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Monday, April 23, 2012

A Comprehensive List of Festival Must haves

Spring is here, and with it the start of the outdoor art festival season is just around the corner.  If you haven't done it already, now is the time to gather the things to make your outdoor festival season as successful and as pain free as possible. 

Anyone who has ever arrived at a festival and realized that they were missing some important item can tell you how frustrating this is. I've done it and I suspect nearly anyone that has ever shown at outdoor art festivals (and even some indoor) have come unprepared.  With that in mind I have prepared a list, which I have divided into personal needs and Art Supplies.

Although many of the items on the previous list seem common sense, it is surprising how often these are forgotten. In the hast of trying to get all your art together, its easy to overlook the fact that most art festivals don't usually have any food vendors. It is best to assume that they will be absent altogether. There is nothing worse than sitting all day without food or drink, or being worried about leaving your work during busy times for fear or losing a sale. Having a friend with you that can watch your work, or run out and get food and snacks is greatly helpful, although not always possible, which makes bringing a cooler with drink and snacks a must.  

Having a book is good too, as it isn't always busy, especially during early times, but I don't advise Mp3 players, as you don't want to completely tune people out. Always be there to talk to potential customers, even if you don't think they are interested in your work. Greet people as they walk by, and during busy times stand up to the side of your work.  Why are people going to be interested in your work if you yourself show a lack of interest.  The more enthusiasm you can convey, the more interest people will take in you.

Be sure to bring a jacket, even in the summer. My most recent show turned out to be very chilly, even though the usual temperatures averaged in the 80s for that time of year, and I was very grateful to have my coat with me.

The rest of the items you will need pertain directly to your art. Always keep items for repair in a tote bag that you can take with you.  Having extra labels for your art work, as well as a pen handy can be a lifesaver as well. Tags tend to fall off pieces, and you wouldn't want your work to be excluded from judging because it lacks its label.  Supplies to clean the frames and glass are always helpful.  One of the most important supplies of this category is a cart of some sort.  Having a cart to help you unload is invaluable, and can drastically cut down on the time it takes to put your show up and take it down.

This list is undoubtedly incomplete, as I feel certain that the more I show, the more items I will find I need. Feel free to print it out, and add your own must have to the list.

List of Items that you will need 
1.  Light folding Chair
2.  Rain jacket or other light jacket
3.  Cooler with water or other drinks and snacks
4.  Tylenol, Advil or whatever your preferred headache med
5.  Book to read during lulls
6.  Sunglasses
7.  Hat
8.  Wet Ones or other hand wipes
9.  Tissues.  Toilet paper works well and is a lifesaver for outdoor temporary toilets
10. A friend, spouse or otherwise to watch your work while you take breaks, and to help you load and unload. 

Art Supplies
1.  Light colored fabric (no prints) for the fence.  Should be at least 2 yards x 1 1/2 yards wide
2.  Binder Clips to hold fabric to fence. Can be purchases bulk at any office supply
3.  Drapery Hooks or S hooks to hang art on fence
4.  Extra Picture wire for unexpected repairs
5.  Wire Cutters
6.  Pliers 
7.  Blank Art Labels 
8.  Scotch tape
9.  Pen
10. Notebook to record Sales
11. $40 in change in small bills (for change from sales) 
12. Paper Towels 
13. Glass Cleaner
14. Clear lightweight plastic in case of showers 
15. Car to assist with unloading and loading. Garden Carts work nicely, as do flat folding carts.
16. Folding card table for small items such as note cards and other small sale items.

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