Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
As we all have to plan out a schedule six months in advance, I find that to have an efficient schedule, I have to apply to shows scheduled on the same weekend in hopes that one will pan out and make my travel most efficient and cost effective. My question is: what does this do my future chances of getting in to the shows I turn down now? Is it smarter to only apply to shows I will definitely attend if chosen and not get on a bad-bet list or continue and hope that this is a tactic that we're all forced into in this competitive market won't come back to bite me? Will appreciate all thoughts on the subject.
I'd say no. Artists decline or cancel all the time due to other shows or even family obligations.
Over-applying is a necessary part of the business, and there's never a guarantee that a show you don't do but are accepted for would work into a realistic circuit plan with other shows. I understand this, and I'm sure the vast majority of other show Directors do as well.
It's funny that this thread is up today....I accepted and paid for a show in a far, far away place from where I live (16 hours each way), I had already applied to another show when the first one was still being juried. I didn't think I had a good shot at either of them, so when the first one accepted me, I immediately paid and accepted the offer. Then, a funny thing happened. I got accepted into the other show too. I politely and promptly declined the second offer. Thinking it was done at that point, I continued to plan for the first show. Then, I got the nicest e mail from the director of the second show. Warm, friendly, kind, and very complimentary of my work. She expressed a very sincere desire to have me in the show. I have never had a show director be so nice and thoughtful after I had to say no to their offer. I called her and then thought about it for about a minute and decided I am doing the second show. I will have to eat the booth fee from the first one, and I am ok with that. It isn't something I would normally advise doing, but in this case I am ok with it. Being nice really does go a long way, especially with me. I know sometimes it is said that shows are treating us lilke commodities and I know some do, but in this case, I was really touched and decided to throw $400 to the wind and hope I make up for it at the second show. We will see what happens, but I am confident that whatever sales do or don't do, I think this will be a really nice show to do.
Sometimes we have to make hard choices. If the second show is much closer to home, the difference in gas may cancel out the $400 booth fee. I did a couple of shows last year, Minneapolis and Charleston that were something like 12-14 hours away from Indianapolis. Each one was over $400 in gas alone. I drive a Ford E350 that gets about 14-15 mpg. It sounds like they really want you there and it's less gas money, so that sounds like a win-win situation.