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by Pril Stevenson
The little festivals held in towns all year long, the berry festivals, the logging festivals, the rain festivals, biker runs, the what have you, are totally a blast to play at.
You have a built-in crowd, more people than you would playing in a bar or a club. Hundreds, maybe a thousand if the stage is in a good place. The closest many of us will ever get to playing a big venue or even (in our wildest dreams) a stadium of some kind. The rush is awesome. I would wander around the crowd and it never seemed like that many people, until I got onstage and looked out at them.
Damn, there’s a lot of people out there.
I get so jacked up playing something like that. I almost can’t breathe. I almost can’t keep whatever is in my gut in my gut. I can barely talk. I forget everything I’m supposed to play until the first note of the first song, then it all comes back, and so fast that I can barely get my fingers where they’re supposed to be.
There’s simply nothing like it that I ever experienced. I jones for it. I like goofing at the jams, and playing with a band in a little dive, but I’m a screaming fool for a festival.
I started playing when I was 27, and I kick myself all the time for not starting earlier. The simple fact is that I didn’t have the patience to learn an instrument when I was younger. Personality defect, I guess. We all got ‘em. Mine was, and still is, that I have the attention span of your average housefly. I’ve had to teach myself patience, as well as music theory and how to play this stringed beast, and that’s been hard and I’ve struggled and cursed and bitched and thrown things, and then played a festival and felt like a million-dollar rockstar and the whole mess has been worth it.