How to Prepare for Your First Art Festival Like a Rock Star Lesson 1

The getting the making on

 It's Tuesday. I have less than 4 days to get all of my art Sh#@!t in order before this weekend. This weekend I am participating in my first ever Art Festival. If you live in the Bay Area, come check out Art in the Park in Downtown Martinez. It is sure to be some great home grown art. That sounds awful. Scratch that. It is sure to be a fabulous way to spend a weekend. Plus I hear they will have food trucks... but I digress.

Some Art Making is Happening

So, you want to know how to prepare for your first art festival. Oh, boy. Have I got a TON to share with you, and I have not even made it to the festival yet. Hence, the "Lesson" as part of the title of this post.

Lesson #1. Don't FREAK OUT.

Seriously. That is my first lesson. If you freak out then you won't even do the work it takes to find an art fesitval to participate in, and then print out the vendor application, then print out pictures to send in to the jury, and, and, and....oh...I did say I have a lot to tell you right?

Again, don't freak out.

Me trying not to panic so I make pretty pictures instead

The first thing to do is to breathe. Take a look around. Do you have some art or crafts you make that you think you might like to sell? Have you sold any to anybody before? If the answer is no then I suggest you don't jump head first in to selling at any type of festival. Do a little market research first. Share some of your artwork with your friends on Facebook, pin some pics of your work on Pinterest. Ask some of your family members if they would like to buy some art from you.

The more pieces you sell on your own the more confident you will be when it comes time to locating the best festival to start with.

Okay, so you have sold some pieces of art to your family and friends. Great! And you are ready to find the "perfect" festival to sell your work. Before you begin your hunt take out a piece of  paper and a pen. Number down the side of the paper 1-8. Now, fill in 8 pieces of criteria your first festival needs to have. Here is what mine looked like:

1. Located near or in my own hometown
2. Affordable (aka less than $100 to sign up to sell as a vendor)
3. At least 3 months away from the time I decide I am ready to sell
4. The festival has been around for at least one year
5. The festival provides either it's own media or the materials artists need to promote the event (both is even better!)
6. The festival is on a weekend
7. The festival is jurried (more on that later) .
8. The festival is open to having new and emerging artists participate.

Once I had these guidelines to work from it was easy to choose which festival I would start with. It made it clear that I am not ready for the Renegade Craft Fair, but I am beyond selling my wares out of my garage.

I am beyond excited to be part of my first art festival. It has been a long time coming. The next lesson in this series will be about Jurried art/craft festivals vs. non Jurried. Please share your experiences with selling at festivals in the comments. Your support and wisdom will be the light me and many others need!


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