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After ten years doing shows my luck finally ran out..For the first time I lost a tent at the Amy Amdur show at the North Shore Festival near Chicago. Although I had plenty of weights it just couldn't withstand the 50 mph wind gust associated with the storm.  I can't thank the staff enough for all their help.

One thing I want to point out to any artist who comments on someones loss by saying something stupid...I overheard an artist smirking and talking to another artist as they were walking past my booth on their way to check theirs "well he should have had it weighed  down better" only to find that when they got to their booth their booth it had shifted and their inventory was on the ground.

Luckily I had enough weights to prevent it from blowing into a near by department store window. The sandbags and pcv pipes were still attached so it prevented further damage to other property.  The two booths on both sides of me also went down. In some cases you can have all the weights in the world but the legs just buckled and bent and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In any event Ill be making a call to RLI insurance for the first time and hopfully they will come through.

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I'm SO sorry to hear this. Good luck with everything. I'm curious to see how the insurance works out.

Sounds like you did everything right in terms of weighting the tent. For a "what it's worth" type idea, once a tent comes under a load (wind, etc) and sways at all, all the stress is on the corner joints (which will buckle of course). There are two ways to alleviate this stress on the structure. (NOTE: under enough stress, NOTHING will stop it from failing).

The first way is to use cross bracing with cables. The better way is with a solid bar going all the way across. Another way is just corner bracing (which works better if that side is open and people need access to the booth like on the front wall). I've attached some pics here. It is amazing how much stress this takes off the corners. You don't need it most of the time, but once that wind gets over about 25 mph, this could be a savior.

Another thing that can work is "sistering" the legs. This involves strapping another pole or beam to the leg that is the full height of the leg. This can double the strength of the leg so it won't buckle under the weight. I added an image here of how people use this technique for floor joists, but the same principle applies.

I graduated with a minor in industrial design so I think about this stuff a lot. I hope it helps some of you. BTW, I don't want to imply you didn't do something right or should have known this stuff. It's tragic what happened to your booth and I'm so sorry it happened.

Lee, is it okay if I print out this post of yours for husband to look at?  I know we are going to replace our tent at some point.  This could be helpful information as we go forward.

Sure, I just grabbed the images from google. Feel free to print it out as needed. : )

BTW: lightdome actually sells the corner braces for other tents. I have a showoff, but will be using these when needed:

Another btw: a stay bar running along the bottom will NOT help much for this type of stress (although it's better than not having support at the base at all). The reason for this is the whole top can move and sway independently from the base of the tent (which still puts all the pressure directly on the corner joint).

David, I am sorry you had to experience this.  I know something about how you feel.  We lost our tent back in April due to a rain/wind event.  Unfortunately we were not the only ones at that show that lost a tent.  At least for us we had not loaded it with stock yet so all that was saved.

In our case this was probably one time that a show should have just been cancelled and the booth fees applied to the next show.

I'm sorry to hear of your damage. I guess we all have to go through it at least once. Lucky for me it took over 35 years before we lost it.

Setting up on concrete is tough, and I'm thankful only one show I do has it. The rest are on grass, but the show where we lost the canopy was on grass. Weights, dog stakes, etc just couldn't stand up to the wind clocked at 68 MPH coming off the ocean in Gloucester, MA.

So I now have a weather radar on my phone, and I keep an eye on it. If bad weather is imminent I lower the canopy to the lowest point and strap it down.

Sorry to hear about that. It seems fairly irresponsible of the show to not cancel in that type of condition. That wind is just barely lower than category 1 hurricane speed rating!

It was a microburst. It came up suddenly, lasted 15 minutes and was gone.

Promoters seldom cancel shows because of weather because there would be people who would want a refund for the lost day, so the promoters I work with all say "rain, snow, or shine".

Hi Chris. Ill be in Gloucester in a couple weeks. I know that area of the show can be tough right along the ocean. Hopefully Ill have a new tent by then.

David...that's awful about your tent. I have the Vitabri also and know that as good of a tent as it tent whatsoever is indestructible.. Hopefully it is repairable with some replacement parts and a bit of elbow grease. Please keep us posted about what you end up doing...


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