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I wrote a blog about how performers view patrons and I feel I have to follow up with a “How we sometimes view other performers.” Often, we don’t because we are out  busting a hump to make our own performance happen. If you make the “notice” list I’m talking about here, well, it was nice seeing ya!

I am going to use a real-life example because they illustrated this so perfectly. One year at a small but lucrative faire, there was a group that came in for low-to-nothing cost. We had been doing the faire for about two years at that point when a group I will simply call “the Prima Donnas” or PD for short (Pain in the Derrieres, if you prefer) did something like we do but not really-it was noisy and involved physical skill. The first way they caught our attention was to complain about stage placement. You see this was a large field and we were given one of the long ends as our site. We’d set up the tent, made up a ring and posted a blackboard with our stage times. The other large groups would work out from the OTHER end. This group had arrived late to the fest and so, a lot of ground had been claimed. But we understood and said we’d be happy to share our ring when the time came. But you see they did not communicate within their own group so the following happened: confusion on where they were performing, when (which led to some indignity when they tried to use our stage on our scheduled times) and how much space their show took up. Still, we are easy-going, figured out a solution and moved on.

Following up,  they decided to have a public confrontation with one of our subcontractors about the manner in which he attracted crowd as his loud method was “too similar to our show.” Okay then. If our noise-maker is competing with your show, we are delighted to stop. I personally felt it said more about the quality of their show than we should know but, there you are. And this was topped off with that most heinous of sins…trying to steal our crowd during a show.

Folks, if you ever want to make the hate list of another act, you should either distract an audience during someone’s show or interrupt the acts’ tip time. That act may well do something dire to you while all the other performers cheer and offer suggestions. Bring the marshmallows, Martha, because there will be a bonfire.

So PD had not endeared themselves to us or to any of the other performers. And just when I thought they could not add another tickbox to Things You Don’t Do…

Another bit of background about this faire site, it was functionally a cul-de-sac. After our first year of being trapped for an hour in the parking area, we had learned to park outside the site in another lot and just hand-carry what we needed overland and get out of there. Other acts, staff, etc. found themselves trapped by one vehicle packing up and the attempts to leave could take hours. Had we really been charitable we could have warned them (they had light equipment) but after spending the day with them, we figured it wasn’t worth taking up any more of their precious time and air. So as we passed them, carrying our bags and satchels of swords and tent bits they whined about walking to their vehicle and complained about how their nice faire garb had become all muddy. Huh, mud at a faire ground, who would have thought it?

And we overheard one of them ask his companion why we weren’t helping and his friend told him that [equipment] wasn’t that heavy and maybe they’d asked enough already. One of my troupe-mates leaned over to me, under the bag on his shoulder and observed
“Don’t think we’ll be seeing them next year.”
And he was right, we never saw that group anywhere, ever again.

Be reassured folks, that we have seen *members of that group* involved in other events, so no, they were not lost and never seen again. Or had anything dire done to them.

But let’s summarize:

  • Don’t assume  you are the only act at a faire (or at least don’t act like it)
  • Don’t be a jerk to your fellow acts, we are in this together so try to swallow your bile and wear a smile, at least for a few hours.
  • Do be sure to know where YOU need to be and what YOU are doing because other than the organizer or performer representative, you’re asking too much of anyone else. 
  • Never, ever compete with someone’s act and audience at their stage. There is a Leprechaun in FL who has a bounty on his head, (only kind of kidding.)
  • Do be prepared and informed, or at least appear to be. Ask questions if you don’t know.

And finally, it’s an outdoor event. If you are not prepared to deal with the elements, you’re in the wrong business.