If you are thinking that the Ann Arbor show weekend is something you wish to try next year, to get a piece of the “action” of the event that has historically been so famous for being a strong event, do so with caution extreme caution. What I say here applies only to my experience at the South University show.
If you are new, you will most likely be put onto a side street, either East University or Church Street.
You will pay the same booth fee, corner booth fee, and electric cost as those artists on South University. This is where the similarity ends.
If you are put on East University, you will have a 1-ft. storage area behind your booth to be shared with your neighbor. You will have minimal to no storage outside your booth. If you were on South University, you would have extensive storage behind your booth. Storage is something many if not most artists desperately need to conduct business at a show, especially when parking if far away which at South University it is. Again, getting a booth on South University is unlikely as those spots are for the most part grandfathered. If you are on Church Street, you will also have a fair amount of storage behind your booth. Though there are far fewer booths on Church Street than on East University. You also may have imported “stuff” set up on the sidewalk across from you and definitely will have a music stage at the end of the block.
You will get but a small fraction of the traffic that walks South University – a truly small fraction – maybe 10-20% at most, possibly far less. As in any show you will do good if you find your buyers, but you stand far, far less chance of finding your buyers on these side streets of East University and Church Street. And absolutely if you need volumes of people – you are hosed.
If you are on East University, you will get but a small fraction of the small fraction that walks East University. That is a layout issue that has existed for years. Although the street is wide, the booths are put back-to-back against one side of the street. It is a stupid nonsensical layout that any promoter worth their salt would see immediately and fix. Not the case here. As people come into the show from the south walking towards the main street of South University, they pass/see only half the booths. To see the other half, they would have to turn around and walk down the other which would return them to where they started. At that point they would, again, have to walk past one side or the other to merely return, a second time, to South University and continue their art-buying journey. Most artists with any experience realize – that ain’t happenin’. And it doesn’t. You have only to watch the people walking to see this play out badly.
Since many of the artists that were on South University will likely not return specifically for these reasons plus their experiences with the rogue director Maggie, that is likely where most spots will be.
PS: If you think I am just spewing "sour grapes" for some reason, do contact other artists on East University and Church Street from this year's (2012) event and see what they think. Knowledge can be power.