Monday, November 25, 2013

Bad Faire Days

This last weekend was one of those weekends that most of us would have rather snuggled into bed and not come out to play music for the crazy people who insist on attending a festival by their own choice on days like this.  It was cold.  During the week, we had perfectly gorgeous weather, then the weekend comes along and we get 40s for a high.  For some reason, this makes it feel worse, almost insulting.  However, this was most certainly not the worst faire day I have ever had.
All of those rainy days, the ones where it rains ALLLLLLL day long and makes the grounds a big mud pit.  All of those days were worse than this one.  I've had those at Texas Renaissance Festival.  I've seen those days at Maryland and Connecticut and Michigan too.
All of those days that the temperature was above 95 degrees were also worse than this weekend.  To constantly drink water and sweat every ounce right back out is exhausting.  At the end of the day, even if you've tried to stay in the shade and stay hydrated, you feel as if someone has beaten you.  The worst of these was at the Sherwood Celtic Festival.  A few years back, I had multiple weekends like this at Texas Renaissance Festival.  I've seen some pretty hot days with really high humidity in Michigan too.  One of those, I got fairly ill in the day.  I consider all of those worse days than this past weekend.
And possibly the absolute worst weather day I've seen at any festival was in Maryland.  The hurricane moved in and buckets of rain poured and poured.  They closed the festival at about 3PM.  It was dark as night and raining so hard I could not make it back to my camp.  I had to get a trash bag from a shop to wrap my instrument and waited for the rain to slow down just a little.  I made it back to my camp and stayed in my Camper van during the hurricane.  Definitely worse.
And I have played a few days where it was colder.  Sherwood Forest Faire risks cold days in it's February days.  My stage there is a target for wind.  The smoke from the well meaning fire ring blows directly into my face without the benefit of the warmth of the fire.  Cold, windy and smokey.  Sing through THAT!
Oh, and you know what's worse than weather issues at a faire?  Festival organization issues.  You see, weather cannot be helped.  It's an outdoor gig and weather is just part of the package.  But when a festival schedules things poorly or doesn't give performers a chance to offer their best performance, the performer is sabotaged by the very people who are supposed to want to share this music.  I will take ANY weather issue over a festival making my job more difficult than it should be.
This last weekend, it was cold.  It rained for about 45 minutes on Saturday, just long enough to give us an excuse to play in a shop rather than on our stage which we like to do because it feels cozy.  And Sunday it rained lightly for about 15 minutes.  My fingers only hurt for 3 tunes the whole weekend - the wind must have been blowing the wrong way.  I had mugs of hot cocoa, coffee and tea all day and didn't sweat a single drop.  I wore three pairs of wool socks, 3 layers of leggings, a wool undershirt, and 2 more layers of medieval dress, a wool hoodie, and a wool cloak along with a double layer of mittens and a fur hat.  I was snuggly warm in  my Medieval Eskimo gear.
So, even though it was not ideal, it was definitely no where close to the worst faire day.