This was the last farmers’ market here (one left at Campus Square at the end of the month) and it was a little slow, as expected, and a grayish 60 degrees. Not so bad. I set up under a pop-up in the middle of the market and plowed right in. With few kids early on, I get to play my adult stuff, and songs I need some work on. I get a good view of the market in action, especially how the vendors find time to chat and support each other during the morning. As kids and families stop by, I aim right at the kids. It’s particularly fun to engage them eye to eye, often beneath the radar of the parents. They immediately tune in.

The two hours pass quickly and I enjoy chatting with folks who stop by. As I packed up, the vendor next to me said, “You’re done so soon?” I said that I signed up for two hours and that, actually, what I do is pretty intense. She agreed. It takes quite some effort for me to gauge the scene, figure out what to play next and deliver the lyrics with meaning and play guitar or mandolin to the best of my ability. I try to play my instruments as if they were plugged in to an amp, mindful of the totality of the sound.

After several months of farmers’ markets, I’m glad that my repertoire is toned and strong, most of my songs are fit and my chops are in good shape. I guess this why I do these low profile, low pay and no amplification gigs. And I get to work with the kids and all the challenges that they bring to a live gig. Live Art!

It’s a good thing.