Traralgon Eisteddfod 2009
I had accepted the position of house musician in the Country section of the Traralgon Eisteddfod a couple of months ago and the time has arrived to deliver. I wasn't exactly sure what I was letting myself in for, but, it's something I haven't done before, so why not?
On the Tuesday before, I somehow managed to slice a bit off the middle finger of my left hand cutting the lettuce. Needless to say this caused me some discomfort. The wound healed very cleanly, but was still tender over the weekend.
Saturday was the first day and I was a little surprised at how much my services were not required. This is the result of the following: Some performers,
I had sort of prepared myself to be used by lots of performers and had envisaged a huge workload. Even though, it was a thirteen hour day.
I have not made the use a capo a normal thing for me in my usual playing (except for strange things like 'Here Comes The Sun'), but it has proved to be most valuable at this event. Unfortunately, this doesn't help me with my Bass playing, as I have to mentally apply a transposition in real-time. Sometimes, I just have to stop playing until I work out where I have to go.
The only faux-pas for the day was when I forgot to apply a capo on the third fret for a performer I was supporting. It completely threw her until I realised my mistake, it was me: I owned up! Applying the capo helped, but the performer was still confused until someone from the audience sang the first line in key for her, then things went fine after that. I think I'm in the bad books with the performer now and that's a shame, for me. Well, I am only human. I have experienced the situation where the supplied CD has failed and that's even more tragic if the live musicians can't provide a Plan B replacement.
Overall, the attitude was positive.
Near the end, there is a section for instrumentalists. One duo had trouble with getting a sound through the P.A. A quick check revealed that one of the guitars was at fault. (It appears he dropped it earlier.) I offered my guitar as a replacement and off they went.
Events like the 'Cooeey event' were novelty events that have to be seen to be believed.
The most sobering experience was watching Hamish Davidson perform as the adjudicator. Don't get me wrong, but watching Hamish normally seems like organised chaos. Not so today. Hamish was most reserved and insightful to the participants. I hope they had a good listen to take in his advice as he had lots of wisdom to dispense.
Sunday was slower with a surprising number of withdrawals.
More novelty events like the comedy section, all very good fun and rather creative.
Didn't make any capo mistakes today. As a postscript to yesterday's faux-pas, the performer I thought I had upset yesterday wasn't upset for long and was laughing about it by the end of the day. She had meant to tell me but forgot. I backed her again today and it all worked rather well.
As the day progressed more people made use of my services.
Hamish performed a small workshop before presenting one award. With respect to guitar performance, Hamish encouraged the use of microphone's instead of 'plugging in' and perhaps even try altered tunings. I'm sure he scared a lot of players with his 'Leap of faith', but, he was right on the money.
At the end of the day, after all the awards were presented, Hamish with the 'Benedetti Sisters' and with me on Bass performed 'Hey Good looking'. Hamish and I played another two songs from their new CD after that. No rehearsal, just straight in and rely on my ears to work things out. Hamish had re-tuned his guitar so I couldn't recognise any of the chord shapes he was using:Just hang on and play!
The sound technicians were first rate. Really on the ball.
Everyone was most supportive, and this reflects the efforts of the people who put the event together. What a great event!
All in all, a most positive experience.
Glad I accepted the offer and have learnt from the experience.