Wow. August 30th was my last post? There’s quite a bit of catching up to do then isn’t there? Ok. Here are the highlights:
Scotland was magical! Matt played a wedding in Edinburgh Castle and was dressed in full regalia. The couple did such a good job, tourists stopped to have their pictures taken with him, as we waited at the Castle gates for our ride to the Queen Anne Room. Unbeknownst to us, not only was Matt performing, but we were considered guests at the wedding as well and had seats for dinner at the reception. What a fantastical experience to not only see, but to be a part of a Scottish wedding. Matt even “jammed” with a bagpiper! Prior to the wedding, we had some time to tour Edinburgh and took to our own two feet to see as much as we could in the time we had. Our first night turned into pub crawl. The next few days brought a Harry Potter tour as we stumbled upon a number of places J.K. Rowling conceived of, derived inspiration from, and dreamed Harry Potter into existence. We climbed Arthur’s Seat, took a tour to the Highlands, Glencoe, and Loch Ness. Our AirBnB hosts, Neil and Mitzie, couldn’t have been more kind, helpful, and thoughtful. We marveled at the unlocked doors, the good conversation, the beautiful home and solarium, and the delicious breakfasts which greeted us each morning. We had a hard time saying goodbye and look forward to returning soon.
Somehow, after an international flight; fighting jetlag and TSA (Matt had checked his Chapman Stick) the hard anvil cased instrument got held up at customs mostly due to our flights being so close together. We found ourselves sprinting from one flight to the other. Waiting one extra day before needing to be in Bar Harbor, Maine; we took on an impossible drive and tried to drive from San Antonio, Texas to Bar Harbor in a day and a half. We got to Connecticut before we gave up. Though we lost a day and three quarters at the Maine festival, we managed in the last few hours and last full day to get our feet back under us again.
The following weekend, September 19 and 20, found us in Deerfield, Massachusetts at the Old Deerfield Fall Arts & Crafts Fair in beautiful Historic Deerfield, a living history village. Deerfield was our “aha!” moment. In two days, we sold out of two CD albums. Both Rise (gospel) and Far and Wide (celtic) were HUGE hits. At one point, we had two people vying for the last album. I went into pre-order mode and we sold about 10 more CDs that way. The line at the ticket gate to get in formed well before the opening hour and while I went off to finalize getting the Roo (our new 18′ travel trailer), Matt was getting mobbed by people who loved listening to his melodious tunes.
Our last gig up east before heading back to Texas for the Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson, TX and the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, TX we played a local craft show in Avon, CT and had our first experience at an RV campground.
Yes! You heard right. We’re both driving and towing our “vision”. Now, it’s a regular part of our world to look for RV parks, overnight parking, and gas stations big enough to handle both the tow vehicle and the travel trailer. Our first tow vehicle was supposed to be a Dodge Durango, but after some driving and debate, we realized the Durango just didn’t have the power to pull the Roo. So, we stored the Roo at Ft. Knox Storage Systems in Montague, NJ and hoped we be back up east to get it before the snows came.
So, we drove back pretty much the way we came up and got to Richardson, TX the night before the Cottonwood Art Festival. With all our driving, we’re getting pretty good at setting up our booth for art festivals and now, the Roo, in the dark. Cottonwood was a success and you can see Matt’s interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WYxZ-fHNpI (if the link doesn’t work, copy and paste into your browser).
The Texas Renaissance Festival. Our expectations were set way too high and too much depended on it. The RenFest might have been fun as a guest, but we learned we’ll never be vendors at a Renaissance Festival again. That “carnival” atmosphere I mentioned in a previous post? This is a carnival set in the middle ages. That is the only difference. We met some amazing vendors there, made some great friends, but as a business decision. We chose poorly. That, however, will be rectified in 2016. As it happens, one of those friends we made is how we’ve come into our new tow vehicle. “Lucy” has been retired to a good home and now “Wanda” our Chevy Suburban carts us around the nation towing the “Roo”.
Five weeks into the Renaissance Festival, we made a decision to find some new gigs. This is our business and we were forced to make an economic decision and look for new gigs. I hoped we’d be welcomed back with the folks from Deerfield for their Old Deerfield Christmas Sampler Craft Fair and the email saying we were welcome was the catalyst to our split decision to split the RenFest. One problem, it wasn’t till the last weekend in November. We needed two more shows. Our thanks go out to Kristie at Northeast Promotions for welcoming us to her inaugural Hartford Artisan Showcase in Hartford, CT and to the Eldridge’s from Rainbow Gems who introduced us to the Castleberry Fairs who allowed us into their Worcester, MA show (the weekend before Thanksgiving) and their Salem, NH show to help us round out the 2015 season.
We’re putting the finishing touches on our 2016 season and hope to have the calendar uploaded to Matt’s blog before Christmas. We’re also working on a new booth display, packaging, and possible merchandising. I’ve picked up papercrafts, so if you’re in need of handmade bags, gift boxes, lampshades, or jewelry; I’m your girl. If you’re looking for musical gifts, have a listen at http://www.vibedeck.com/nowordsrequired and feel free to download directly or email us for a physical CD.
Remember: the best gifts are the ones that come from your heart and hands. Merry Christmas!