I returned to the Florence Griswold Museum on Saturday, home of a fantastic small museum dedicated to the early impressionists’ colony there at the turn of last century. Great contemporary museum facility, along with great gardens, kids’ art center and old CT home filled with amazing art and artifacts of the time. I’ve played here several times and even did a songwriting residency here for young artists. I also wrote ‘The Miss Florence Waltz’ for one of the CT Troubadour contests.
The festival covers all of Old Lyme, a very quaint New England shoreline town, so there was music, shops, food and more up and down the main street. The FG Museum had lots of hands on activities for kids, a farmers’ market, food, as well as my two sets in a beautiful reconstructed barn. It was a great place to play, with exposure to folks wondering by on both sides, nice acoustics and open space with seating.
Various families came in and took in a few songs. It’s really hard to hold on to an audience in these active festival situations, so I had to hit them with the good stuff. Giants, with the Thunder Tubes is a good crowd pleaser, and the two young boys who came up in the first set rocked, to the delight of proud grandparents and the rest of the crowd. Great interaction and bazaar sounds from the two kids, bodacious audience participation and more. Good theater.
The second show was taken over by a wonderful Downs Syndrome girl. As the family came in before the show, the mom asked if I wanted lemonade from a nearby stand. I said, ‘Sure’. And the girl said, “I’ll get it!” As I started playing, she then proceeded to hand out instruments to those in the barn and then stopped folks passing by outside the barn, escorted them to empty seats, got them instruments and pointed to me in front. I took it all in, in amazement.
Sometimes, you just let it go and see what happens, and when it does, you share something special, something very ‘folk’, with an audience. It becomes a memorable event, even amongst 15 people. These situations make my checkered performance experiences rich and meaningful.
Again, a long drive up and back to CT, but a gig I always value for the opportunity to play at this prestigious venue. Twelve hour day.
Late Sunday afternoon concert in nearby Emmaus. I’m beat.