In the past I’ve avoided playing summer festivals with the harp out of fear of damaging my baby. At the time I was primarily a vocalist & new to using the harp professionally. Now, the harp is a central part of all my musical endeavours & I don’t want to avoid festival gigs anymore. However, I’m still completely panicked to the whole idea.
How do I deal with the grass & mud? Storing the instrument securely? I intend on camping with the rest of my band & I’m not sure if set times will allow me to drop the harp at a hotel then reenter the festival; if they can I fear it would come out of my own pocket. Also, I don’t drive (nor do the rest of my band) which limits going back & forth to a hotel as I have to rely on taxis. Lever harp is not appropriate for the type of music I’ll be playing.
If there is anyone here who has done this or could offer some general advice? Some suggestions on things to request or ask the organisers would be helpful also.
Of all the things that you mention, I would say safe storage seems to be your most difficult problem to solve. Have you thought about renting a harp local to the festival? Then you don’t need to worry about storing it as whoever rents it to you would arrange for transport (at your expense.) As for grass/mud/etc. I would speak to organizers about this and what can be done to help you. Then you can have a plan for the harp you are renting to present to people that are wary of renting to an outside gig. As for this coming out of your pocket, it is quite often one of the difficulties of travelling with a harp. Its a bummer. You can always ask your bandmates to chip in. Just some ideas…
I can only suggest taking a proper harp crate, if there’s a lot of gig staging and equipment, there’ll be room on the van and backstage for a harp crate, so you can put the harp away, but you’ll need to think about shade and humidity, or a ventilated area, you won’t want the harp to bake.
Thanks for all your advice. I’ve officially played my first festival with the harp & it was amazing but also a complete and utter nightmare. I’ll write a blog about the experience & post it on here shortly. I definitely have a lot of considerations to make for next summer.