Yes, ok, I know I’m a little slow posting this.
It’s taken me two days to recover.
The Chatham faire went well, all things considered. For a baby faire, they are mature beyond their years, and the spirit of the volunteers, indeed, of everyone involved is to be applauded.
It was a rough weekend. Four days of 30+ degree heat, combined with three days of rain made for a challenging show. This early in it’s lifespan, a weekend like this would be a major hurdle for any faire. Still, the shows were well received, and the audiences,though small, were enthusiastic. The band faced some challenges as well. Laura was sick, and by Friday night, I had the beginnings of what has turned out to be the cold from hell as well. Having to shout over the torrential downpour on Saturday didn’t help any, but that’s what you do when it rains. You get wet, and the show goes on. The audience that stayed was not to be abandoned just because of a little rain.
The feast on Saturday night was a sell out, and the Tartan Terrors rocked as they always do. For Nero’s Fiddle, a chance to indulge our collective crush on Steve Sinnicks, so it was a great evening! The crowd was damp, but really enthusiastic, and apart from putting on a great show, the Terrors were gracious, and genuinely supportive of us as a younger stage act. Chelle and Duncan, the organizers, are to be commended for their efforts, and for their choice in delegates when it came to sharing the work among competent hands. In twelve years of performing now, I’ve never seen such a dedicated group of volunteers. We’re looking forward to helping them celebrate their wedding at next year’s faire!
There were some minor hiccups, also to be expected in a young faire. Jousts that routinely ran 30 or more minutes over time meant that any entertainment scheduled within 30 minutes of the PLANNED end of a joust lost their audience, as they were still at the jousting list, and any entertainment planned anywhere NEAR the joust got shouted down, simply because the joust had the benefit of a sound system, and the stage acts did not. Still, the faire is a work in progress, and these issues are addressed as they arise. Those of us who came from the Ontario Renaissance Festival have become slightly spoiled when it comes to organization, because even in year one, we had the benefit of a management team with 20 years experience. For a young faire, Gregor’s Crossing performs remarkably well. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good faire fix without crossing the border.
Our CD sales were ok, considering that the weather conditions and a gate price that may be a touch high for a small faire likely kept much of the potential audience at home. We had to consider our material selection very carefully for the first two days, as they were school days, and every school age child from grade 4-8 in the county seems to have been there. Most of our upbeat songs are a little “mature” for young audiences, and the slow pretty songs, while musically sound, don’t hold their attention for long.
Wench croquet got rained out, which is a shame. The one day that we were able to play “peasant croquet” was very popular, and we will definitely come prepared to play again next year.
This was also my first performance since getting sick the year Owen was born that I have done without benefit of steroids or narcotics. No, for those of you just joining us, I’m not a junkie. I have a chronic auto-immune condition that causes my immune system to attack any system in my body at random. Some days I can’t hear, some days I can’t walk, some days I’m fine. It was a lot harder than I’d anticipated. I used to be able to do three to four months at a pop of working 7 days a week during our summer season, and I’m still learning my new limitations. It’s disappointing and frustrating to discover how much endurance I’ve lost in such a short time.
The hotel was less comfortable that I would have liked, with air conditioning that didn’t work well for the first two days, then stopped working altogether after we asked management to “fix” it. Management was very surly about finally changing our room when at 11pm on Saturday we couldn’t handle the heat any longer. We were in a room that had clearly been a smoking room, and even Hurricane Owen came home smelling like a two pack a day smoker. Low water pressure and the heat in our room made getting cleaned up and dressed a little difficult, as anyone who has ever tried to shampoo long, thick hair under a trickle of water or tried to lace themselves into an Elizabethan corset whilst sweating like a pig can attest. Still, it beat camping, and had the convenience of being directly across the road from the site, so that those with small children in their care could go back and forth without difficulty. In spite of the smell, Hurricane Owen has been asking to go back to the hotel since we got home, so I guess he didn’t mind.
I’m off today, and Hurricane Owen is with me, also having been sick since we got home, so I’m trying to do a mountain of laundry and clean my house with a sick child in tow, while still sick myself. Poor Sweet Hubby goes straight from one job to the next today, so he’s had no time to even catch his breath.
Overall, a good time was had, and the faire was a success under the conditions. With better weather, and another year under their belts, next year will be even better! I love this faire for the community they’ve managed to create in a short time, and for their very kind treatment of us as performers. Is it perfect? No. Is it a pleasure? Yes. It’s also an honour to be in more or less on the ground floor of a faire with such staggering potential. If you didn’t make it this year, come next year! It’s worth the trip!
Sorry I wasn’t able to make it, but I’ll see you in Guelph.