Our production team referred to it as "N.A.P. Time." Naked Amanda Palmer.
The brash singer-songwriter agreed to give Fuse a three-song, stripped-down performance on day three of the Firefly Music Festival. And by "stripped down," we literally mean nude. Unfortunately, Firefly’s policy against nudity on festival grounds forced us to tone down the creative and keep her in bra and underwear. And that’s not the only problem we faced that afternoon…
N.A.P. Time was slated to take place at 3:00 PM Sunday afternoon at the Hammock Hangout, a secluded, tree-filled oasis where attendees escape from the crowds to relax in peace and quiet. Our production team arrived at 2:00 and set up in the center of the Hangout, positioning Palmer so that she would be surrounded by her fans. We had three cameras, a chair, two microphones and a light panel. By 2:20 the crew was in place, the equipment sound-checked, and we were ready to roll as soon as Palmer arrived.
Then the weather wreaked havoc on our plans.
Earlier in the day it had alternated between baking hot sun and periodic thunderstorms. At 2:35 the rain picked up again and we scrambled to cover our equipment, sacrificing our ponchos to protect the gear as we sought shelter in the trees and under hammocks. The crowd dwindled to a dozen brave (or just lazy) souls. Concerned, our producer checked his phone for the AccuWeather forecast. It predicted clear skies at 4:00. We hoped they would arrive sooner.
By 3:00 the downpour had turned into a full-on monsoon. We could hear Matt & Kim start their set on the Lawn Stage about a quarter mile away, but ours would not be quite so punctual. We received word that Palmer would wait for the storms to pass (in a dry trailer with her husband, author Neil Gaiman) and join us at 4:00, forcing her to cut her performance down to just one song.
At 3:10 the sun broke through and we uncovered our gear.
At 3:16 Palmer tweeted the following message:
if you're here at #firefly2013 - i may be magically appearing @ hammock hangout attached to the forest cinema at 4 pm to do something stupid— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) June 23, 2013
At 3:30, another monsoon and another mad dash to protect our equipment.
The rain finally stopped for good at 3:40, although the Hammock Hangout had turned into a Hammock Ghost Town. Would Amanda’s Tweet–or at least the lure of the hammocks–draw enough of a crowd?
The answer was yes. She arrived shortly after 4:00 to find a standing-room-only crowd armed, per her instructions, with washable, non-toxic markers. Not wasting any time, she quickly stripped off her clothes and gave the crowd some quick instructions on what to do with their markers. She then launched into a rousing performance of “Ukulele Anthem,” a five-minute romp overflowing with pop culture references that praises the four-string wonder known as the uke.
Behold the results.