Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
A member of this site shared a show review and it included this letter that he sent to the show organizers:
We participated in the ________ _______ 2019 and it was our first time exhibiting in your show. Our booth location, listed in the program and advertised to our customers, was #85. When we arrived at registration we were not given that location per the map but had been moved to a spot with a hole, a tree, and half a driveway in the middle.
After a bit of back and forth, you offered us our choice of two spots; one being nearly the last booth in the show [notable: this is a show where everyone moves as a unit in one direction — so the “end” is the absolute end] and another other spot which seemed great: level, middle of the show, plenty of storage room. So we took it. Then we found out you had neglected to tell us that this spot was adjacent to a 20 foot wide food booth, (claiming this food booth had never been in that spot in previous years) with a queue stretching 30 feet down the road in front of our booth, and that of our neighbor. As it turned out, this was more than a problem for us, it was — literally— a show stopper.
The entire flow of show visitors moved in a now-much-denser mass on the opposite side of the food line, either unaware of our booth or unwilling to try to cross through the food line to access our booth. We were having brisk sales up until the line spanned our entrance; as a result of this scenario, we did 85% of our sales before 12:30, when the line first formed, and only 15% —two sales— during the remainder of the day as the line had remained in force until late afternoon.
In talking with other exhibitors, including the food people, we find that:
1) the artists on the other side of this food had been on our side of this food last year and had specifically requested to not be anywhere near them again, so you just moved them from one side to the other.
3) the line of people waiting to buy food here snaked from this booth spanning the entire length of their 20 feet, plus another 30 feet, passing in front of us and another artist.
4) this line-scenario happens every year at this food booth.
When we spoke to you about this your response was, “who would have foreseen this?”, even though it had happened repeatedly in past shows.
We take our commitment to our Art, and to the shows we do, very seriously. This is our livelihood. We made sure to invest in inventory, advertised to all our customers, and set up our display in advance to make sure it will work in the pre-assigned location only to have a different booth and the access to our new location blocked. As far as we are concerned, you broke your contract with us and it cost us a great deal of time and money.
Please — Do not ever do this to another artist. I know that at least two members of show management also exhibited at the fair; ask yourself: would you be willing to set up in this booth space and have your entire entrance blocked for the major selling hours of the show?
Because of your amateurish mistakes and lies, of omission and outright, your failure to correct or avoid recurring problems ahead of showtime, and your apparent inability to learn from past failures, we will not only never apply again, we will include this letter in reviews we post.
What do you think of this approach? Have you ever done this? What have you done in a situation like this?