Feeling somewhat at a loss for work in early September, I made the decision to play at Historic Bethlehem’s Antique Sale at Burnside Plantation and ponied up the $65 for two days. I figured I could play and perhaps sell a few CD’s.
I was right. I sold a few CD’s and got a few tips to make $64 for 10 hours of playing. So I only lost .10 per hour on the gig.
Saturday’s gig was from 9 am til 3 pm. They did set up a tent amongst a few other vendors along with HB’s tent of antiques, etc. It was brutally hot. I managed to play for various folks who stopped by, an occasional family and the other vendors close by.
The gentleman next to me was accompanying his wife who displayed hand-made greeting cards. As we struck up conversation, I realized that I recognized him from my workouts at the Y. He noted that he was a piano tuner on the side, so I asked him how one learns true pitch. He said you listen for the wobble or beats between the true A and the given pitch. It becomes natural. I said I felt somewhat under pressure to be in tune while he was listening. He came to appreciate what I was doing, in spite of his classical leanings.
On the other side was a couple with an array of curios for sale. We talked about folk music, and the lady said Peter, Paul and Mary played at her elementary school. She then said her family was quite close with Pete Seeger as well. Small world.
A strong storm Saturday night moved the heat out of town, so Sunday was quite pleasant. This gig was only from 11 am til 3 pm, and there were fewer vendors. I had more opportunity to chat with friends and folks, had some wonderful interactions with kids and their dads and moms, and the day quickly. I only sold two CD’s and only gathered a few bucks in tips, so it was not financially productive, but, as always, I entertained myself and others, made connections and enjoyed the day.
I’m not sure I would do it again. Its hard being a vendor, at the mercy of sales to break even. It was a good experience, but I’d rather be paid as an artist.