Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Puppet Festival

On Saturday June 18, we had two gigs. 

It started at 7:00 am, showing up at the Nashville Downtown Library to play for the International Puppet Festival. This was followed by a trip to Smithville, Tennessee for a wedding reception that evening. 

To add excitement to the day, WannaBeatle David was planning to return from a trip to Florida the night before our early morning show, but ended up stranded in Washington D.C.  after a late flight caused a missed connection. 

David's predicament led to a burst of creative energy in the WannaBeatles administrative offices that Friday night. WannaBeatles Nathan and Dennis, with extra help from Nathan’s wife Sally, sprang into action, finding and purchasing a new plane ticket for David, which would require his waiting at the airport until 4 am to catch a flight to Nashville. 

Getting David to Nashville in time for the gig was only part of the problem. Getting his drums to the gig was the other. 

After extensive discussions of options, Nathan displayed his native New England skills of pragmatic problem solving. He drove with Sally to David’s house in Nolensville, where he found the extra set of keys, opened David’s garage, located and loaded all of David's drums into David's van, driving David's van back to his own house, while Sally drove back in their car, finally arriving after midnight.

WannaBeatle Bryan, unaware of this nocturnal activity, arrived as planned at Nathan’s house 6:30 am Saturday morning. Nathan explained what had happened the night before, concluding with the new plan: the only way to make everything work was for me to drive David’s van containing his drums downtown, while Nathan drove his own, carrying his gear and mine.

We would have to wait for David to arrive at BNA, find his car, then drive to the Library to arrive in time to set up and play at 7:00 am.

And so, there was an extra level of improvisational excitement added to our morning. Not to mention a bit of lost sleep, especially for David, who had to spend the night in the airport.

But the emergency plan worked, and David arrived to greet us in the parking lot attached to the Library.
Arriving downtown with Dennis, Nathan and David's drums
before David arrives
Meeting in the parking lot for David's big adventure part 2
The empty tent before loading in our gear
Setting up for sound
Dennis coordinates information with production team

The Puppet Festival starts Saturday morning with a parade at 9:00 am. The WannaBeatles are scheduled to play immediately afterward, so we have to set up and be all ready to play before the parade starts. That's what makes it such an early morning.

But it makes for an interesting time before we play, watching a parade devoted to puppets created for the occasion. 

Announcing the beginning of the parade

The crowd assembled, with view of Library
One of the floats in the parade
A lengthy serpent puppet, 
requiring several handlers to keep it aloft
A duck puppet

The parade went longer than expected, but we finally started, and entertained the people under the tent, and the crowd beyond. 
Bryan and Dennis jammin' onstage
Pulling out the clarinet
WannaBeatle Bryan steppin' out

Wireless guitarist wanders into the crowd during a solo
More signs of a wild crowd

The Library did a great job of hosting the event, providing all the entertainers a cool room with lunch and snacks. 

After our set, Mr. Steve the Music Man performed, as we packed and gathered our equipment, retrieved the cars from the garage, and loaded them up. There was just enough time to drive to David's house, where he could gather clothes for the evening gig, and we could ride together in his van to Smithville.

Smithville is one of those smaller towns in Tennessee, not located near an interstate. Our route was through smaller roads, gently rolling terrain, expansive farmland, and sketchy cell phone reception. 

But we arrived at Evins Mill, a beautiful resort, to unload our gear, carry it down steps and through several rooms to set up to play the wedding reception in the dining room. 

Nathan captured a couple of shots of the resort, built on the site of an old grist mill.
Evins Mill
A new bridge to the old mill

There are no photos to show the gig itself. We were set up tightly in a corner, and there were beautiful flower vase settings on each table. We were allowed to join the wedding guests in the line for our meal, and took our plates to a cozy den on the lower floor. 

Five hours later, the party was over, and it was late Saturday night, with some tired WannaBeatles, when we finally loaded back up to drive back to Nashville.

David was especially glad that day was over. But we made it through both gigs just fine, in spite of the unexpected challenge of a missed plane the night before. Thanks especially to some quick thinking and acting by Nathan, Dennis, and Sally, The WannaBeatles met their latest emergency and turned it into a satisfying victory.

-Bloggin' Bryan 24August2016

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