Curious what opinions are, based on your experience, of the most effective & best organized method?  And conversely, poor methods.

I've done 3 shows that were basically free-for-alls.  They worked out decent because setup was on a Friday all afternoon (one had an evening show opening) so there was less conflict of blocking others tent space since it was spread out. Where there was conflict, artists cooperating made it work.

The best organized, I have experienced, has a person controlling vehicle entrance into the show site streets. They were in walki-talki contact to spotters along the tent sites streets.  You were given basically 10-15 minutes to unload.  The spotters were pro-active at bugging people to move their vehicles after your 10-15 minutes (if others were needing into a nearby tent space).  Artist parking was very close by.  You could then enter again (and again) to unload product (into an erected, dry & ready tent).

A more recent show had setup from 7am-10am on a Friday (4pm opening).  Each had 1 hour with their vehicle at their tent site.  No guaranteed return into area once you left.

For me, as I told organizers the week before the show, this does me little good. I don't use an EZ-Up so it takes me well over an hour to setup the Trimline, walls, etc... before I can unload my crates (of photography product, rain sensitive).  And if raining/windy, I don't really want my product sitting on the curb covered in tarps while I setup my tent for my alotted hour.  Then I have to get my crates back to my parked truck!  It was a windy and very stormy weekend!

Good and bad method stories appreciated!

I'd like to relay suggested methods to the organizers of the last show (a local art organization). They were open to my suggested 10-15 minute method but said it was too late to change.

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  • If it is a Saturday morning setup, get me in as early as you can.  That's almost self-regulating because not everyone likes to get up at 3AM and those with a faster setup will come in later.  I remember calling a particular show that had a drop and go setup starting at 6 with show opening at 10.  I called to see if there was any way to get in earlier.  A sweet lady told me as long as I didn't set up Friday night which meant anything after midnight was fair game.  Last year in a fit of insanity I signed up for a double booth.  I showed up at 1AM and was setup by 6AM when I had to move my vehicle out.

    One thing for sure, if a show is going to have a system, enforce it.  But if a show gives plenty of time for setup the artists can usually work it out among themselves.

  • Of course I like an all day setup the day before.  If it is a large show do staggered setup times or somehow do setup so that I can have my van close by while I am setting up.  As you mentioned I also have a whole lot of stuff to put back in the van after setting up and I don't like to leave my rain sensitive art on the sidewalk while I am setting up.  If I have to drop and go I do like the method of giving me time to unload my tent and then letting me come back in to unload my artwork.  

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