Dermot Kennedy on Turning His Tour Bus into a Second Home: 'You Have to Feel Christmas Cheer'

Irish singer Dermot Kennedy will be on the road touring up until Christmas Eve, but that’s not stopping the rising star from getting into the holiday spirit.

“We’re gonna be on [the tour bus] now for essentially two months. You just make it feel as home-y as you can,” the “Outnumbered” singer, 27, told PEOPLE ahead of his Live at Aloft Hotel Homecoming Tour show with Aloft Hotels and Universal Music Group and Brands. “We decorated our bus for Christmas as of a week ago. It’s very early, but we gotta live there for two months so you have to feel a little Christmas cheer, you know what I mean?”

Kennedy and his crew strung lights all over the bus, and the star personally “bought a Santa” for additional decoration. Admittedly, “it’s very cluttered and cheesy,” says the star.

Dermot Kennedy

With its live music program Live at Aloft Hotels, the Homecoming Tour is a way for musicians to connect with fans who have supported them from the beginning of their careers.

Free for all fans (though Marriott Bonvoy members get first dibs on tickets), Kennedy’s show was much more intimate than the venues he now plays in.

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“I love pretty much everything about bigger venues, but you do miss seeing faces and seeing the emotions people are experiencing,” he says. “It means an awful lot to me to see people, and it really does feel like you connect maybe a little bit more. The place you’re from, it makes you who you are, and you want to get back to that place to give thanks for the amount of support they gave you.”

Before his acoustic show, Kennedy also joined a small group of fans for a whiskey tasting at Dublin Liberties Distillery as part of a Marriott Bonvoy Moment, and the experience was right up his alley.

“It’s a thing you can have from home on the road,” he says about keeping his favorite whiskey stocked on his bus. “If you can drink a little bit of whiskey right before you go on stage, it brings you a little bit closer to home.”

Looking ahead to 2020, Kennedy’s schedule is happily jam-packed with shows, but the singer hopes to find some extra joy in small moments with his loved ones.

“Touring is such an integral part of what I do, and it’s where I feel most solid and most comfortable and most excited too,” he says.

But in between the craziness, “I have to get fresh air,” he says. “My family home is out in the middle of nowhere, and so much of this journey is city, city, city. When I go back [home], walking through the forest to clear my head means a lot to me.”

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