Christkindlmarkt is Musikfest’s large Christmas tent affair near Steelstacks. It runs for several weeks with artisans, food, beer and music in several heated tents and outdoor venues. I’ve been fortunate to play it every year though today was the busiest gig I’ve had. It was the Saturday closest to Christmas so folks were out in force.

I had two one-hour sets at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm. Since I had the first set of the day, I got there in relative quiet and set up. I gotten to know the sound guy over the years and he had it all in place for me. We got a good check and then the doors opened.

I play on a large stage in front of a large area of tables. Most folks come to get something to eat before they return to browsing the merchants. I do notice those folks who are listening and I get a smattering of applause here and there. I do take time to chat with the folks from the stage, engage the kids, sing some holiday songs as well as play some mandolin tunes. It’s a good exercise of my holiday material.

I particular like having the kids come up and grab an instrument from my bag. There were several great moments, especially with a young girl dancing with scarves with her mom and well as another girl who just wanted to dance. I have some fairly straight ahead Christmas gospel rockers that fit perfectly as dance tunes.

During my break, I recognized a boy, his sister and their mother as they came up to me. They were a family that had seen me here several years ago. The boy loved to come up on stage with me and play tambourine. It was great to see them again and got the kid to pose for a picture in my chair. Big smiles.

It is a bit of a meat market, but it’s the Christmas season and people are out and about in very good spirits. The music helps set the stage for family and friends gathering, out on the town, and, after all, this is the Christmas City.

I played really well and I got to play some of my favorite arrangements of  classic carols, obscure ditties, crank up the mandolin and play some kids’ and Troubadour songs. I had just enough songs to fill two long sets of holiday music. It was a great way to finish up my Christmas season.