|John Hutson and Monk Rowe at MWPAI|
June 21, 2016
Summertime and the Gigging is Easy
(Well not always easy, but plentiful.) The summer season is a gig-friendly time for musicians. If I look at my June calendar alone almost half of my gigs are summer events — from outdoor community concerts to backyard birthday parties to class reunions and seasonal fundraisers. I am reminded that of all the arts, music offers the most consistent compensation assuming a musician can fulfill the requirements of the engagement. I don’t often say this to other musicians, but if they start down the path of complaining about the scarcity of gigs I might remind them of the plight of the dancer, the poet, the visual artist, and the other artistic endeavors. To them the idea of a paying gig is almost nonexistent. Check your local calendar of events for the summer and see how many poetry readings, dance events or “live” painters are offered to the public for summer entertainment.
This doesn’t mean that summer gigs are a breeze. Certain logistical elements arise exclusively during the summer, including weather-related cancellations or the unpredicted rain shower, and unloading and loading in extreme heat. But musicians are a funny lot. We will look at a calendar of events and see a venue, say a canal park, and we are reminded of our disdain for the place — dirt road access, stairs to the stage, mosquitoes at dusk, and short bread with a long wait for the check. The next thought in our head will be why weren’t we booked there this year.
The season also suggests the playing of some classic summer tunes. You all know what they are: “Margaritaville,” by Jimmy Buffett; “In the Summertime,” by Mungo Jerry; and “Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran. There are a few songs of summer that raise the bar both musically and lyrically. Check out our blog called Songs of Summer from 2012 for an example of one of the best.