This was my second jaunt up to CT to reconnect with my pickin’ buddies and play a couple of farmers’ markets as well.
It never fails that, no matter when I leave PA, I get to the Madison Farmers’ Market with 10 minutes to spare. Of course, it is Labor Day Friday and things got bogged down on the way. But, as I said, I got there in the nick of time. It is a large New England town green, with some nice big trees and open lawn. I set up acoustically (I hate sound systems for these gigs), put out the bag o’ toys, tuned up the mandolin and guitar and away I go. A few folks stopped by, some kids jammed with me, but as usual, most folks cruised on by with nary a smile or acknowledgement. Madison has a reputation for snootiness, and it followed suit today. Three hours, no CD sales and $34 tips. I am grateful for those who toss in a buck, for the families that engage me with their kids, and the market manager who recognizes my efforts and skill in interacting with the shoppers. A floret of kale appeared from a vendor.
I packed up after three hours and headed up to Northford for the hospitality of Susan and Ron, who not only put me up overnight in style and comfort, but also put together a pickin’ party with my old Nutmeg Ramblers. Tonight was good, with Ron, Denny, Lou, Bill, Frank and Scott and pizza. All good players, pickers and friends. I packed it in at 11, but the others carried on for another hour.
I headed out early for West Hartford’s Farmers’ Market at 9 am. Yup, I got there at 8:55. This turned out to be a better situation, even though its in a downtown parking lot. An affluent crowd, but more aware. More folks smiling, tossing in a buck from nowhere and generally recognizing what I trying to do, especially when they see me work with the kids that stop by. I don’t think the Madison community does that at all. They’re pretty much into doing their cruise. The time goes fast when I play for music for folks who are listening.
One vendor gave me free tomatoes, though two other ones took my money. That’s the new economy for you. There was a time (I am told) that the vendors would pass a bag around for the musician. I really don’t begrudge paying for my food, since we are in the same ‘artisan bag’ ourselves, but some acknowledgement of the ‘artist’ amongst us would be nice, in my universe.
I stopped on the way home to check in with my daughter Rosalie for lunch. She’s in a good space now a days.
It’s good to get out of town and just play music. When I play as long as I drive, it’s a good tour.