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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Possibly the last time I pay to set up at a festival (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Gary T.
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So this town probably 20-25 miles from me was supposed to have a festival yesterday. They charged me 10 bux to set up, the same as they were charging vendors, which I thought was fine when I heard about it. I mean I made almost 60 bux setting up outside of the last festival I was at, 10 bux to set up inside the thing seemed like a managable price. Then the thing was a total bust, there was legitmately 3 vendors there, plus me, and I think at least one of the vendors was ran by the people running the "festival". They had a decent car show and a costume comtest, but there were hardly any people there, and without any other attractions there was no traffic flow.

I was there from 11 to like 3, made a total of 14 dollars, add in the gas it took me to get there, and the money I spent on rope, and I lost money by setting up there. It didn't so much bother me that I didn't make much money, but when I pay cash to set up at an event, only to get there and find that there really is no event, I get a little angry. So I thik that's the last time I'm ever going to pay to set up at a festival.
D. Yoder
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Did you get to talk to the organizers on how they felt the festival went?
If it is like the small town that I grew up in, you have people who live in the town trying to boost the town in any way that they can. Most them work as volunteers, without a lot of money to spend on promotion and starting new yearly events can be difficult.

I'd encourage you to think about taking a long view on this one, even though it was a disappointing experience. While I don't really know what the festival was about, for future events they might want to advertise that you will be there to get more people to attend.
Ekuth
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Never pay to busk a festival. Crash it.
I've learned the hard way to overcome my innate politeness and just set up.

"Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission..." turns out it's true.

Also, I've taken to scouting the festival/whatever incognito beforehand to judge traffic flow. If there's no movement over 1/2 hour, I move on.
"All you need is in Fitzkee."
Gary T.
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Uncle yodie, it WAS labled as a "community betterment" event, and I didn't get a chance to talk to the people afterwards, but I really think it was more bad organization than anything, it was ran by the chamber of commerce, I had forgotten where they said it was so I went by there to find out, there was one guy there and he had no idea where it was, said he thought it was in a parking lot somewhere arround there, so I got to cruise arround for a while until I finally found a cardboard sign that said "car show" on it and discovered that's where it was. Tucked away in a parking lot behind the police department. Admittedly some vedors might have been scared off by the forcast of 50 something for a high and the cold windy day before it, (by noon it was actually closer to 60 something and the wind was tame enough I could manage spongeballs). but for the most part I think it was bad planning. Though it might have only been going on for a few years I'm not sure, but the town I live closest to and went to school in has a population of about 150 people, and has a HUGE turnout every year for their festival, where as this place has a population closer to 6800 and had a horrible turnout. my opinion is bad planning and a lack of advertisement but there might have been other factors at play that I was unaware of.

Ekuth: yeah I crashed my first festival, but I crashed it late and they closed up early so I was there for probably less than an hour haha, but I'm deffinately gonna just crash them from now on, if they do happen to say something to me, and the festival is good, then I'll just offer to pay their fee on the spot haha.
MagiCol
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Traffic flow is what you need to find out beforehand, or by visiting. Usually organisers know the gate numbers and should be able to tell you them.
" a population of about 150 people, and has a HUGE turnout every year for their festival," So, a lot of people obviously come from beyond the town.
In a month I'll be paying $10 for a site. I know from experience that I make more money there selling balloons than at any other site I go to for the day. I've written this year to ask about busking with magic there.

It's good that you've shared your experience with us. You've learnt from it, and we can learn from it too. Thanks.
The presentation makes the magic.
Magician Shaun
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I never, ever, ever, ever pay to set up at a festival. I am not selling anything. I am providing entertainment for the festival patrons. The festival gets that for free for the entire event. It is a win win. Look at what a festival typically pays a performer for a stage show. Sometimes it's thousands of dollars and they get an hour of entertainment for that. You offer to work for free for the entire event and most organizers jump all over it. I have one organizer who has invited me to every event they run. I also get a Vendor badge, meal coupons, and high traffic spots. Why on earth would you pay someone to provide them with a service? That is just backwards thinking if you ask me.
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

Dittos on not paying a festival to entertain under nearly any circumstances. (As an aside, there are a couple of RenFair that do or did charge performers for the right to perform, after the performers passed an audition. From what I understand, the hats far and away exceed the fees.) Two, only burn through consumables if you're being paid to perform, unless we're talking something cost effective, like sculpture balloons. Were it me, I'd find a rope trick, like the Professor's Nightmare or a Ring-and-Rope routine, etc., where you use the same set up over and over.

Just my $.02 (USD) worth. YMMV.

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
mota
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Never do a new festival. Make sure it is second year or better.

Do not believe festival promoters on attendance counts. They lie.

Festivals that have a gate fee or parking fee are way better than free events.

Just a couple extra thoughts.
Gary T.
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MagiUlysses, I was doing cut and restored, so I don't burn through it majorly fast and still have the majority of the rope, but I still pretty much baught that rope for the festival and so I'm out the money on it for the time being, though it will naturally pay for itself in the future, however I am working on a professors nightmare routine that may verry well be replacing all the rope work I'm doing right now, because really it's a stronger effect I think, and it uses the same rope every time, but that's still a complete project, as my professors nightmare routine is shotty at best. the guy who owns the local magic shop (love saying that, 6 months ago I didn't have a local magic shop and a month and a half ago I didn't know that I had one haha) has a really great routine and he's supposed to teach it to me, but I don't wanna be doing the same thing as him so I've pretty much gotta learn what I can and then rework it somewhat for myself, like I said a complete project.

Gr8gorilla, you're completely right, and I don't know why I wasn't looking at it that way before, I certainly wouldn't pay a restaurant to perform there, why should I pay a festival to set up? that absolutely is backwards
Magician Shaun
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Gary,

Do you have Sanders fiber optics? That's where I learned my ropes and I only do stretch, count, 2 to 1, magic cut, 2 to 1, spectator cuts, break illusion. It was longer but I cut the rest and it kills.
gallagher
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Hey Gary, different thought here. We don´t play Festivals, unless we´re paid; but we do `play´ Festivals, sort of.

The fat. The bacon. For our Show, like most Street Shows, we need a space where the folks can relax, and have a bit of quiet. That´s not IN the Fest,... it´s around the edges.
Think about it. The first year, you played `outside´ of the Fest,... this year `inside´.
Also, "paying to play", you lose one of your biggest strengths: Where to set up.
Stick to the edges,... that´s where the `fat´ is.

givin´ it easy,... with cold hands,
gallagher.
Gary T.
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Gr8gorilla: I want fiber optics really bad but I don't have a steady job right now so I can't afford to buy it and keep gas in my car at the same time haha, deffinately gonna pick it up when I get some money, I'm just not entirely sure when that's gonna be

gallagher: that might be a decent point too, I know I made money arround the edges of it, but the last one I was at, the one where I was inside, there wasn't enough of a festival to call it a festival haha, so I don't have much of a reference point to compare, but sticking to the edges makes sense, close enough to have traffic flow, but far enough out that they've not got the rest of the festival screaming in their face... of course you'll understand if I tend to be a tiny bit stubborn and have to find out for myself
gallagher
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Stubborn?!?,.. ah, you have a future in this craft!
All the best.
,..give it easy.
gallagher.
gallagher
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Stubborn?!?,.. ah, you have a future in this craft!
All the best.
,..give it easy.
gallagher.
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