I did my only Campus Square Farmers’ Market gig of the season today, billed as Children’s Day. It was a good gig, but only a few kids, moms and grandmoms in attendance. The weather was fine, I played well and had some good moments throughout the two hours. The market also booked a exercise woman who had a suspended swing; she would hang upside down, do some balance exercises, etc. She particularly enjoyed my interaction with the kids. There was a stilt lady who also came by with a bubble wand. Nice touches for a kids’ day.
I’ve had a problem with the premise of booking me only once in my own neighborhood and booking me as a kids’ performer. I had, over the last several years, been able to book three or four gigs a summer. The vendors appreciated the variety of my music and I felt I had maintained a high level of quality for the market.
The new market music manager has changed the system, booking single appearances for a variety of younger, less-professional acts. I don’t mind having new folks get a chance to do these gigs but there is a significant drop in overall quality. A steady stream of singer-songwriters has diluted the appeal of the music as part of the market experience. Curation is important I think.
A friend who frequents these markets mentioned that I am able to retain an audience better than everyone else, and I am able to mix my material to the composition of the crowd, be it kids, students or adults. I think this is lost on the booker. So it goes.
The kids that did show up gravitated to the bag of instruments, scarves and puppets, many dancing and taking direction from me. Two young brothers hung out and eventually shook off some initial shyness and were soon bopping around the space. Two older sisters really surprised me. They were familiar faces and stayed the whole time, doing sisters stuff which I played off of. Creative girls, to say the least. Their mom said they look for my appearances and actually put it on their calendar. That was cool.
I got paid in advance (?!!) and was home in five minutes.