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[Call to Atists] Vendors for music festival

Electric Eclectics is a small international music festival of Modern
Music and Irritainment, 2007 will be its second year, and first year
with vendors. It’s fabulous, it is VERY weird.

Do I think loading it down with jewellery will work? No, frankly I
don’t, but some might if it’s off beat enough and really we all know
people in other mediums, some of us do other things as well. Please
check out the site and tell your

Norah Kerr


I don’t want to rain on your parade…really. But music festivals
are not good selling venues for artists, much less jewelers. People
are coming to hear the music, eat, relax with friends. The selling
visual artists end up being decoration for the main show. Many
artists on the art & craft circuit actively avoid shows that have
lots of music just for this reason.

You are asking someone to set up a retail shop for 3 days. It
requires 4-5 days away from their studio (loss of work time), the
cost of gas, food, and lodging. At a minimum the artist is out $1000
in loss of work and actual money out b4 they pay the booth fee. They
need to do 3x (some say more) that amount to recover their money and
make a profit.

It looks like a great music festival. Focus on that and great food
and give the visual artists a pass.


New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, 2 weeks, 10 stages of
continuous music11 am -8pm, 600 + food vendors, 400 + artists and
craftspeople, over 100,000 daily attendees at 45.00 a head to get in
(without the 600.00 pass for the entire event)…average take by food
vendors=$10,000 per day average take for craftspeople =$ 2-5,000.00
per day depending on price tier average take for artists =
$8-25,000.00 per 3 or 4 day weekend… seems like decent money to
me… not all festivals are equal…nor in canada, nor single day
events, nor geared to 10-12.00 admissions prices… I disagree
entirely Carla, as some people that choose well do well at the
selected music festival venues…Belle Cher in Asheville NC is
another such event…(though the gross is not nearly what the J&HF in
New Orleans is) People are hungry for art and craft worth spending
money on…my marketing philosophy is give someone an opportunity to
spend and they will- whether in a market in a clearing in a jungle or
at an urban street festival…

R.E. are you an art show artist? Have you ever been out on the show
circuit? Have you paid your bills-mortgages, kids doctors year after
year with what you must earn from art festival events? One tends to
be more finely tuned to the realities and costs of an art festival
when the mortgage is on the line.

Where did you get your stats? I must disagree with you and your

For starters, the gate charge is $40 not $45. The number of artist
exhibitors is 52 not 400. Attendance is 200,000 not 600,000. I am
quoting from the Art Fair Source Book, THE book on art fairs,
considered the most reliable and up to date info on Art Festivals.
And lets look further. They get 500 applicants, paying jury fees of
$30 each, applying for those 52 spots. The thought is that most of
the spots are “grandfathered” so there is little chance of a new
artist breaking into the show. This is also a very old and well-
established show, not a new show, which is always much riskier for

AFSB shows the average gross take is $6280-$8240 for a 3 day show,
not $25,000. Artists are only allowed to do one weekend. Now start
deducting, booth fees, $625- $725 + other expenses, that a festival
artist must pay, as I noted in my previous post. Its not a bad show,
but it is the exception rather then the rule for music festivals
mixed with art shows.

Regarding the Bele Chere Festival in North Carolina. The gross take
was averaged at $2090, booth spaces ran from $300 to $600. It is
ranked in the bottom 300 of art festivals, and low-end price points
do well. They also allow buy-sell. Again not a good sign for an art

As an show artist of several years, as well as a past director of an
art show, and a current board member of a top ranked show on the
west coast, I can assure you my experience is deep and my advice
well- grounded. I know 100’s of artists and most show artists with
experience will tell you that a music festival is a great place to
visit, but a horrid place to try and sell art.

While I respect that your experience with jewelry is deep and you
often respond to many posts in this forum, you don’t seem to have
much experience with the world of art festival show artists, and I
do disagree with your conclusions. It may be great to give people
exposure to your art so they “might” buy it. But if it costs you
time and money to do so you pick your venues to guarantee you the
most chance of success.


Thanks R.E.!

And I have to say this is not the run of the mill music festival
either, it’s not just rock bands and beer. There are major art
instalations premently on site and others brought in for the
festival, this festival is for the sort of music that blurs the
lines between mediums. Last year just seemed naked without vendors
and I mean art, there was instalations, music and dance and yet
nothing to take home with you other then CDs, that just wasn’t right
somehow. But yes, it is a gamble so I’m not recommending it to anyone
who won’t actually enjoy the festival as a whole, I for one love it.



I am a jeweler that selects which shows I have ever personally sold
my work. I hate shows in general unless they are indoor venues with
high security, and within two or three hundred miles tops…that’s my
opinion and right… However, I find the International Master and
Slave Convention/“show” rather amusing and a good indoor venue-
though the music is usually a distraction.

