The past two years at the Columbia Festival of the Arts, I was really happy with the show. My booth was located in a shady sidewalk area, where the music stage was a distant background noise. It was low-key and refined, with good quality art, easy logistics, and good sales.
As soon as I arrived for this year's show, big fat drops of rain started falling. The kind of rain drops that say "you're about to get walloped." To make things worse, I was informed that my booth location had been moved to the area next to the music stage. I already knew from other artists that this area was not comfortable, due to the music volume and lack of shade. And the logistics for getting my display and work down there were very tricky.
I set up my booth in a downpour. Once the rain stopped, the blazing sun and thick humidity arrived. My rain-soaked clothes became sweat-soaked clothes. It took me four hours to finish setting up. I'm pretty sure I looked like a homeless cat at this point.
You know how excited you feel when you arrive at a concert and realize you are near the stage? Would you be as excited if you had to spend 20 hours there?
This is not an exaggeration: at least once an hour at shows, someone will walk into my booth, exhale, and say "it's so quiet in here." They are referring to my minimal forms and neutral glazes, displayed in a white booth. The word "quiet" might be "peaceful" or "restful" or "zen" etc. I count on this to inspire people to linger and take a break from a festival where everything else is screaming for attention. I only heard this comment once during the entire weekend, when the music was between acts. Can you imagine how it would have sounded when the music was playing? "IT'S SO QUIET IN HERE!" "WHAT?" "I SAID IT'S SO QUIET IN HERE!" "I'M SORRY WHAT?"
As you can tell, I had a tough time trying to communicate with customers. And during the afternoon hours, the sun blazed straight into the front of my booth, making the pots too hot to pick up. Not that it mattered, there weren't many people walking into the booth anyways. My space wasn't just "near" the stage, it was "beyond past" the stage. Most folks who walked down all the stairs to the stage area didn't venture any further, I really can't blame them for sitting down on the shady hillside facing the stage instead.
Here's what I saw during most of the show: anyone near my booth was facing the other direction towards a gurgling fountain. On the hillside was a huge crowd of people, listening to music and not noticing any art.
I did note that this all started on Friday the 13th. But I'm not superstitious, so from now on I will never assume that a show will go smoothly.
I do need to make some thank yous ... this show is in my local zone, and I was visited by some people from my mailing list, who made some really nice purchases. You know who you are, and it really helped! Thank you!!