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Art Festival Fees

I've been following some discussion on Ron Philbeck's  blog about marketing pottery; it's got me thinking.  One complaint I hear from many artists and crafts people is that they aren't making any money on shows.  Yet some festival coordinators are still asking hundreds of dollars for entry fees.  I wonder when/if the trickle down effect will start to influence the cost of entry into a festival. 
Essentially, it seems that the median price point has dropped due to peoples fears about the current economic state.  Which means we have to sell a lot more at a lower price just to make up the cost of entry into the festival, yet the volume of sales are down also.

I'm not at all certain how much cost is involved in putting on an arts festival, but I would hope that advertising is a huge part of the budget.  Yet whenever any artist I know is going to be in a show I get an email.  We all seem to have guest books to collect email and other addresses from customers or potential customers so we do much of our own advertising, even though this is part of the cost of the festival.  Newspapers are going out of business everyday which means less newspapers in which to place ads.  Even if the ads cost more in the remaining newspapers I wonder how much more.  Is it double?
I did one show this year that had a lower entry fee than previous years because the show coordinators printed less post cards and decided not to mail them out.  We, the artists were to take as many as we needed and distribute them in a manner that we felt would be best.  I like this plan, it puts the people who hope to sell artwork in charge of their own marketing but also with a consistency for the show.
Other festivals take a small fee at registration but then ask for a percentage of the sales.  Again, I like this because if I have a bad show at lest the loss is minimized, if I have a good show I can share the wealth.  It becomes a win/win situation.
Basically, I'd like to see more festival coordinators consider themselves in partnership with the artists that support the show.  I've seen some that do, and the shows tend to be great.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery


  1. You make some really nice ceramics. I enjoy them very much :)

  2. It pisses me off. The artist is the bottom of the monetary totem pole and promotors get themselves a nice big salary and we earn less than if we were fry cooks. That is why I have come to like online sales etc :)


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