from the Georgia Renaissance Festival and our own shanty man, Israel Hands, who is also one of the pirates from the Jimmy Buffet tribute band A1A.

During one of Israel’s shanties Porthos accused me of singing the wrong lyrics to Bully in the Alley, which infuriated me because I thought we’d been singing Sally Brown all along.

Singing shanties in the Belgian Bar!

Things between us deteriorated when he refused to buy me a second beer.


The Reel in the Square

Porthos and I took our quarrel out onto the plaza and Israel determined the only solution was a duel by dancing the Virginia Reel (how does this always happen every single year at this point in the crawl??)

One of the largest Virginia Reels in recent PiratePalooza history!

This year Israel called the reel for four groups of dancers, the first time that we’ve had that many in several years – and WOW at the number of musicians this year!  We had a veritable orchestra playing for this year’s reel!

My regular dancing wench had gone missing so I fished up a mermaid named Ashley who knew her way around the reel – what an adventure!

Of course my team won, because I said so quite loudly at the end.

But I will admit that everybody did a reely, reely good job.


Back to the Mac

Mac McGee’s always fills up with pirates right after the reel and this year was no different – pirates spilled out onto the sidewalk and overflowed into other restaurants. Servers clambered through throngs of buccaneers, delivering food and drink. And all the while some Irishmen played something screechy in the back of the place, accompanied by some of our own increasingly-snockered musicians.

The pirates recover from the reel outside of Mac McGee's


The PubSing

By 6 o’clock the backyard of Revival (known as Communion) began filling with pirates while Ian O’Donnell of Toucan Dubh finished wrestling his sound system into place. Over near the entrance gate the staff of the PiratePalooza Store quarreled over the best way to set up their booth as I fumbled around setting up banners.

At some point the music began!


Barehead Bards

The Barehead Bards at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

This was the debut Palooza appearance for the lads from this energetic Scottish/Irish band. Brothers Sean O’Tuber and Seamus O’Tuber were there for the whole day, from start to finish.  Their bandmate Rossin MacBow was unable to appear on account of an incident with a lefthanded cow. Visit the Barehead Bards on Facebook!

Bards’ Setlist:

  • Wild Rover,
  • Fddlers Green
  • St. Brendan’s Fair Isle



Esteban from Landloch'd at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

Esteban Diego de Castille made his solo debut at the Palooza this year because his bandmate Edward the Red Beard had a previously scheduled romantic rendezvous with a married woman on a ship teeming with mice. The lads from Landloch’d can be seen at the Georgia Renaissance Festival the Appalachian Renaissance Faire, and the Alabama Renaissance Festival. Find out more about Landloch’d on Facebook and at

Esteban’s Setlist:

  • Road to Ruin
  • A Pirate’s Life
  • Jolly Butcher
  • Curvy Girls
  • Grand Pubs of Yorkshire


Tenpenny Travelers

Tenpenny Travelers at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

This crowd favorite has been playing at PiratePalooza since its early days and they’ve only gotten better with time. Tara, Arial, and Holly still love Mike in spite of his penchant for rick-rolling their audiences.

Tenpenny Setlist:

  • Shiver My Timbers
  • Cardon port
  • Santiago
  • A Pirate Looks at 40 / Kiss the Girl
  • Cannonball
  • Girl in the Sea
  • Dapper Dan
  • The Pirates Who Don’t do Anything



Shenanigans at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

This was also the first appearance at PiratePalooza for the Shenanigans, and what a fantastic debut they had! This trio can be seen at the Georgia Renaissance Festival each spring, barring a carrot blight. Learn more about the Shenanigans on Facebook and buy their music on Bandcamp!

Shenanigans Setlist:

  • Cruiscin Lan
  • Dublin Town
  • Mingulay Boat Song
  • Murderer’s Gold
  • Rambling Rover
  • Mary Ellen Carter


Toucan Dubh

Toucan Dubh at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

Fresh off their appearance at DragonCon 31, Toucan Dubh was raring to go for PiratePalooza 13! The band’s leader, Ian O’Donnell, has a long history of performing at Renaissance faires around the country, from Bristol to Scarborough. Ian stepped up to perform as our emcee in place of Curvy the Pirate, who had an appointment with royalty this year. Ian also supplied the sound system to bring the music to your ears! Be sure to visit the Toucan Dubh website and follow them on Facebook!

Toucan Dubh’s Setlist included:

  • Galway Girl
  • Billy O’Shea
  • Biddy McGraw
  • Fisherman’s Blues
  • Drunken Sailor
  • Whiskey in the Jar


Three Quarter Ale

Three Quarter Ale at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

Together since the early 2000s, Three Quarter Ale is Ren-Rock Royalty in the Atlantarrrr area.  Known for their tight harmonies and original music, this trio includes Ariana Pellayle, Rosemary Quench, and Wicked Pete Speakeasy. TQA has appeared at Dragon Con, been finalists in the Georgia Lottery’s All Access Music Search live TV special, and even hosted a 3-day performing arts festival called AleCon!