Your book is wrong on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
statistics. Whomever told you there are 52 artists must have been
blind to the other hundred plus…and in some years -now past- there
were four areas of vendors including an area known as Congo square
which alone hosts at least 125 if not more Afro-Caribbean
vendors…and is separate from the artisan and crafts people’s areas.
there is a juried segment of the show that is limited, but is not
representative of the whole in any way…

. It was 45 bucks a head this year per day to get in at the gate
unless one bought tickets, or the 600 dollar passes, two weeks prior
to the fest…I was there ( because a friend of mine - a West Coast
located, nationally known musician is one of my best friends and got
me in on a musicians pass)…were you?? Doubting it. In fact all of
your book’s info on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival is
wrong…don’t believe me…? fine- go to and look at the
Times Picayune and its reporting of the crowds numbers…100,000 can
turn up on a Sunday, and Saturday easily…some years have exceeded
those numbers…this year the cost was so high many boycotted it…I
know plenty about the two festivals I referred to. Most assuredly
more than a book, as I have been there as an artist, a preform er and
worked for jazz and heritage foundation in various capacities over
almost 40 years…

Anyway moving on to your next venomous point:

I am not a breeder, and don’t choose art show circuit as a viable way
to do business and still make jewelry, or see it as even remotely
compatible with raising young kids if i were to have them, but was a
Montessori teacher, before teaching at the graduate an Post graduate
university levels as part of my academic career which preceded- and
at the end intertwined with goldsmithing, custom jewelry work, then
onto consulting Re: the jewelry industry, gem trade, and both
corporate and small business start-ups as well as VC work in an
applied anthropology capacity. I know about trade shows, music
venues, industry conventioneering, and international opportunities
for exchange in one form or another that culminate in a “show” of
some sort with sellers of all sorts of wares in price tiers from
people looking for something to do on a sunday afternoon, to major
business orders that support large company’s a fiscal year’s
projections…there are more than one type of “show circuit” and more
than one book on any of them… and I know what children require to

…I know all about, “the circuit”/ your circuit without having to
refer to a book as i have vast experience with shows on various
levels from organization and promotion, production, and as a seller
and not limited to the jewelry industry or jewelry /art specific

The time involved, the costs, logistics in particular, proximity to
one’s residence, etc., lead me to advise only a handful of clients
–without kids or pets- to engage in or even entertain the
possibilities of going the circuit route or just selecting a few
choice shows close to their residences due to the expense of booth
construction, event staffing, breakdown/setup fees, insurance,
display and packaging solutions, freight handling etc., to name a
few of the expenses that make a successful venture or not, in
addition to the fees required for entry, If someone or a group has a
brand, or large production set-up then it makes sense otherwise i
usually advise MY clients against it as they are in general, small
scale business people or just starting to branch out from local
venues…so choosing wisely is at the root of the recommendation(s) to
those groups of people. Corporate clients are another matter
entirely. Since you do not know me, how you can presume so much is
simply… what’s the word… astounding!

OK…Belle Cher festival: have you been?

it is growing and emerging with the southern jewelry and arts
triangle in the mountains, and the college town and progressive
nature of Asheville, which in 2006 was reported in Kiplingers,
Business week, Network world, AP newspapers, and real estate related
publications as “the new Sedona”, if you know what that implies, then
you may have a clue about the changes that have taken place and
continue to take place there. Oh, again your figures in your book,
don’t match the figures reported by jewelers and other friends and
acquaintances that either work for the festival, or sell there, or
preform there, nor what i have observed… again. I actually
attended many times

Equally, i have beucoup experience with show artists…not “west
coast show artists” but people that sell their art at various venues.
that is why I stated the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and
Belle Cher in Asheville the DC show, and would also add Festival
Acadiens in Lafayette La- which is an international arts event as
worthy of the postage for an admissions prospectus…

Further, your belief that one must be a “west coast show artist” to
know anything about selling, marketing, alternatives based on
experiences spanning many areas over many years in many arts genres
is not only elitist, in the worst way, but divisive in terms of us
and them mentalities, regarding which ocean one lives closest too and
from that distinction comes presumptions that divide people into
imagined lesser groups, of which “yours” is viewed as clearly

Well said Carla, you are saving people a lot of money and time by
being so generous with your inside info. Most people don’t even know
where to go for this kind of

Thanks for sharing.
Christine in Lightning Ridge.

I don’t want to ruffle any more feathers on this, but wanted to add
that the best source of info on a show would be an artist who has
done the show. I know we’re talking about “the book” but I would
still prefer to have many opinions, from many sources…especially if
I were really counting on making some money. The more info you have,
the more you are able to manage your risk.

Kim Starbard