It was interesting that all my farmers’ market gigs converged this past weekend with four FMs in a row. Frankly, I was glad to exercise my repertoire again after a rather barren performance schedule this winter and spring. I was looking forward to see how my singing, guitar-playing and memory would respond after such a slow time period. I did okay.

Thursday was at the Bethlehem Farmers’ Market a block away from 4th Street, up at Lehigh’s Farrington Square. Lehigh is out for the summer so it was fairly empty but a couple of moms brought their kids to listen and play along. It gave me something to work with, and I got some cherries out of the deal. My pay went from $125 for two hours to $150 for three and a quarter hours (plus set up and break down and street parking fees). It took a toll on my voice, but it was good to be playing again. I used my PA for this one and it was worth the hassle. The market manager likes what I do, and got nice reponces from the vendors. I got a nice tip of a large Mason jar of hot pickles from a vendor. Those things are pleasant surprises.

Madison Green FM

Friday was scheduled for a long trip up to Madison Green Farmers’ Market for one of my regular farmers’ markets. There was a chance of heavy thunderstorm during the market hours (and afterward) so I negotiated with the market manager for me to cancel this one. I knew I would have to drive 8 hours and play for three hours for $100, some of it in heavy rain. No brainer for me, especially with an early FM the next morning. I’m glad I didn’t do it, though I miss the road time.

Under the tree at the Rose Garden.

Saturday’s FM was The Rose Garden Farmers’ Market on the northside of Bethlehem. This a particularly friendly market under a big ole tree and I get to do it unplugged. Families and kids gather around to play rhythm instruments, and the vendors appreciate the atmosphere and the quiet music. I negotiated with the market manager to find a local sponsor for my four visits this summer. At least I felt the ability to name my price and time: $100 for two hours. I picked up my tip of a big tomato from one of my vendors.

Sunday was a return to Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market in Hellertown. It’s probably the biggest market, and one I use my PA under a pop-up at one end of the library lawn. Having played monthly in years past, I have many familiar and friendly faces to play for, especially with kids and their parents. Some even request songs from my CDs. A couple of rock and roll musicians came up to say hello, one commenting that my Nadine was the best version he’s ever heard. Nice. My beef with this market is the committee has upped the time from two hours to the full four hours, while maintaining the $100 stipend. I’ve brought this injustice up with the managers but there’s too many folks willing to play for cheap. The only thing I can do is limit my gigs to a couple times a season. Thankfully, today I had about $75 in tips. Still…..

 

The Tour was fun and I got to bang on my Martin, play some old songs again, and mix it up with passing folks, young kids and more. Still, few parents accept my free CDs with nothing to play them on. That’s a real shame. But, I put a couple checks in the bank and realize I really need to change my strings now.