Mother Nature, why you gotta be like that?

If you perform outdoor shows, eventually you’re going to find a forecast that’s less than ideal as your show date approaches.  When that happens, you can plan for it, extra layers for cold weather, waterproof covers for your equipment, etc.  Unfortunately, sometimes the forecast is wrong… really wrong, and you might not have brought what you need to compensate properly.  The show must go on, right?

This weekend I performed back to back dates at the Huron Valley Farmer’s Market and highland’s fall festival end of summer bash.  I was joined on Saturday by a local performer, Laura Belliston, swapping songs, performing some duets and accompanying one another.  Now, I knew it was going to be cold, but for Saturday, that was about the only part of the forecast that was even close. 

We were given a 10×10 pop-up shelter and power, which is standard for this venue, as we weren’t on the main stage.  It was overcast, but nothing appeared on  radar for hours yet.  With three mic’s inside the tent, I placed the speakers and subwoofer well outside the tent, got everything dialed in, had a good sound check, and just as we were ready to go, it began to drizzle.

I checked the radar again, and still nothing for hours, despite standing in a drizzle that was quickly becoming rain.  We muted the channels, and moved the speakers and subsoofer back under the tent, and the wind picked up.  Now, it was blowing straight into the back.  Scrambling, I remembered a drop cloth in my van, and we cobbled together a wind block to keep the rain out, and we got to work on a new sound check.

Stuart Benbow, with guitar, porchboard and voice, with Laura Belliston on harmonies

With mic’s within a few feet of speakers, the volume levels had to come down quite a bit, but we were ready to go on, if a little later than planned.  

As the day progressed, rains came, went, and came again with no warning.  The speakers were moved in and out as we were able, but the winds changed direction often, the rain became more constant, and by the end, required everything to be piled closer to the middle of the tent, us included, and the volumes had to drop even further, but we played as much of the 10-2 scheduled time as we were able.  Even with the rain, there were people who came out to listen, to say hi, to enjoy the festivities, and show their support.  

Laura was an absolute joy to share the stage with, and helped me enjoy what could otherwise have been a miserable day.  Likely, you haven’t discovered her yet, as she is just beginning her musical journey.  With a wonderful voice, a gift for harmonies, guitar and piano, she’s going to be one to watch.

Laura singing and playing to my percussion accompaniment during a brief break in the rain.

In contrast, when I returned on Sunday, performing alone, it was cool, sunny and windy the whole day.  Next weekend is my last outdoor show of the year, and I think I’ll be bringing proper covers for everything, regardless of what the weather man says is coming.  If I’m ready for everything short of the apocalypse, it’s bound to be a beautiful, perfect day.

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