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Played on the Mardi Gras float!

Connie Z

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Hi all!


Well, we did it. We were the only live band in the Krewe of Mercury parade, which rolled yesterday (Sunday 2/23/2003) at 4pm. The weather was gorgious, and the crowds were great. The folks that were the "maskers" on the float were awesome too. Very nice and accomodating.


It was a double decker float, and we had the whole top level, which meant we were about 16ft from the ground.


We had to learn many things in anticipation of this gig! I rented a Peavy 12 channel mixing board and a Peavy power-amp from my favorite local music store, and we used two JVL PA speakers that our guitar player had. None of us had ever used this type of stuff before! So... we learned how. We did not become experts, but we did manage to make very good sound come out of the JVLs pointed toward the crowd. Our only real problem were not getting enough sound out of our monitors, so two of us were kind of flying by the "seat of our pants" as far as our playing and singing.


We got a great response from the Captain of the Float, and then the Captain of the Krewe. We are invited back next year.


We had a disappointing issue that occured with our tempo being very very fast for our whole first set, and then the repeat of that set, and then we finally quelled the problem during the third repeat of the set. We had only intended on repeating the set once, in our time schedule, but because we played so darn fast... well, we ran out of songs!


The neatest part of the whole experience, was watching the crowd and seeing their participation in the music. Clapping, dancing, singing along, etc. Our band was exposed to THOUSANDS of people who normally would have never heard us.


We even introduced a new "New Orleans" song that I just recently wrote, and even though they had not heard it before, they still listened and responded! Even amongst all of the crowd screaming and begging for beads and trinkets from the float maskers/riders!


It was a blast. I highly recommend playing on a float/truck in a parade. Any parade. Just make sure to create large readable signs to advertise your band name.


Happy Mardi Gras!


... Connie Z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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I was curious, too, as to how that went for you. I've never done anything like that, but I can see where it would be a hoot!


And you didn't mention the float stopping and equipment tumbling, so that's a good thing :)


Thanks for telling us how it went.

Bassplayers aren't paid to play fast, they're paid to listen fast.
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Originally posted by fig:

And you didn't mention the float stopping and equipment tumbling, so that's a good thing :)

I forgot to mention the "things to prepare for" in my earlier post!


So many of you gave me wonderful tips from my other post, we were as prepared as anyone could be, but having said that... here are the few little issues that I could mention.


We intended to secure the mic stands and music stands with duct-tape, but they had used the float the day before for another parade and there was smashed up donut on the floor, so the duct-tape wouldn't stick! There were little rings screwed into the railing, which the riders use to secure themselves, so they don't fall off of the float, so we tied our stands to those rings, and then taped where we could.


The starting and stopping didn't do much as far as knocking our equipment around fortunately, but it did a number on the muscles in our legs. Holding ourselves steady for about 4 hours caused the problem. But, we didn't really feel it until after the parade, and the adrenolin ceased to flow! The next day was a sore day too! (I'll probably be sore for two weeks, but I am in deplorable condition generally anyway!)


Our guitar player, (who is our hands-on, handy and skilled type of person with building things,) handled setting up the sound equipment. He built some shelves with 2x4's and pre-cut plywood and screwed them directly into the floor and walls of the float. He then screwed the PA speakers onto the shelves. They were very securely in place. This meant that we had to bring cordless drills/screwdrivers and screws, but it was worth it. At the float we realized we had forgotten the box of screws, but LUCKILY there were a bunch of long, perfect screws all over the floor and in the walls that the previous riders had used to "hang their beads."


We placed the Peavey KB30 amps we used as monitors, directly underneath the PA speakers.


He mounted the power-amp directly on the wall of the float flat against the wall.


We put the mixer on the floor of the float, but I would have preferred to have it higher up, because everytime he had to make an adjustment he had to bend down, which is tricky in a moving float.


The drums didn't move, which was great.


The parade started in daylight, but ended after dark. At one point the lights on the float went out, and we couldn't see our sheet music. The street lights were some help, but not enough. Luckily, the only two of us that use the sheet music, had the songs memorized enough.


Oh yeah, the big "near disaster"... before the parade started when we were getting ready to do our sound check, they turned on the generator, which is on the back of the tractor which pulls the float... and it wouldn't work. It was a little nervewracking while they worked on it, but they got it repaired and working fine in a very short time, and we were able to verify our sound. The tractor company which provides the tractors and the drivers, also brings an electrician/repairman who handled it perfectly.


There is a bathroom on the float lower level, but none of us "had to go." I think the rush of adrenolin shuts off the plumbing!


Some of the riders got very "tipsy" due to massive alcohol consumption, but only one person came up where we were, and that was only for a brief time, and he was no trouble at all. (except for trying to kiss me repeatedly, but in Nu Awlins', that just goes along with the territory!)


Next year, I would like for us to have our own truck to ride in, because:

We would have more room

We could have all of our equipment pre-loaded and ready

We could bring some additional friends and family

It would give us a huge "billboard" to display our band name and web address


We are already planning how to build it!


... Connie Z

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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Sounds like a very successful time. So what if you repeated the music - it's a parade - you are moving !!! My kids HS band marches in NYC for Columbus Day, and I think they do the same 2 songs over and over.


Glad it went well !! You can float on to more gigs - now that you've got your legs under you.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by CupMcMali:

Glad to hear it all went well Connie! Sounds like so much fun.


How's the new house and rehearsal room coming along?

Hey Cup, thanks for asking! The house is awesome. I have been renting since age 18 (now 43) and I had no idea how it would feel to "own" a home. It feels soooooo good. I feel such freedom to do so many things, such as:

play music loudly

break down a wall and rebuild it

plant any kind of garden I want

fix things when they break, the way I want them fixed (not half-_ssed)


And I didn't realize how much of an underlying feeling of responsiblity it was to be living in someone else's property. If I accidently burn down this house... well... it's mine, and I am not screwing anyone else up. I love that!


We officially moved in on Jan 24th, and I am almost finished unpacking. The music rehearsal room (garage) renovation won't be started for a few months yet, because of some minor improvements and repairs to the rest of the house. And of course, now my husband and I are BROKE!


The house has two garages. A one-car garage that is attached to the house, and a two-car which is detached. It is the two-car garage which will be converted to the music room.


I am using one of the bedrooms as a 'piano room' at this time. I have a Bradbury baby grand that lives in there, although it is on it's side right now because I need to repair the stripped-out screw holes for the legs.


If you would like to see photos of the house, I have posted them on my website at:



There is a slideshow there.


Cup, Whenever you come to America to visit, please make sure to hit New Orleans, and come jam in my music room!!!


... Connie

"Change comes from within." - Jeremy Cohen


The definition of LUCK: When Preparation meets Opportunity!



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