Friday, August 22, 2008

Whitefish, MT

Most often I show at large art festivals that are attended by thousands if not hundreds of thousands of visitors. The science of selling art at these larger venues distills itself down to a shear numbers game. The more people walking by your booth the better chance you have at catching an interested eye and making a sale.

I, like other traveling artists have found it necessary to forgo cris-crossing the country to attend these larger shows because of the ever-escalating cost of travel expenses, namely gas. When gas was closer to $2.00 per gallon instead of over $4.00, I didn’t hesitate driving to a show say in Seattle, then traveling to Denver the following weekend and then back to California the next. I just followed the “A” list of shows.

With the reality of high gas prices, I’ve been forced into looking closer to home for places to sell my art. That’s not to say I don’t still travel to far off festivals, I do, but whenever possible I like to plug in something a little closer to home instead of taking the big gamble on a show thousands of miles from home base.

That was the case with this years 4th of July weekend. I booked a show in Whitefish, MT that is an idyllic little town that bills itself as the gateway to Glacier National Park. This show is a perfect, “tourist” destination show. Many people who came through were in town for both the 4th’s festivities as well as visitors to the park. For the artist, this is a great combination to look for when booking shows. Happy vacationers with spendable income.

For the most part the weather was fine but you must always be on the ready for afternoon thunderstorms when doing Montana shows. There is a better than average chance one will find you, be forewarned! We were lucky because just 10 miles away a monster of a storm hit and closed down the Kalispell airport for the duration of the storm. Imagine those forces hitting a hundred white tents, not a pretty site.

Sales were remarkable for such a small crowd. I didn’t hear one other artist complain about lack of interest or sales.

If I had one piece of advice to the show promoters it would be to make this a 2-day show instead of spreading the already small crowd over 3 days. People are in town anyway and it’s my opinion that with proper advertising the same amount of people would attend and our costs as artists would go down.

If you want to check out a small but profitable show and want to spend a few days in Glacier park to boot, look into this Whitefish, MT festival.

Cost to sales ratio A-
Location A++
Overall grade A

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fremont Fair

What a trip!!!

I’ve heard about the infamous Fremont Street Fair held in Seattle on the 3rd weekend of June for years, but I was always too caught up with attending another Seattle Venue that same weekend to even give Fremont a fair look. This year I gave it more than a look, I jumped in head first and forever more will be a supporter of this festival.

If you are looking for an up tight museum quality art festival don’t think Fremont. But if you are willing to experiment with a new venue and are not intimidated by massive crowds, many of which just finished participating the world famous NAKED BIKE PARADE, you have to check out this fair. How many festivals do you know of that actively encourage you to get naked, paint and decorate your body to coincide with that years theme and then ride your bike down the main street in your birthday suit? Very cool and very Seattle.

Sales wise I did way better than expected. From previous posts, you know my feelings on mixing artists with the buy/sell crowd selling imported items they bought instead of making themselves, so beware. This show is full of them. But somehow it works in Fremont.

Overall quality of art- C-
Sales- B
Uniqueness- A+++

Fremont Fair