Farmers' Markets as a venue

I was pretty skeptical about playing acoustic at a farmers' market, but I have to say it has a lot to recommend it. Note that this is not the biggest paying or most glamorous gig one could play, but it's easy, fun and interactive. People listen and sometimes take your card for future reference. And there is compensation.
While each of the five or so markets I've played in the last year across midcoast Maine has its own rules and terms, the general experience is fairly straightforward. The band or group gets a small tent or overhang (or if you're lucky, an old cider press --- tres cool), puts out a tip jar, and plays for a few hours while the market is in swing. In most cases we play acoustic, although Rockland, for example, wants electric. The vibe is absolutely great --- fresh air, lots of different people, kids and the vendors themselves. You may make $10. per person in the tip jar, but there are other benes. At one of the markets we get a fresh, hot pizza, or a blueberry lavender tea. And all of them pay us with a large bag or basket of produce, cheeses, soaps, candles, breads and baked goods, lots of good stuff worth a good deal of money (maybe $20-$25 per person retail). And you're done by 1 pm latest. A pretty sweet way to spend a morning...

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