Dave Lange

Hill Country Blues

 

Thoughts on Busking at Farmers' Markets

I have played my fair share of Farmers' Markets this year.  Everything from huge Saturday markets that see thousands of people every week to very small weekday markets with only a handful of vendors.  One would naturally think that the best ones to busk at would be the largest and in many cases they are; but not always.

I did indeed play a very large market this past weekend for the second time this year and couldn't help but feel the special "vibe" here.  All the vendors were cheerful and friendly, glad to see the patrons who came.  They celebrated with applause every so often when I played a song they liked. The patrons celebrated to. The market managers (a husband and wife team) walked around tirelessly all morning greeting the vendors and patrons in a good morning, glad you're here kind of way. They even tipped me to say thanks for coming!  You could feel the good mood in the air.  Small crowds of encouraging parents and dancing children would form around me every hour or so.  It was an amazing experience!  This "vibe" permeated the entire market lasting right up to the bell signaling the end of the day.  Busking at this market was truly the best experience I've had and my personal favorite.

Then there are the smaller markets.  I recently played one of these a few weeks ago.  Maybe a couple hundred patrons visited the fifteen or so vendors here.  Surprisingly, however, the experience was remarkably similar to that of busking at the larger market.  But why?  The "vibe" was the same.  The vendors were all in a great mood, having fun, laughing, celebrating.  The "vibe" spread and it ended up being a great time all over again.

Final thoughts on playing at Farmers' Markets?  It's isn't the size of the market that makes it a good one, it's the size of the people's hearts who are there and the connections made with them. It's the whole reason I play music in the first place.

Busking Today In Old Town

Came down here today to see what all the hype is about Old Town being a busking hot-spot in Virginia.  Although I didn't see any other buskers, (not surprising for a Tuesday afternoon) I know that the tourist season hasn't quite begun yet.  Things should start hopping in a few weeks after the kids are done with school for the summer.  Bus loads of tourists will be pouring into the area at Market Square just up the road from where I am today.  

I was on a scouting mission more than anything but brought my gear just in case.  After looking around a bit, I finally decided to set up in between the two buildings that are the Torpedo Factory Arts Center close to the street where the foot traffic was using the alley way as an access point to the pier. No sooner than I started playing, I was met with some smiles from passerby's  along with a few tips including a couple healthy snack bars given to me by two young ladies.  A few people stopped to listen as well as a family with two little girls who danced and laughed as mom paused to look at her cell phone.

I overheard some nice comments from a few others but was also met by a grumpy old man with a scowl on his face yelling at me to turn it down.  It really wasn't very loud and it sounded great from the acoustics created in between the tall brick buildings so I just smiled, nodded my head in acknowledgement and kept right on playing.  He was long gone by the time I finished my song but I couldn't help but wonder how far down the street he was and whether or not he could hear me when I played the last note.