Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Hello - I haven't posted for a bit, but I always come here for advice for sure - I know no other place I'd rather ask this question.
I've never cancelled out of a show that I was accepted into, and paid the booth fee. I've been lucky to have no emergencies/scheduling conflicts/etc. that meant I wasn't able to do the show at the last minute. I don't travel super far (usually no more than an hour from home), so never had to accrue travel expenses of any substance.
That being said. This weekend looks to be possibly brutal with heat in the area of the show I'm signed up for. There's an excessive heat warning until tomorrow evening, with indices to 110. Storms coming, possible "strong gusty winds" tomorrow (especially PM) AND Sunday. Temperature drops to reasonable on Sunday, but definite strong chance of rain/scattered thunderstorms.
It's a quite small show. I've never done it. Don't know this area that well (it was my "wild card" kind of show). Did a show last week that was profitable but hot. So I know how I fare in strong heat (frankly, not great). But I can do it, I've done it before. I don't have another show until beginning of August, and although I have other small income streams, I want to make sure I make money! But without a crystal ball, there's no way to know if people will just stay home vs go to a small show with heat and threat of storms. And of course, the booth fee will be forfeit.
How common is it for artists to cancel? I don't have to set up until tomorrow AM, so am debating today. Is it terrible? I'm fighting guilty feelings and feeling foolish for spending $ on a show I may not attend; but these are all risks, right? Just trying to balance the loss of income vs. health/comfort issues. And feeling like I shouldn't abandon a show without even trying it.
What do all of you do? Thoughts?
I would not feel bad about not going. We each have to make our own decisions on what is right for you. Some might say to tough through it at any cost but I finaly learned after 15 years its not worth putting your heatlh health before a show. I did a show last weekend in Guilford Ct and it was sooooo hot over 100 heat index. Sat. I did end up at the medical tent for heat exhaustion and will never put myself through that again. I left early sat. and broke down my booth Sun. morning and left the show with 0 hesitation. The drawback of course is we loose our booth fee. The only other time I have not gone to a show was if I was sure it was going to be a wash out and one of those smaller "I can take it or leave it shows" Rain forecaste depends on the show. But heat over 95 I wont go anymore, I learned my lesson. Plus shoppers don't show up either after they get the heat warning to stay in AC.
So sorry to hear about your medical issue. That sure can take the wind out of your sail, and not just for the time it's happening. I hope you have had time to really recover.
I just did! We drove all the way to Chicago for the Michigan Avenue Art Show- my first attempt there. However, the heat index was supposed to be 107 degrees and both my husband and I are not spring chickens. i was really worried about our health. The Amdur folks were wonderful. they allowed us to opt out and said they would hold our fee to be put to another show next year!
That is great. Good for Amdur and good for you for taking care of yourselves. There will be another art fair another day.
We live in coastal Louisiana so we understand the hot, humid, and rainy weather. We have done shows since 2013. The days of outdoor shows in the heat are long gone.
I now have a booth at a vintage/antique mall that is open every Friday-Sunday, completely climate controlled. This has allowed me to really cut back on shows and be much more selective. A few years ago I did 6 shows in the spring and 6 in the fall, within 8 weeks in each season. That tight schedule ended that year. It did not give me adequate time to restock, was too hard physical cause a lot of them were outdoors and the heat starts early here and runs late into the year.
in my current situation my booth stays set up so no tearing down and setting up again each weekend. I do restock 2-3 times a month and every few months I do a more major reset. All in the comfort of a climate controlled environment. No adverse effects on my health.
Sounds like you've found a good compromise, Cindy. Lucky girl. Does this mean you spend 3 days a week at the mall? How close is it to where you live?
I did a show in St.Charles Ill. last year where the temp. was 97 and the dewpoint was in the mid 70's Brutal! Few sales. Took a beating on expenses. Never again! A few weeks later, I cancelled out of another show in Illinois when I saw a similar forecast. I monitored the blogs that weekend and it looked like the artists were dropping like flies from heat exhaustion.
A few weeks ago, the forecast for a local show was a heat index 105-110 for set up day and rain all next day. The show is on an asphalt street so the heat index was probably 120. I opted out and notified the directors why I was pulling out.They were very gracious and said I could still set up on Sunday morning, the second day of the show if I wanted.
Here's what I've learned:
1. Your health is most important
2. Two things that will keep customers away are rain and heat.
3. It's hard to make up one day's lack of sales on the second day.
Steve - Thanks! Yes, I have felt that the increased heat usually means sales drop a lot. I've noticed some of my best shows can handle some rain (the patrons are loyal!); but less so the heat. I'm ultimately relieved I opted out of the show that weekend - it was on grass, but NO trees for shade and no place for an AC break if I needed one. I bet it was the same weekend you mentioned above!
This weekend looks to be excellent for my upcoming show - so I'm hoping the weather stays this way for all of us!