The compère shouts her name and the newly famous singer-songwriter comes on stage shyly, cradling her guitar. The crowd roars. At the front of the tent, people are sitting on mats, packed tightly together. There's a crush at the back, standing people pressing in out of the chill. It's very late at night.
The newly famous singer-songwriter has been tipped for a few months by those in the know. The internet has known her name, played her tracks, talked her over. She started appearing in the edgier magazines a couple of months ago. Now she's in the papers too. Some people have remarked caustically on her quick success, on the ease with which she's slipped onto the radio. These people believe friends have pulled strings, unfairly, unjustly. Others rave about her wit, precision, beauty. She's moved from the ones-to-watch columns to the colour supplements, the gossip pages. Last week her second single jumped in high in the charts.
Now she is alone on stage, big acoustic guitar clutched tight against her chest, playing her songs.
At the back there is a scuffle. A man trying to see over a tall girl in front of him has shoved inappropriately. People remonstrate. Maybe fists are swung. Some of those further forward glance back cautiously. There are hisses, demanding silence. The man feels he's been wronged. Most people are a little drunk. Others in the crowd intervene and the man is shamed out of the tent.
She doesn't notice this, the newly famous singer-songwriter. She plays her songs, simple guitar parts under her pretty, fluting voice. Between the songs she is shy, self-deprecating.
Two weeks ago, the tent would have been emptier. Her name would have been just a name like others on the bill, an unfamiliar label, not something to conjure with. Now she's taken off, though, so we have to see. Peer pressure has us peering, assessing, analysing. Under the lights, she smiles.