READY TO PLAY: Four out of five of the Drop Bears: Tim and Jan Koivunen with Brian Sonter and Ken Tighe.
READY TO PLAY: Four out of five of the Drop Bears: Tim and Jan Koivunen with Brian Sonter and Ken Tighe.

Drop Bears ready for the camp out

TIM Koivunen says it's all his wife Jan's fault he became a singer.

Before he met Jan, Tim, who is now lead singer of local five-piece band the Drop Bears, played guitar but didn't see himself as a frontman.

But when the pair met, Jan sang at restaurants and she pushed Tim to have a go, which he eventually did.

"(She) gave me the confidence to get out there and sing," he said.

Tim will lead the Drop Bears at the seventh Elders Boyne Valley Country Music Camp Out this weekend.

The band has played at the festival for the past three or four years and Tim said it could be counted on to bring a good mix of country music to the stage.

"We'll throw a couple of little curve balls in there somewhere (too though)," he said.

Tim's own preference is for heavy metal - bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple - but he's assured festival goers the Drop Bears are "not planning on doing anything like that".

His bandmate, keyboardist Brian Sonter, has different musical tastes but the two have found themselves embracing country music for the camp out. "I learnt (to play) on an upright acoustic piano," Brian said.

He was classically trained in the highly regarded Trinity College system and started playing saxophone in a jazz quartet in the early '90s.

Brian's road to the Drop Bears was paved thanks to a colleague. "One of my workmates said 'oh you can play piano'. I just went along (to a gig) and I've never played country music in my life," he said.

"It was completely different, it was quite a challenge. The (band members) weren't playing with music in front of them, they were just playing with chords. "I enjoy it now.

"Country music might seem a little easier (but) it depends how accuratly you want to play it." Both bandmates are looking forward to the camp out, which kicks-off on Friday night.

Tim confessed though he's not much of a camper.

"I'm a city person," he said.

"I must admit - I don't like doing it too often. All the creepy crawlies round the place and the snakes."

He'll be braving the snakes with a packed campground this year, as the festival has continued to grow in popularity.

Tim urged people to "just get out there and enjoy it".



Friday-Sunday at the Boyne Valley Community Discovery Centre


To book, go the the Boyne Valley Country Music Camp Out Facebook page.