Historically, we wind down for the winter. Being a family band, school’s important, so we taper off our show schedule once school begins, do a few during holidays, and start ramping up as school winds down. That said, that first long show of the season is always interesting.
Last Saturday, the Sentimental Value show ending up being a one man band due to schedule conflicts. My last four hour show was likely September or October. Though we performed on and off during a holiday show that spanned four hours, we certainly didn’t play that long. I always worry about how things will go, if I’m still going to be knocking the rust off, if the song selection is going to fly, etc. So many concerns for the music. This time out, it was also a new outdoor location. They just got power worked out, and I hadn’t seen the venue yet, and had no idea how long a run was going to be needed, how many amps the circuit could take, how stable the power feed was, or even if we’d really have it, as I was the first musician to try the new location.
As it turned out, everything ran smoothly. Power was one extension cord away, and I was on a corner, with a speaker facing the farmers and flea markets, and a second facing the Founder’s Festival, with enough overlap that the greenbelt between the two became a dancing ground for children, and the curb became seating, all naturally, with no real planning involved.
Despite farmers markets being far less lucrative than other venues, I find I push just as hard, if not harder, as they are a great proving ground, and an opportunity to try new things, experiment a little, and both audience response and the tip jar reflects what worked and what didn’t. In this case, Lots of dancing, decent tips, and most importantly, leads for other gigs. Networking may be the most important reason for me to play market shows. I’ve landed a small festival gig that way, and had several leads for more lucrative work.
In a time when a lot of people play for money, or not at all, sometimes it’s best to play for love, and the money will follow. After all, if you don’t truly love the music you’re playing, and don’t play for the joy of it, then it becomes just a job … and I don’t know about you, but most people hate their jobs.