Hurricanes are the great interrupters, and if you have lived on the East coast of the US, you know the drill. Right now forecasters place North Carolina as Hurricane Florence’s most likely target, but wind and rain will affect many who are outside the direct hit area. Business takes a wallop, and consequently, so do working musicians.
When Irma hit Florida in 2017, we had prepared as much as we could. We were given ample warnings. My daughters were booked for different gigs in two states. Those gigs were canceled ahead of the storm, and they did a Facebook Live event to reach out to their friends in the ‘Daysie chain’ as we call it.
We lost power for a brief period, but thankfully, it was back on after a day or so. My daughters had no power at their places for days, so everyone headed to our house. We had six adults, a toddler, and three dogs here, but everything went very smoothly. I was just grateful we had a place we could all hunker down as our city cleared debris and got the power back on everywhere.
Every September, I am reminded of the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, when our country was attacked. But I am also reminded of Hurricane Hugo. That storm defied predictions and turned inland in 1989. I was three weeks away from delivering my second child. It was the fiercest storm I’d ever personally experienced, and I hope it’s my last. Irma was a piece of cake compared to Hugo.
I’ve often told the tale of a poem I wrote about Hugo. The poem was in the full collection a regional publisher brought out. I did a lot of readings, part of fulfilling my contract. At most readings, there were people who perceived my “For Hugo” poem as a love poem about a man.
Many of us are praying for the safety of anyone in Florence’s path. If you’re a working musician in the target areas, persevere. My daughters lost a great deal of money because of Irma last year because of weather-related cancellations, but once things got back to normal, they were busier than ever.
If you’re a working musician, get prepared and if you’re told to leave your area, listen and do it. A hurricane party sounds great until you’re in the middle of a storm bending pines in half and toppling oaks as rain drenches everything around you.
If you’re a fan of live music, and once this is over, you’re in an area that was affected, please tip those working musicians generously. Those who do music full-time rarely have a financial safety net.
(Kay B. Day/Sept. 11, 2018)