Musicians are always asking ourselves.... if we are not getting paid, do we take the gig? If our compensation is tips, and we don't make any, do we return? You can find this question with many different answers on the internet. Formulas for deciding to take the gig or not. Admonishments for taking non-paying gigs, which 'make it harder for musicians who gig as their only income to be able to do that'. I get that. Rick and Marilyn decided a while back that we would respect our fellow working musicians and only do charity gigs for free. We don't see this music making thing as a hobby. It is a second job for us, and work that we love and want to continue, and we also respect our peers who need the income to go from day to day.
So, yesterday, we made $3 each over two gigs, 35 miles apart. Disappointing? Hardly. Let me tell you about it.
We got to the Wine, Brew and Beverage festival a little later than we meant to, which meant we carried in our gear. We were first up and there is a small stage which is mostly taken up by a drum set. We decide to set up on either side of those drums. There are a few people milling about. After a nice intro by Lex Grey, who is our host today, we play. Mostly originals, but a few covers. Almost all songs about alcohol. Well?? It fit the occasion. The festival is the major fundraiser for the parks in Catskill, providing equipment for adults and children. There is a little disconnect there... but one of the major sponsors is Columbia Memorial Health. Drink Responsibly. Rick and I felt pretty good about that gig. It was fun! We got to play to help raise money for play areas! YES!
Then a brief break before taking off for Sheffield, MA and Race Brook Lodge... a wonderful, rustic place to stay, with, btw, great meals!! Highly recommended!!! So, after seeing the space, which looks like an underground cave, we decided we didn't need to amplify. When we started playing, we were totally alone in the room. Nope, the bar is upstairs, not even a waitperson in sight. After a while a man came, very supportive, very obviously enjoying what we are doing. He encourages us to go upstairs into the dining area and play one song so people 'could hear' and then come back downstairs. After we realize he is a relative to the owners, we go on upstairs. Everyone appears to enjoy our songs, and we return to the cave. In a little bit, a family comes down. So now we have a small audience, with requests. We can do SOMETHING similar to the artists they wanted to hear, and we laughed and picked out songs to do, and ended up just simply having a WONDERFUL time. I got to sing songs I haven't even thought about for years, Rick got to play songs that were challenges, and the audience was totally forgiving over lack of polish, understanding we were reaching deep for songs by the artists they were requesting. What a fabulous time! We had fun and I think our audience did too, and we played until they were tired out and ready to go. We were too!!
As we were cleaning up, I checked the tip bucket, which was on the side as you come in, with a small sign. We never mentioned it, and I don't know who put in the $6 I found there. Rick and I laughed, but agreed-- sometimes, it is not the money that gives worth to your performance. Sometimes it is the good times, the great fun.
So will we go back? I know we could not recreate last night, even with the same people in the room, but yes, we will go back if given the chance... because we HAD FUN, we HELPED OTHERS have fun, and that is what is really important.