I’m obviously a glutton for punishment, so I headed off for my second gig of the day at the Bath Farmers’ Market and the splendid chance to sit and play acoustically for two hours in the waning September afternoon sun. Other than the bugs, it was all that was advertised: dedicated farmers, craftspeople, and other fellow vendors of Local Americana, looking to make (literally) a buck on a Friday evening.
This gig is a toss up between using the gazebo’s electric and playing amplified, or, by my preferences, acoustically amongst the vendors. Last time I opted for the shed due to the chance of rain, but today was a no-brainer. Sun and good temps.
It’s a really small market so the interaction from the vendors is interesting early on. Few shoppers makes for good listeners amongst my fellow vendors. It was really nice to hear some clapping after songs, early on. I think they appreciate the concept I’m trying to establish when I do these markets. It’s all about your neighbors.
I am still amazed that in a slow market, parents will hustle their kids right past me, and subtly discourage their kids from getting involved. There is a parental fear (not as much with grandparents, though) of interaction with live arts.
A. It’s going to cost us something. Look, he has CD’s on sale.
B. Don’t talk to strangers.
C. Especially artists.
Who can blame them?
I had some great moments, and it’s these moments that make the gigs more than worth my while.
A nice woman was cruising the vendors and after a while came up, surprisingly to me. She dropped a $5 spot in the ole mandolin case and stopped to listen for a couple of tunes. Really?
These moments never cease to amaze me. She introduced herself as Hillary, and she had seen my elementary show as a child, her mother had seen me when she taught at a school I played, heard my tape.
I asked her what she wanted to hear, and she said Peanut Butter. So I played a fine version of I Like Peanut Butter. She said, “That’s not the one.” Oh, you meant Peanut Butter and Jelly? Hmmm.
So, I launched into the other one. And so there I was, doing ‘Peanut, Peanut Butter, Jelly!’ to this wonderful young woman, just me and thee and the trees. What a wonderful connection, and it was precious unto itself.
Later a mom with two young daughters came around in the last half hour of the gig. The mom and the older daughter knew me and, along with the precocious younger daughter, jumped right in. We took advantage of the warmth and late afternoon angle of the sun, and played and danced in the waning sun. It was marvelous to witness the interaction of the mom, the ‘mature’ older sister, and the ‘wild child’ younger sibling. The mom was ever encouraging presence, the elder sister responsive but hesitant, and the free-spirited younger lass, free as the wind blows.
There were many magical snapshots amongst us. It was not unnoticed by folks around us. The nearby vendor offered my choice of peaches and apples for my effort. She even said she would have come over to play tambourine if I’d had asked.
So many connections in such a short time.
A simple two hour gig at a local farmers’ market.