On the surface, whether you call it a session or a gig is a matter of
semantics. It goes deeper than that though. How you look at it is part of
a mind set.
As a relatively new fiddler, I look forward to when I can hold my own at
a session. If I were to show up at a pub with my fiddle under my arm, I
know the pub would not benefit from my presence in the least (it might
even be argued that they could lose business, but thereıs no reason to
hurt my feelings). My calling that a ³free gig² would be laughable.
Looking at it from ³Johnnyıs² point of view; if heıs a known person (or
would like to be), and he thinks that the establishment would benefit
from his being there, I can understand him thinking of that as a free
gig. Thatıs part of the mind set.
I wonder what he would call it, and whether he would be more inclined to
go, if the session were held somewhere other than a pub: some
non-business location where no money was to be made.
As someone who doesnıt get to many sessions, I have the luxury of holding
a more pleasant image when I envision one: a favorite painting of mine is
Norman Rockwellıs ³Shuffletonıs Barber Shop², with the scene looking
through a darkened barbershop from the outside into a back room where
some musicians can be seen playing. That to me is a classic session.