The Big Orange Tarp, known as the BOT, has a quarter century history of presenting campground music and other showcases. The BOT was created by Alan Rowoth to provide a strong listener experience and to help performers connect with fans and presenters.
Feature Song Circle Protocol: The Big Orange Tarp is a song circle, typically featuring 6 chairs (acts). We usually go twice around the circle, replacing each performer one song after his/her last song so the circle can continue without interruption.
Checking In: We like participants to be there at least 20 minutes or so before your round starts. If you are late, your chair may be given to someone else. (So Don’t be late.) If you are slated for the second or third round, report to the Stage Manager when you arrive and he/she will tell you which chair to sit in and when. (If you don’t know who the Stage Manager is, get the attention of Emcee and he will direct the Stage Manager to you.) If you are booked for a feature and plans change, you must let us know at least an hour before the feature starts so that we can replace you. If you don’t contact us and are a no show, you may be suspended from future participation in BOT features and conference showcases.
POP Goes the Main Stage: The Emcee may, at his discretion, POP in a surprise guest between songs of the round. (So please don’t start playing until the Emcee gives you a nod.) The POP allows the Big Orange Tarp to feature well-known performers at a moment’s notice and it reminds listeners that anything can happen at any time at the BOT–raising audience excitement levels.
Staging and Tech Notes: When you actually perform your songs, you don’t need to stay glued to your seat. You are welcome, even encouraged, to stand to perform, especially if it helps you sing better or engage the audience more directly. You also are welcome to bring along side players (who may need to sit behind when not performing). We try to have a house piano available, but check ahead. Other instruments are not provided. There is no vocal PA, so choose a song that you can vocally project to our listeners.
House Band: At Falcon Ridge, this year’s supporting cast include George Wurzbach, Eric Lee, Dirje Childs, David Glaser, and Mark Dann. We had sit in assistance from Ephrat Shapira, Brad Yoder, Hugh McGowan and others. We hope to have them on hand again for future events. These are accomplished, tasteful players, but feel free to ask them to sit out if you feel your song wouldn’t benefit from their input. In the interests of time, we ask that you don’t parcel out solos to all of these talented folks in every song. Use them as you would on a recording. Let us know if you want to meet with house band players prior to performance to solidify arrangements.
Open Circles: Time and weather permitting, we try to always host open song circles after our feature presentations. We never feature anyone we haven’t seen perform live, so these are a great way for you to get onto our radar screen. During Song School and on nights with no prearranged feature, we often go Open Circle all night long. In the interests of time, please try to keep your song and intro combined under 5 minutes total. These are focused more on networking and song sharing, with less concern for attracting presenters.
Our Mission: Our primary goal at the Big Orange Tarp is to present musicians in the most effective way possible to book gigs and make friends. Please help us do that. The Big Orange Tarp neither encourages nor disparages drinking, but if you are too impaired to play, you will forfeit your chair.