Wow, what a season we had at the Texas Renaissance Festival this year! It's rare for us to be welcomed as warmly as we were by both cast, merchants, and performers. Often when we first arrive at an established festival to perform we're treated like a strange contagious animal that might or might not bring ruin for everyone. Not at this festival, though. I guess, it only took a couple of times of watching us in action to see that we don't take ourselves seriously at all and are willing to talk and play with everyone around us.
A special thanks must go out to some of our favorite buddies at the festival for making us feel welcome, including but not limited to: Dane and the Pride of Bedlam pirate crew for inviting us to perform at the end of day pub sings with them (including a special one on the last Saturday that I'll devote another blog post to later), Kat (Queen Margaret), Rosella (Queen Catherine), Stacy Bakri, the entire French ensemble, the serving people at the food courts, and, of course, Nicole (Mary Tudor).
I want to share a story with you about Nicole. You see, every Sunday morning at TRF our first show of the day was at 9:30 in the morning and our stage is nowhere near the front gate. As anyone who attends or works faires knows, Sunday mornings are always dead, especially in Texas where you can't serve alcohol before noon. In addition, TRF is a really large festival, so unless someone ran from their car, there's almost no way they can make it to the start of our first show. This means we usually had maybe 1-2 people there to sing to at the beginning of the show (not including the food court workers) that would increase to closer to 15-20 by the end of the show as people finally made it down.
Well, outside our cars a couple of weeks ago, we made a bet with Nicole that she couldn't get 10 people to show up at the start of our show for the last Sunday morning of the festival. If she did, then she got a full set of CD's. In addition, if she could get 30 by the end of the show, she got a free T-shirt. We thought the task would be tough enough for her as most of the cast that she might be able to rely upon were all stuck up at the opening gate ceremony until 9:45 or so. Then, to make things even more difficult was the weather on the last weekend: rainy, windy, and 40 degrees outside. We figured there was no way in hell she'd do it.
Then came Sunday morning. At 10 minutes to showtime, no one was there. At 5 minutes to showtime, 6 people showed up sent by Nicole. A couple of minutes later, 2 more showed up. However, at 9:30, there were only 8 people there that had been sent by Nicole and we played it off that she had lost the bet. Truthfully, though, 4 more people came to see that show that probably would not have come if there weren't people already there watching us, so you have to give her 1/2 credit for each of those and that makes 10.
By the time cast members started making it down, we were at about 18 people or so and when Nicole got there, she counted the crowd, saw that she was short of her quota and started running around the festival, gathering up anyone who was nearby and dragging them to see our show, whether it was patrons (and there weren't many of those at the time), vendors, or other cast members. By the time she was done and we were on our last couple of songs, we had 45-50 people or so gathered around us to watch the Sunday morning Bilge Pumps show. Needless to say, it was very cool, so she more than earned her CD's and T-shirt. We probably had more people at that show than we had at all of our other Sunday morning shows combined. Amazing.
Since so many people showed up we turned our traditional "No Request Show", which we do on Sunday mornings and perform all the songs that people never request, into an actual request show, letting the audience choose the last couple of songs. I have 30 seconds of great video footage that I took from my camera phone onstage during "Johnny Jump Up" where Harvey had the audience dancing like crazy, including the Queen. Good times.
All in all, that was just one story in many that we have from performing at the festival this year and we'd like to thank the TRF family for welcoming us and making us part of your show. Thanks also to Jeff for hiring us (after years of putting up with us pestering him about it) and giving us a place to play.
On a personal side note, I want to thank everyone for being so nice to my wife Terrie and baby girl Sahara, especially Kat and Stacy. Every time you guys made our sweet girl smile, it made our day.
Because it's all for me blog. Me jolly jolly blog.