Scoot: FQF disappointment turned into jubilation for Amanda Shaw

April 16, 2018 - 10:52 am

Have you ever noticed that sometimes great things result from great disappointments in life?  You want something to turn out a certain way before life interrupts that, but you realize that what you thought was disappointing was actually the best thing that could have happened.

And that’s what happened at French Quarter Fest when heavy rain on Saturday forced festival officials to cancel the entire day’s events for the first time in the festival’s 35 year history.  But what was a great disappointment for one performer - turned out the be the best thing that could have happened.

Fiddler/singer/songwriter Amanda Shaw was selected as one of the spokespersons for the French Quarter Fest 2018.  Amanda was featured in the television campaign and her picture was on posters and RTA advertising.  This was a special moment for Amanda Shaw, and she was thrilled about her performance this year.

But all of her excitement was washed away when a strong frontal weather system packing powerful winds, heavy rain and the threat of tornados jeopardized the safety of festival-goers.  Festival officials cancelled the entire day Saturday - the day Amanda Shaw was scheduled to fulfill her role as high-profile spokesperson for the festival and featured performer. 

Amanda’s devout loyalty to her fans and the cancellation of her fest performance left her with a sense of emptiness; but she also had a strong desire to find a way to perform for her fans, especially those who had traveled to New Orleans for French Quarter Fest. 

Amanda said in a text to me:

“The festival did the right thing by canceling the fest and look out for the safety of people, but I really honestly felt badly for the fans who had spent money to travel here, taken sicks days from work and had nothing to do.  And I felt really for my fans who look forward to my show at French Quarter Fest every year.”

Shortly after the official cancellation of Saturday at French Quarter Fest, Amanda had an idea.  With no guarantee that people would come and with only social media as a way of getting the word out - Amanda made arrangements to do a free show at the Hard Rock Cafe on Bourbon Street.  Would this be a bust?  Would people even show up?  This was certainly not the same as performing on one of the main stages before her fans at the festival the year she was a visible spokesperson, but Amanda thought it was something she could do for her fans.

With only 18 hours to put the event together and with the use of Facebook to spread the word, Amanda and the Hard Rock Cafe crossed their fingers.

Before the start of the show at 3:00pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon, there was a line to get in the Hard Rock Cafe.  As she approached the location, Amanda thought that a lot of people must have decided to get a bite to eat there.  What she didn’t realize until she walked inside was that the line was there to see her!

The Hard Rock Cafe had standing-room only for Amanda Shaw’s impromptu performance.  The Hard Rock was elated, and so was Amanda Shaw.  She sent me a text Monday morning.

“And it was seriously one of the best days of my life.  I wish I could explain the energy in the place.  It was truly magical.”

What started out to be a devastating day in the life of a young performer turned out to be “one of the best days” in her life.

The moral of this story is simple, and this happens more than you might think.  Great disappointment can lead to greatness, but we don’t always look at disappointment as an opportunity.  Amanda Shaw’s sincere devotion to her fans, combined with a sense of loss from the cancellation of her show at the fest, presented a gift for her and her fans.

The experience of being at Amanda’s show that wet Saturday afternoon and the word-of-mouth that will be generated from a standing-room only crowd will prove to be more beneficial to her image and her career than if the festival had not been cancelled.

We cannot control the challenges life presents, but we can control how we deal with those challenges.  Never look at a challenge as a defeat - look at it only as an opportunity.  The best definition of “luck” I have heard is “when talent meets opportunity.”

The disappointment of Saturday’s cancellation was the opportunity.  Amanda Shaw’s musical talent and her desire to do the right thing for her fans led to a great moment in her life and career.

If you allow great disappointment to turn your thinking in a negative direction, you may miss out on a great opportunity for success.

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