Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
What responsibilities do we attribute to the promoter for alleviating a problem at the shows?
What solutions should they employ?
Recently at the show in Rockville, MD we had a situation.
This show is held on the streets of Rockville. In the area called Town Square.
The "Bible bangers" decided to attack.
A group of them came into our show. Set up, no equipment, just themselves, right at our booths. Proceeded to shout and preach the "word of their G-D". They went so far as to be shouting VERY LOUD, over all of us. Even coming to our booths and approaching our customers, handing out their literature, shouting over us more, pulling our customers away. They did this for many hours. Staying in the same location.
Sales stopped. Customers avoided us. After much discussion and complaints the promoters finally called police.
Police got the offenders to move three booths up the street. However they did not stop. The show was scheduled to end at 5:00pm, Sunday. The "protesters" kept their shouting up, until exactly 5:00pm. then they got quiet and left.
It was obviously just to disrupt our show.
This is not a discussion as to their religious beliefs nor freedom of speech.
These people made it obvious they were trying to disrupt our business.
What were the responsibilities of the promoter?
What solutions could / should they have employed?
What solutions could us artists have employed?
I had the same type of problem in Bowling Green Oh a few years ago. It took a couple of years to get the situation resolved. We artist signed a petition to the city stating the problem, the city was able to pass an ordinance requiring this type of group to get a permit before a ascending into the art fair. The permit stipulated they were not allowed within the show boundaries. Once this was accomplished, there was less of a problem as the group was required to stay away from the artist booths. Police were then able to help protect the artist right to conduct business interrupted. This show is on a public street.
I have 2 questions for those who would hazard a guess.
1. Was there a fee for patrons/potential customers to attend this event?
2. Would that matter in this case or one similar? I know when I pay to go to a concert/fair/event etc. the ticket states (usually in the small print on the back) the rules and one of them is always that you can be booted off of the grounds for anything the event coordinator deems necessary. I would think "trespassing" in this case, once the coordinator and the police told them to leave.
This was not as "gated venue". Therefore no tickets or fee to access.
It was held on the public streets.
Not a new show, been around for years.
Same promoter as Bethesda Row Arts.
At first nothing was done. After continued complaining, they were moved a short distance up the street, by the last booth. Unfortunately that was only a few booths away from mine.
Supposedly, as this was a public street, that was the furthest "off property" they could be moved.
However, they just increased their volume. Also this impeded the entrance way for more customers as well as their interest in proceeding in our direction, from the other end of the street.
Great move if you are a competing show, or competing artist at another area of the show or trying to create an extortion scheme against the promoter or artists.
Of course it could backfire if someone were to get very irate and react violently.
If the show was held on public property and no admission was charged, then sadly they could do their thing. This is one of the main reasons I do private shows where the promoter can evict these squatters.