Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
I personally have not experienced this, but it sounds as if they are trying to keep out the lookers and upgrade to a buyers' market.
Many shows charge an admission fee and I do not think it would keep out the serious buyers...however, it is without a doubt an extra income tool for the show promoters.
If they really believe that it would keep out the lookers they could have a policy that they would refund the admission fee with proof of a set dollar amount purchase...but don't hold your breath.
That would be the rationale. The truth is that the entrance fee keeps out the serious buyers. Would you shop at a high end mall if it charged an entrance fee? On the other hand, most bars with music charge a cover fee. So, the 20 somethings see the fee and think "party time." The fastest way to ruin a show is to charge an entrance fee.
It also says something about the people who put on the show. They are just using the artists to bring the crowd and then they do everything in their power to get them to buy everything except the art.
The massive failure at the Huntington Beach show charged $20 to come in for art and food if you weren't going to the affiliated concert ($35 and up). Nobody came in. 12 people actually came into my booth in 9 hours on the Sunday. There were a lot of reasons it failed, but the large gate fee was certainly one of them, especially since the beach parking lots were $15. OTOH, the La Jolla show can be good, and they charge $10 and the buying crowd there was good (it's a fundraiser for the local Kiwanis club though, so people know the gate is going to support local charities).
Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival (Tarpon Springs, FL) charges a $5 entrance fee and gives each person a ticket redeemable for a "free" drink. I think it was for a bottle of water or canned soft drink. And then Tarpon didn't even offer artists water AT ALL. But that's for another discussion, and I've already mentioned it in a review as it is.
I'm not keen on gate fees.
I just did a show this past weekend that charges a $5 fee. This was about my 6th time of doing the show, and the attendance keeps getting smaller. The entry fee was low, but I barely made that. Personally, I'd charge the artists more and make it free to get in. This show was in North Carolina.
In the Norfolk/VA Beach area there are so many free shows, that I doubt anyone would pay to attend a show. September and October have a show almost every weekend, sometimes 2-3 on a weekend. April, May and June are the same. Everything from the largest shows to smaller 30-40 artist shows. Why would an art buyer pay $5 to get in?
The shows I've been in that charged admission usually set it at $5.00/person. One of them had free admission for kids under 12 or something like that. We have done better at shows that charged admission. I feel $5/person is plenty.
Oak Alley Plantation, which has been in several big name Hollywood movies, did two craft shows per year for many years running till this past spring and charged $5.00. There were 1000's that shopped the two day event. Many of the crafters/artists returned year after year for both the spring and fall. I got in on my first try this past spring and it ended up being the last, which is a whole other story.
I have been in Southdown Marketplace, which is a fundraiser for a local plantation here in the town I live in. They are the one that I know has free admission for those under 12. It features 300+ booths. Our town is not huge but it draws people. There are people who shop who plan their weekend around this event. It is always the Saturday on Palm Sunday weekend and the first Saturday of November.
I am of the opinion that an admission keeps out the lookie loo's. When I go to an even and knwo there is an admission I just plan accordingly and know that is part of it. The ones we have attended where there was no admission fee, there was a LOT less buying going on. We could tell by looking for those carrying bags, packages, etc.
I don't mind the organizer giving a free bottle of water/soft drink/coffee in exchange for a paid ticket. Or if they give a refund if you spend a minimum dollar amount and have a receipt to show for it.
The way I look at it several of the events I've been in are to benefit a charity of some sort ... historic plantatioin, artists guild, cancer charity, etc. and I know the gate fee will help offset some of the costs of teh event and any leftovers will go to the plantation, etc..
an admission fee
I would venture over 90% of the shows I do have an admission fee. The most expensive being about $7.
But let's look at it from a promoter's point of view.
Many times the space fees are determined by the outrageous rent the promoter has to pay for the venue, especially if it's inside. Some facilities charge upwards of $10,000 for a 3 day event. Actually the promoter has to have the facility for 4 days to get it laid out and coordinate with the electricians union to lay out the plugs and lines. That costs money out of the promoter's pocket before we arrive.
Sometimes the facility determines the space fees in lieu of rent and any money the promoter makes is solely from the gate. So out of the gate money comes all the advertising, etc.
Hi Mike, well, no actual experience with Art City Austin but similar experience here in Michigan where we planned on going to our first Arts, Beats and Eats Festival in Royal Oak on Labor Day week-end. We drove over there (about 2 mi. away) only to find that all the parking lots were charging $15 to park! Then, you had to pay an additional $3 per person to get in, plus food tickets, etc. I understand that a good portion of the monies collected were going to local charities but by the time we spent $21 just to walk in, we figured we wouldn't have a lot left to buy any art. In retrospect, we should have ridden our bikes over, which is what we'll do next time but geez, I can't help but feel that this must impact the artists somewhat or maybe not, don't know. Has anyone participated in A.B.& E.'s or Art City Austin? Let us know where you stand on this issue...
Plus the fact they're having bands & food trucks. Austin is known for music. How many of the attendees are paying their $10 are actually there for the music & not the art show.
When any venue has multiple attractions going on under the same headline event (bands, arts & crafts, cook-offs, etc.) it is hard to know who is there for what ... unless they charge separately for each. Unless there is another to measure this than I am thinking of. We have been to events as a crafts booth just as I described ....
--arts and crafts show on 2 days
--cook off on one of those days
--old/classic car show on one of those days
--cook off on one of those days
This event also had free admission except for the concert. I prefer not to attend an event with so many attractions. Only because all the attractions become a DIStraction.