I set up at my second festival today. It was in the same location as the one I did in May. At that one, attendance was very low however I did sell a few items. Today's was a disaster!

First off, it was over 90 degrees. The heat was stifling! I had to open up the sides of my tent to get a cross breeze going. I was told since it was a 4th of July celebration, attendance would be very high. However, I set up at 9:00 am, the festival started at 12:00 pm and by 3:30 pm, I had had only one customer.

Then, a torrential rain storm came that stopped after 30 minutes, only to pick up even stronger for another 30. My tent was flooded with a mini "creek" running through it, my items (clay and painted) were getting soaked, my boxes and tubs under the tables were getting washed away, my chairs flipped over with my purse, my lunch, my paperwork and my bags, all falling into the water. My shoes were also soaked and my pants were wet up to my calves. On top of all that, I had a splitting headache from the heat. I was miserable!

I called my husband to come and get me. By the time he got there, the sun was out in a beautiful blue sky but the heat had risen. By then, several vendors had left.

We packed up and went home. After a while I regretted my decision to leave and may have made some money had I stayed. I paid $50 for the booth fee.

However, I felt completely unprepared for such a downpour. It was like a hurricane! We were advised beforehand to screw the tents into the parking lot in case of high winds.

What could I have done differently? I am trying to learn the ropes and need to be more prepared.

Thanks for your time and have a safe and wonderful 4th of July! :)

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  • The weather you mentioned has happened to all of us at one time or another. As mentioned, there is a wealth of info here for being prepared...and most of all being over-prepared is important. I have a couple of Ryobi battery fans from Home Depot and they work all day on one battery charge. Ice chest and plenty of water or gator ade. There is so much learning to being prepared and i always learn better ways to make life in the booth more comfortable. when you enjoy doing what you do there will always be ways to make it easier...301680518?profile=original

  • Oh my gosh... You poor thing!  We all have had disastrous show experiences like yours.  It's too bad that this one happened to you so soon in your show experience.

    My advice is to try to learn from the experience, make plans to try to avoid some of the disaster for future shows, then put this one behind you knowing that things will be better the next time.

    I use kettle bells to weigh down my tent.  43 lbs each from a sporting goods store.  No screwing anything in to pavement.

    Set up your booth knowing that heavy winds and rain can hit at any time.  Usually it doesn't happen, but having plastic on hand to quickly cover your art is a must.

    Bring a bag of items that you may need to keep yourself comfortable:  hand wipes, food, water, band-aids, aspirin, sunscreen, bug spray, etc.  Your comfort comes first.  You can't sell your art if you're feeling miserable.  Wear comfy clothes and shoes, but still look professional.  I love black Sketcher shoes.  They're cheap, comfy and can get wet without falling apart.

    Good luck with future shows.  Don't be discouraged from this lousy one.  

  • Not an unusual situation, Lisa, but sorry for your misery. If you search this site you'll find many postings on securing tents, weather protection, and how to be prepared for these situations. Richard is right ... everything needs to be water proof, sealed containers, plastic tubs, etc. I always carried rubber boots for early setups when the grass what wet and for situations like this. Once in Austin, TX, the water was ankle deep and there were snakes swimming in it. Honest.

    Search this site for Jim Parker's list of what you need to have to be prepared. It is a daunting list but you can do it. Also, you'll learn as you go along that the higher the booth fee the better the prospects for making money. But you are very smart to do less expensive shows while you get started and learn the ropes. 

    Here is just one of the links on the site that should be helpful: http://www.artfairinsiders.com/forum/topics/newbie-needs-supplies-l...

  • Take a cooler with lots of cold drinks, cold water, ice and cold fruit. Drink a lot and have a good sun hat. Get rid of the cardboard boxes and replace with plastic bins (without any cracks). I used to wear some $1500 leather soled cowboy boots at shows but morning dew and rain would soak thru the leather soles. Now I wear a cheaper rubber soled pair. Watch weather report on an app. and prepare before it hits you. Secure stuff like purse and papers in sealed plastic bin. Have aspirin and sore muscle meds in kit for shows.  Don't forget to have a role of duck tape too--- for whatever.

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