Playing at the Farmer’s Market

A couple weeks ago Holly and I decided to see if maybe we could play at farmers markets in the area. It was my idea…not so sure it was a good one. I have never been a fan of performing background music (after playing for over 500 weddings/receptions I much prefer formal house concert settings) but since Holly and I hadn’t performed for anyone in a while I thought it might be a good idea to keep our chops up under pressure, however little pressure it may be.

We easily found an online list of farmers markets in the area and called to see about playing at the Dayton Market first. They sounded really interested and said they would have someone in charge of entertainment call us…they never did so we decided to show up and find a corner to play in. There was no music going on (live or otherwise) when we showed up, very few tents set up, about 6. We set up our cds with a sign for how much we were selling them for and a tip jar. Then we set up our stools 6 feet apart and started playing sets from our Scottish cd.

It had been a while since we played together, months actually and we were far from “tight.” I had been practicing the tunes with the cd for months but it was a whole different ballgame playing with Holly live and I kept getting distracted, ridiculously distracted, “oh, that’s a cute dress…nice sandals…etc…” and kept loosing myself. I finally had to shut my eyes and just focus on the music we were playing. Still new to this whole playing from memory thing…

Afterwards, we were handed an 8 page contract to sign for playing, I could tell the proprietor wasn’t too happy to see us show up unannounced… apparently there’s a hierarchy for who gets to play at farmers markets (who knew). And then to top it all off when I counted out our change afterwards we actually lost money. A kid, around 12, came and took a cd and it looked like he put money in but he actually pocketed a $20 meaning we ended up earning negative $5.

We tried…but I frankly don’t feel like trying again. We thought about playing near a food truck or busking on the river but honestly we originally got together a year ago to perform house concerts, indoor and outdoor concerts …not background music. I think we will let it go and just wait till Covid’s past and we can get back to it again.