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Fest For All.... a great little show in Baton Rouge

 I don't even know how to explain this show.....except that last Fall I went to a show in Covington, Louisiana that I really liked... not just for the fact that it was a good solid sales show for me, but also because I just really liked Louisiana( a first time for me) ... and it didn't hurt that they also have great food and know how to make an excellent Bloody Mary.  

So, since I have never been able to crack the hard shell entry to the New Orlean's Jazz Fest in the last four years,  I decided that maybe it was worth the drive to try out Baton Rouge. It was a new listing on Zapp but a show that had been around for a few years. After arriving, I found out that it was a show that was under new management this year and the director, Malcolm Robertson was trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. Without any irony, (which there is plenty of in the deep south) I would like to declare..."Bless His Heart" - he did an amazing job- I can't even imagine what he must have been up against. He was helpful and accommodating and really nice while keeping everyone happy.

Let me back up a bit and tell you a little background. It was a 10 hour drive, that is never an auspicious beginning for me.... any time-any show. Plus, last Thursday and Friday there were more Tornado warnings up in down Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana than you could shake a stick at. Booth spaces got assigned last Thursday...and that is when we were notified that set up was on Saturday morning. I walked the show on Friday night when I got there and I realized I had a booth spot that would be in full sun and emailed Malcolm to see if I could change my spot. Even though I sent an email on Friday night...I showed up early on Saturday and wondered what to do. Malcolm helped me move my booth and I was set up under some big oaks and out of the direct sun ( I'm an encaustic painter) .

 The show was set up in the main historic square with plenty of space behind the booths for storage. Once the show started I was really surprised at the crowds. There were about 80 booths that were set up on the tree lined median. I can't say that Saturday was very warm and it got pretty windy but luckily there were no flying tents and nothing too crazy happened.

The people of Baton Rouge however did come out in full force and were eager to buy and everyone I talked to had a good solid day. There were also a good amount of awards given out and they were pretty substantial amounts. I was lucky enough to be one of the recipients.

I usually hate when music is close to me at a show... but honestly, I was amazed at the diversity of musical genres that were on display, Everything from poetry jams to rap to mariachi bands -to great folk and indy bands.  And I only heard one stage! There were two other stages with the main stage pretty far from the artist venue. It was well thought out and really enjoyable. The show delivered lunch to the artists, which was a nice touch...But, just a wish for next year... Please provide coffee in the morning, as most of us are truly addicted and need it desperately and there was no place open or around to purchase it in the A.M.

Sunday was warmer and sunny and no wind and the crowds came out again. For me personally, it wasn't as good a day as Saturday but it was still decent. The potter's I talked to said they had done well and the painter next to me had a good show, but I was on my own, so I didn't get around as much as I would have liked. Load out was easy as we were aloud to bring our cars right up to our booths. 

For a show in transition, I felt like I was at a show that had the potential to be great in a few years. It had good bones and a director that wanted it to succeed. It had great music and a buying crowd that usually has to go other places to get any art that isn't local. It's a drive, that for sure... but sometimes it's not such a bad thing to go with your instincts and take a chance on a show that isn't tested and reviewed. It's risky, that's true... but you might just be pleasantly surprised! And if nothing else...you will definately appreciate the Bloody Mary's.

Views: 661

Comment by Nels Johnson on April 5, 2016 at 2:55pm
Excellent report, I have passed thru Baton Rouge enroute to Ft. Worth many of a time and wondered how this show was. Now, you have given me a clear picture. Thanks.
Comment by carrie jacobson on April 5, 2016 at 4:44pm

Yes, Margaret, thank you for this. I'm always looking for early-in-the-year shows, and I have friends in Baton Rouge, so this might be one for me. I'm so glad the weather didn't play havoc with the show. I appreciate your sharing this information. 

Comment by Sandy Walker on April 5, 2016 at 10:48pm

This is a great review Marge. Too bad about no coffee though. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!?!? I'm so glad you took a gamble and had a good show!

Comment by Cindy Welch on April 6, 2016 at 9:13am

Margaret, thanks for the review.  I am in Louisiana, about 2 hours from BR and about 1 hour from New Orleans.  Would love to know what show this was?

Comment by Christina L. Towell on April 6, 2016 at 10:00am

Wonderful critique, Margaret...thanks for giving us the inside scoop.  Do you plan to go back next year?

Comment by Neena Ferreira on April 6, 2016 at 4:21pm

Thank you for your review, Margaret!  Like you, we've never been able to break into the New Orleans Jazz Fest, so I'm very interested in this show you are talking about.  What is it called? And if I understood your post correctly, it took place last weekend?  My husband makes high-end gold and gemstone jewelry --- did you notice if there were many artists with high price points there?  I really appreciate your input - thank you!

Comment by margaret luttrell on April 6, 2016 at 5:11pm

For those who have asked me the name of the show-it was in the title..."Fest For All" that actually is the name...and yes, I will most likely go back....Thanks everyone for all the nice words....

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on April 10, 2016 at 10:38pm
Great review. A show in LA will always be fun and the people are excellent hosts. I come from an all LA background. Margaret go to jazz fest for fun first, you won't be sorry, and figure out if it is worth it for your work.
Comment by Connie Mettler on April 15, 2016 at 9:55am
World class review, Margaret. Thank you. A ten hour drive on a "maybe" really takes guts, so pleased it worked out for you. I know you're traveling far and wide and like to play the odds, a necessary quality in this business.
Comment by margaret luttrell on April 18, 2016 at 12:14am

Thanks Connie, That means a lot coming from you... Honestly, sometimes it works and sometimes it flops.... But it does seem that the longer I am in this business (6 years is still relatively new) the better I get at figuring out what might be a good fit for my particular work. Something we all aspire to.

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