Singer Songwriter Cape May needs a Shhhh! policy.
On the website of the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville Tennessee, under frequently asked questions, you will find the definition of a Shhhh policy. The answer to the question: “Too much conversation distracts listeners and is disrespectful to the songwriters who form the backbone of our music community. We encourage talking before the show, between sets and after the show but ask that during the performances, to keep talking as low as possible.”
The Blue Bird Cafe describes itself as “one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms and a venue that has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs; songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music.”
The same description fits the Cape May Singer Songwriter weekend-almost. Except we don’t always listen. Do we? We should be listening, here’s why.
Throughout Cape May on Friday and Saturday night (the last weekend in March) at almost every available stage there will be the “heroes behind the hits” potentially. Will we be listening? I hope so. No I really want it to happen. Of course that’s out of my control, but I can wish.
The other night while working my front desk I took a reservation from Ed Roman from Shelburne, Ontario Canada. Not that unusual except Mr. Roman will travel to Cape May for at most 45 minutes of stage time, in a crowded, possibly noisy bar. Of course there are other aspects of the weekend organized by John Harris and his dedicated crew. There will be networking and seminars and a great headline act in Congress Hall. But I am sure that “Special Ed” Roman, would like, make that hopes to be heard.
Some performers will travel from nearby New York, like Ben Rabb. Tom D’Ademo will come from Millford Connecticut, most likely with the same purpose as Ed Roman. They will come to network, learn and share their talents. All 150 Artists according to the event website, will in Cape May with the same idea.
I am not a stake holder in this event- other than my personal enjoyment. I realize the event organizers have little control over the venues and the individuals that attend. I just look forward to this event now in its eighth year, and love the variety of new talent that shows up in Cape May and don’t want one chord to be missed.
Then there is the economic impact of Singer Songwriter Cape May. The full hotel rooms in otherwise quiet March. The full bar scene in the waning winter weekend. If 150 acts drop $500 to $1000 each in investment for the weekend, considering transportation, lodging and meals-it adds up.
To me, its worth the City, her residents and the intentional visitors for the weekend to take Singer Songwriter Cape May seriously.
If the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville can politely ask (I’ll bet tell) people to be quiet, Cape May can show the same love. It may take a collective effort from venue owners, managers and even bartenders to make it happen but we can do it.
Singer Songwriter weekend is a little over sixty days away. If the next Bob Dylan is playing in Cape May will you hear him? Shhhhhh!!!