Written by Chelsea Lafayette
Managing Director of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival
One of the better Meet the Artist Q&As the Flynn has ever hosted was Pat Metheny’s live interview in FlynnSpace, prior to his MainStage performance back in 2007. I was working in the Flynn’s Programming department at the time, coordinating details for each performance. For this show (I was thrilled to learn) the job included driving Mr. Metheny and his tour around while they were in town. He had agreed to a Q&A that ended up taking place in FlynnSpace surrounded by the set Vermont Stage Company’s production that was in the middle of its Fall run.
As attendees filtered in, capacity quickly became an issue so we pulled some staff down from the administrative offices to help direct people and deliver the bad news when the space was full. I am not sure if one of the local professors was offering extra credit for attending but to this day I have never seen so many students at a Q&A, not to mention that the featured artist happened to play jazz.
Because part of my duties included whisking the artist away after these types of events, I typically got to enjoy the talk itself, as happened on this day. In the eleven years since the interview, I have attended countless pre-performance discussions, talk-backs, Q&As, listening sessions, etc. but at the time, it was one of only a handful I had ever witnessed so I may have taken for granted how present Pat Metheny was that day, and how generous he was with his answers and his time.
For me, the most memorable part of the interview came when he talked about how much he appreciated what goes into attending a performance: how you might have already worked a full day, or may be staying up later than you normally would; how you’ve spent money on a ticket and maybe food too; you’ve searched for parking or navigated public transportation. He talked about how none of that was lost on him and how it makes him grateful for every person who shows up each night to see him perform.
As someone whose livelihood depends on people deciding that it’s worth all that effort, it is not lost on me either. Thank you. Thank you for showing up.
Enjoy the show.
Should you be inclined to help entice others to put in similar effort, consider becoming a Friend of Discover Jazz to support bringing 100+ hours of free live music every year so everyone in the community can share in the experience.