As of tomorrow, I will be back at the farmer's market scene in the June Rowlands Park, hosted by Appletree Markets. So in mini celebration of my return to markets, I want to reflect on how I got started there.
Picture this, it's 2015 and the spring of my Grade 11 year. I am a gangly, barely-out-of-puberty 16 year old and still think I understand what "good time management" means (just wait until university). One afternoon, I had met with a family friend downtown, she studied poetry at a university downtown, and I wanted talk to someone about my lyrics. On my way home from a very reality-inducing conversation, I had thought a lot about what she had to say.
"You need to perform in public if you want to take music seriously"
And I thought had performed "in public". At school assemblies, at open mics in my school, and in front of my friends, but it's easy to do something scary in front of people that support you. I thought I had been taking music seriously, but I was 16 and knew nothing.
With extra time on my hands and a lot of thinking to do, I walked through June Rowlands park, where the market was being held. I had been to this market quite regularly with my family and friends, so I knew the general gist of what was going on. As it was every Tuesday, the market was bustling. Children ran after each other between the stalls, parents ate fish sandwiches at picnic tables and couples looked at crates filled with fresh vegetables. But there was no music.
There was no guitar, violin, singing, nothing. And if a cartoon light bulb could have appeared over my head it would have. I made a beeline for what appeared to be the organizers booth in hopes that this "no artist" was not just a fluke, but they truly had no house musician. Fortunately (for me), they were musician-less.
Within a month or two, I was all set up to play at the market that coming fall. I would run home after school to collect my gear from home, and set up shop in the sun and played for passerbys, I set out a guitar case to collect change and played for four hours nearly every Tuesday the fall of my Grade 12 year.
Flash forward, June Rowlands Market is still one of my favourite places to perform. I've learned so much playing at that market. I learned to shake off any fears about performing in public, I've learned to escalate my professionalism even in relaxed environments, to construct a set list catered to your audience and engage crowds no matter the size. Markets remind me why I perform, why I write music. For the people who sit for a song or two, even though they have no idea who I am. For the regulars who comeback week after week to hear me play Tracy Chapman's Fast Car. For the people who are enthralled enough to buy an album. I am so excited to return to the June Rowlands Market this week and hope to see you all there.
From me, with love, to you,
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