I had two sets at the Historic Bethlehem Blueberry Festival at the Burnside Plantation site. I played the first one when there was only the old house down a dirt road. I played on a concrete pad outside the house for a few folks.
It is now a full-fledged educational farm, with out buildings, an old barn reconstructed on site, gardens, vintage orchard and more.
The festival has several stages now, so I played my ‘folk’ set at 12:30 on the Meadow Stage. It was a scattered crowd of families, older couples, folks eating blueberry pie, so it was difficult to pick out a set of tunes that would appeal to that diverse of a crowd. The kids’ stuff went well, with some kids coming up on stage, including twin girls Amy and Allena who knocked Giants out of the park on Thunder Tubes. Before the show, I asked them if they had any requests and Amy asked for Trout Fishing in America and Seamus Kennedy tunes, which I didn’t know, but that meant she was listening to the good stuff.
It was hard to engage the audience on some tunes. I did Peanut Butter and Jelly, with the girls/women doing the ‘Jelly’ part, but when I asked the boys/men to do the ‘Peanut, Peanut Butter’ part, I was met with silence. Sheesh.
The second set was at the Heritage stage. I was asked to have a topic that would fit the concept so I choose Play Songs and Playground Tunes. As it turns out, I have a good set of those tunes on all of my albums. So it was nice to bring out the Sally songs to go with the tunes on Playground. Again, there were only a few kids in the audience so I had to play to the wider age span.
I did ask if folks remembered coming home from school and going outside to play. Some folks mentioned baseball (that’s what I did) and I mentioned flashlight tag. One dad said, “Ghost in the Graveyard” which I guess is a hide and seek type of game.
I got four kids up to dance All Around the Kitchen and they came up with some nice inventions, and it turned out to be a very nice performance piece for all of us. I also brought out Rosalie, Where Are You Going and passed it around to some kids in the audience, and they picked up on it with interest. Another good performance exercise that is working out well.
It was nice to reflect on the time when children sang and played and invented their own games. I guess I’m trying to keep those things alive.