Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Sebastian Riverfront Music And Art Festival—Winner,winner...Chicken Dinner

I attended this wonderful festival last weekend.  It is a mellow, little gem of a show.

Sebastian is perched right on the Intercoastal River about 24 miles south of Melbourne on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

It has slowly developed over the years with lots of condo communities lining its roads, but it manages to keep its small village charm.  Not easily done in Florida these days.

Most all the restaurants and tiki bars are aligned like a string of pearls along the River.

The Show is held on a riverfront Park with about 115 booths lined along the River and some are on an intersecting road that runs off the river.

It is a picturesque scene.  Tall oaks filled with birds compete with slender palms for the sun.

In January, it can be very windy and chilly here.  This year was the norm.

No rain, no real cold but we had to contend with 30mph gusts when trying to setup on Friday.  It is a two day show with a music stage at the south end.  And, the music is darn fine, lots of good bluesy vocals and instrumentals.

It was too windy for most of us on Friday to get fully setup.  Many, did like me, got the basic shelter up, low as can be, and securely anchored to the ground.

I had my John Deere weights on the corners, then dog-staked each corner as well.  It worked perfectly.

Most of us arrived early on Sat. Morn and setup in two hours or less.

I scored a great little AirBnB for about $70 per nite, complete with swimming pool.

I had a great cobia fish dinner Friday nite at the CrabShack along with a little tequila and a White Claw(a hard seltzer, mixes well with tequila, hell, anything mixes well with tequila).

Saturday was less windy and the crowds were out early, and they were buying.

Well dressed patrons from all over, geographically.

I sold to a woman who lives on Vancouver Island.  Then sold to a young couple getting ready to open up an AirBnB in NYC.  I decorated their bathroom.

My neighbor made sculptured fish out of winery cypress stumps.  He about sold out.

My other neighbor did an array of mixed media pieces, all Florida themed.  She sold very well.

People bought steadily all day. And, the crowds did not peter out after 2pm like what happens at most Florida shows these days.

This area is very conservative and traditional in their taste for art. Think fish, water and feathers.

I had a decent day and sold a large one($500) that helped make my day.

The winds had died down and we had a great sunset to finish the day.

Sunday was a perfect weather day.

But the crowds were slow coming and about half the size of Saturday.

It was a different crowd.  They were nicely dressed and looked at the work..but, they would not buy.

I barely did  $300 in sales, it was disappointing.

Looking around at my fellow exhibitors I saw very few sales being made.

We had an easy teardown, Most were out in an hour or less.

I will probably give this show a shot again.  It has potential.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on January 23, 2020 at 9:41am

I well remember shivering on the streets of Florida in January and complaining to my friends back in Michigan that it was 55 and windy and they didn't feel bad for me at all. Thanks for this report, Nels. Good luck at Images. I know there is a lot of prize money there hope some of it will be yours. We never got any of it (:

Hope you meet lots of your new neighbors and they know you are the "new artist in town" and need to own some of your work.

Comment by Nels johnson on January 22, 2020 at 6:34pm

I actually did this show once, ten years ago.  Bad weather, it hurt Sales.

The Show is at a park right on the intercoastal, fee is reasonable.

The only negative for this show is weather.

It is January on the water, it can be very cold and windy.

A few years back, some booths got blown into the water.

I think it is well worth doing especially if you are linking up with another show like the one I will be doing in my new hometown...Images, New Smyrna Beach. This coming weekend.

Watch for my blog next week.

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 22, 2020 at 3:19pm

Right, Kate. Thanks for that acknowledgement for Lizanne. I know she is greatly missed.

Nels, is this the first time you've done this show? I believe it has a very reasonable booth fee. Right? And, is that the ocean I see at the end of the street, or maybe the intracoastal?

Comment by Nels johnson on January 22, 2020 at 10:53am

She was the glue, there is a determined group, loyal to her, who are doing a fine job.

Wish we had more shows like this.

Comment by Kate Hetzel on January 22, 2020 at 10:37am

Lizanne Robinson was the artist that started the show back in the early 2000’s and put it on until she passed away from cancer in 2018.  Her motto was “no whining”.  An art show put on by an artist for artists. It was always one of my favorite shows, and the last show I did in my 25 plus year career in 2019. 

Comment by Connie Mettler on January 22, 2020 at 8:38am

 I believe this show was developed by an artist whose name escapes my mind momentarily, Nels. This is the kind of show that keeps you going and loving the business in between the biggies. Easy to do, close to home, inexpensive and in an area where people still think an art fair is cool. As always I want to join you for one of those great dinners. Maybe another day. 

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