Booth Locations

Hey everyone, I've come to realize this has been touched on before by Ron and I apologize for the repeat. I think the the idea behind this post was more about what can be done when you get put into a "perceived" bad spot than complaining about the placement.... I have been placed in locations for several shows that are either perceived to be or were crap locations for some of the shows I've been accepted to. For example at Ann Arbor, I got into one of the big four and got stuck on a side street at the very end. I actually got into another one of the four in a better spot and took that one instead. The other show wouldn't give me my money back because the deadline for refund was basically less than two weeks after I learned about the location and at the time, I decided that I wouldn't bail on it. I ended up doing very well and heard from dozens of people that I was extremely fortunate that I didn't stay at the first spot even though I had to pay for two spots. My problem is this. I'm relatively new to this and have about 20+ shows under my belt. I just got notified of another spot that seems to be a bad location for a good show. As much as I would like to do the show, what is the process here? Should I bail and ask for as much of a refund as I can get assuming they won't give it all back since I've been accepted and paid. Should I just assume I'm stuck here because I should "pay my dues"? Am I going to get a black mark since I'm bailing? The big question is should I drop out of a show I really want to do because the location sucks? I'm sure I'll at least cover costs, but I usually don't know enough about the shows since I haven't done them before to really know what the traffic/pattern will be like. I did do very well at a show that I thought the location was horrible and as it turned out it was right where the shuttle dropped off... I'm just tired of getting stuck in crappy spots presumably because I'm new to the show. I'm juried in, go through the normal process, have a trimline tent, propanel display, and I think a great product. Does this or has this happened to any of you? I realize that I am new to these shows and there are artists that have put in their time and it may just be part of paying my dues. I also hear of artists that get into these shows two days before the show and get much better locations sometimes. Any other suggestions? Should I just shut up and quit being a baby? Thanks for looking, Pete

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  • Well - those of you who have joined in the last few months have likely not read my dealings with the Edina Show in June. Many have suggested it is a must read...... so get some popcorn. It should give you additional insight into booth locations - actions to take etc. Plus, if it wasn't such a sorry excuse for an organizers planning, it would make a great sit-com.

    This is a link to the Edina Show Report. Within that report is a link about the pre show questions I had about the location - similar to your above question Peter.
  • Good advice by Dawn. I would do what you can by talking to others who do the show and even the promoter too. Talking to the promoter may not come across as you are a prima donna, but one who is trying to make the best of the situation and a hint or two directly from the source may be just the help needed to not make it so bad. As an example ask who you can if booths are smooshed together, if your location is near entertainment, food, in the middle of the event or by the end of the event so you can plan for traffic flow and know which side of the booth most people will see your work first...

    I think we all have been in bad spots. I was at a show and had no neighbors but near some entertainment. That was weird as I rarely got any traffic by my booth - however did make sales and covered expenses. There are some promoters who are willing to listen to your needs like if you need to be near a restroom due to being the only one selling at the booth or not by similar people who do similar work - this actually helps them plan their plotting of artists. You may not get what you requested, but at the same time it doesn't hurt. Also each year booth spaces get better and better as we all have to start somewhere.

    I have been told that my booth location at my next show was "fit in" and at the end of a row where there is hardly traffic. I have put my thinking cap on and decided to rig up some state flags and have my banner in front of the booth to attract people to make the "journey" to see what I have. Could this work for you? I have heard some artists spreading out - if they are allowed to and depending on the layout of the rows/booths - to make the booth look inviting and more full to entice customers to come down a not so well traveled area of a show. Just some ideas... Good luck!
  • Hey Peter,
    I'm not sure your saying you want the best spot just a spot that is on equal footing with the rest. I have found in some of the shows I've been in that your sales really depend on the spot (traffic flow, behind things, off to the side etc). Unfortunately, it does matter. Sometimes I think the show is trying to get more and more spots to squeeze into the show (for more booth fees) that it lacks a real good spot for all.

    Peter, I think if I were you I would stick it out with the bad spot just to check out the show and learn. Your letting them know you can be a team player. Also, Diane is right, perhaps you could do some things to your spot that help draw the crowd by arrangment of display etc. Maybe a can-can dance? :)

    I recently finished a show where 4 of us were put on an off street where their really wasn't much traffic flow. This really hurt the last guy on the street as some would come over but never venture down a "dead end." I felt for the guy as he had travelled three states to be IN the show. Once I find out my spot now I google map it and ask other artists about it. If that doesn't help then I go ahead and try it the first time. If I find I consistently get bad spots then I ask for a better spot and if they won't budge on that I stop doing that particular show. It's not worth it for me to lose money because I'm not getting seen. I don't think I have the best paintings in the world nor do I think I deserve the best spot in the show. But I do think I deserve an equal shot to make money at a show I paid the same booth fee for as the next person.

    I don't talk to the promoters the first time around as I figure I'm a newbie and I need to learn the ropes but the 2nd time I do let them know my preference or that I "know" the good spots.

    Hope your shows are a success wherever you are Peter.
  • I am new to shows but so far I think the spots that I have been given were ok - maybe not the best spot but not the worst. I also have been doing smaller local juried shows. Iwould say that if you are talking about a large upscale show, the preference for spots from a promoters standpoint would be to the person who has been doing the show the longest since they have shown their loyalty. If you had been doing the show for a long time you would be upset about poor placement. I would do the show since dropping out might hurt your chances for future years. Someone has to be in the spot and a new person makes sense. What makes the spot so bad and what can you do to ounteract that. If the promoter is bringing in buyers, I would be happy to be there. Just my opinion. Good luck to you
  • No, just seems like a persistent problem, the spots seem to be on the extreme side of bad, and I'm still learning about the ins & outs.
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