  • Three Quarter Ale Theme Song (aka Drink Hail!, by Rivka Levin and Dolph Amick)
  • Henry Martin (trad, arr. Rivka Levin)
  • The Black Spot (Dolph Amick)
  • Stolen Steed (Dolph Amick)
  • Maid on the Shore (trad)
  • Pirate Annie’s Chest (Dolph Amick)
  • Pyrate Pantye Rayde (Dolph Amick)


Wine, Woman & Song

Wine Woman & Song at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

Another influential musical group from the Renaissance faire circuit, Wine Woman & Song have appeared in some form at every PiratePalooza since its inception in 2005. This year the group were missing Concord Grapellwyn, who is rumored to have moved to Catalonia to marry an alpaca, which was rather inconvenient for the rest of us but Love is Love is Love is Love. Still, you’d think he might show up again to play with his group next year since Wicked Pete managed to show up to play with his band… 😉

Wine Woman & Song Setlist:

  • Old Dun Cow
  • Bell Bottom Trousers
  • Clean Song
  • Army Song
  • I’ll Tell my Ma
  • Paddy Lay Back
  • A-Rovin’
  • Married to a Mermaid
  • Foggy Banks


Israel Hands

Israel Hands at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

Shantyman, Reelmaster, and all around drunken pirate Israel Hands stepped led the pirates sea shanties through the course of the day and into the evening at the pub sing!


The Final Set!

After the bands had played their individual sets the final pub sing began in earnest under the warm glow of the string lights. Happy faces lined the benches and the night was filled with music and laughter, food and drink, somewhere in the background a Bareheaded Bard was heard singing into a bush – it was a special night and without question the finest PiratePalooza to date!

Leave Her Johnny at PiratePalooza #13 - September 2017

The concert wrapped up with the traditional performance of “Leave Her Johnny”, which brought a tear to my eye as I knew that our invasion was ending, and somebody was standing on my foot. As the last chords of the song faded into history you could see pirates slipping quietly out the gate and making back to the docks.


Thank You!!!

The list of individuals to thank is a long one and I’m sure that I will forget someone, but here goes!


The Pirates

Without YOU there could be no PiratePalooza!

It was so entertaining to see you in action: dancing and singing and menacing the townsfolk who have wandered across our pirate invasion. Those kids will long remember the day that you came to town!


Thea and All of You Who Gave Donations

A very Special Thanks to my friend Thea and her husband John for spearheading the effort to collect donations to repay me for my outlay on securing Communion this year, and to all of you who gave donations. Attendance to PiratePalooza has been free for its entire history and I didn’t want to start charging for it this year – I was simply going to absorb the costs and look for a better solution next year.  Thea insisted that people would want to contribute, and she was right. YOU paid for this year’s final stop as a crew and I couldn’t be more proud to know all of you. I was overwhelmed by your generosity when she presented me with the chest. You are the best crew I ever had!*


T-Shirt Sponsors

The sponsor logos you see printed at the bottom of the 2017 PiratePalooza t-shirts represent three awesome businesses that help make it possible for us to bring you live music every year. Please read more about the 2017 sponsors: Guy Behind the Camera, Base Camp ATL LLC, and Party Photo Booth!


The Bands

Without music PiratePalooza would just be a drunken race around Decatarrrr, so we appreciate each and every one of those people who share their musical talent with us from the beginning to the end. You guys and gals rock, literally.


Mister Ian O’Donnell

Thank you Ian for being the “man behind the curtain” and providing this year’s audio system. With so many bands crossing the boards this year I know that you must have been worn out by the end of the night!


Pubmaster Tony & The Crew of Communion

We very well might not have had a final stop for this year’s PiratePalooza were it not for the intercession of Pubmaster Tony, who personally made sure that we had a home again this year, as well as the feeding and grooming of our minstrels. Many thanks as well to all of Pubmaster Tony’s crew for their fine service.


The PiratePalooza Store Crew

Thanks to Terrible Todd and Pearly Patricia for overseeing the shirt sales & distribution table again this year, it was a relief to hand that responsibility off to an experienced crew.


The Virginia Reel Crew

Thanks to all of the musicians who made it to the square to play at the Virginia Reel – fantastic!!! Thanks to Israel Hands for calling the reel for (what I believe to be) the 8th Palooza in a row – he’s an expert by now.  Thanks to our friend Porthos who was good enough to get into an argument with me so that we could have an excuse for a dance-off despite the fact that one of his feet was mangled in a drinking accident.

Thanks to the Ghost of Commodore Stephen Decatur for not hexing us too badly this year! (we have to put that in there)


The Bars

Thanks to all of our host bars for treating us like the awesome customers we arrrr! I hope that you were well compensated by our crew!


And finally thanks to all the shut-ins who took the time to read all of this, you probably felt better than all of us combined the very next day. We raise a mug to thee as well.


Your Pal,

Captain Drew (space pirate)

– – – –


* I mean, besides the crew that I sold to Ching Shih for a boatload of noodles. I wonder whatever happened to that crew?


One Response to this post.

  1. Sandie Hughes's Gravatar

    Posted by Sandie Hughes on 29.09.17 at 2:34 pm

    My husband, Mark Hughes, and I made this our very first Nocturnal Pirates of Atlanta event. I must say, we had the BEST time. We were welcomed with open arms and by the end of the night, had made new friends. It was also wonderful to spend time with our Renaissance Festival friends.
    We will be looking forward to the next pirate event! Thank you Captain Drew for a perfect PiratePalooza!