What a weekend!
As you are aware, the band and I were in Maryland this past weekend, performing at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. This is the parent festival of our beautiful, but now defunct little Ontario Renaissance Festival. My bandmate, Les, put it very well. Visiting Maryland isn’t quite like going home. Even though we’ve been several time now, the visits have been too few and too far between for quite that level of familiarity. It’s more like visiting your older, cooler sister.
I first visited Maryland after our inaugural year in Ontario in 1996. It was the first long car trip with the nice guy that I had met at our faire, (we’ve been married 9.5 years now) and my first experience with an established faire. I was utterly charmed by the entire “village” and in complete awe of established acts like the Pyrates Royale, who I have been a big fan of ever since. They all seemed so professional compared to us. It was a little daunting at the time. Now, 12 years later, it’s still a thrill to be performing on the same stages as some of these acts, for the same fans, and, according the the feedback we got from both acts and fans alike, holding our own. The same bands that both impressed and intimidated the heck out of me back then were nothing but friendly and welcoming, and it was a real pleasure to be visiting a big, well-established faire. The fans were enthusiastic and generous as well, and CD sales weren’t bad at all for an act no one had ever heard of. Several fans followed us from show to show over both days, and most of the “resident” performers made a point of stopping to hear at least part of a set. The kindness of the Hooligans, the Interpreters, Gypsophelia and of course, the Pyrates went a long way towards dispelling the away game jitters. I hope to see everyone again next year! Shows that far away aren’t exactly big moneymakers for us, but this one is good for the soul. It’s nice to re-establish the connection to the larger Faire community, and an opportunity to meet so many truly amazing, like minded people. Even the heat couldn’t dampen the experience this weekend, although it certainly made a noble effort. While the weekend ended far too quickly, it was a relief to be back home and in sweater weather on Monday night. Of special note, my kind hosts for the weekend were my former boss and dear friend from our faire, and his lovely and knowledgeable wife. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen them, and the experience was like visiting my big brother who’d moved away. I’ve missed having him at my table in the summer time, and very much enjoyed getting to know his wife a little better. He’d become a part of our family up here, and I was much reassured to find that neither the fondness nor the familiarity had been lost to time and distance. ( I admit, I was a touch worried) I’ve had the honour of making some wonderful friends in the Festival community, and we’ve become a lot like a big, if scattered, extended family over the years.
The only part of the trip that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy was the actual drive. I took a different route coming and going, and regardless of which route I choose, the entire state of Pennsylvania seems to be consistently under construction, and has been since at least 1996. At least I had company from another bandmate on the drive home. Jen observed that the state tree of Pennsylvania appears to be the traffic cone. We arrived exhausted but happy at about 7:30 Monday night.
Now I’m off to unpack my suitcase. After such a hot dusty weekend, it’s a 50/50 chance I’ll have to burn my costume. Go Borax go! I hope not, as I have another show on Saturday. The last of the season, at Royal Medieval Faire in Waterloo Park West. As much fun as it’s been, I’m looking forward to a little down time as the Festival Season comes to a close for us.
To everyone who’s come out to a show, bought a CD, or supported us along the way, thank you! It’s been a privilege performing for you.
Have a wonderful fall/winter season!