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I’ll never get to Burning Man … or to Dragon Con for that matter. Happily, I’ll admit I’m amongst the sort of people who would attend either, or both on alternating years … and I regularly get invited to parties at both events. I get drawn into costume brainstorms with my friends, and I look forward to seeing pictures of their experiences.

Directional sign at Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival


I’d love to attend either of these spectacles, or both. But Labor Day Weekend is capitalized for a reason in the festival world. It is quite possibly the biggest money weekend in outdoor festivals. Whether you are in a northern state, where Labor Day heralds the end of the summer weather that coaxes you outdoors, or further south, where Labor Day means that soon you can venture out again … For vendors, it is a money weekend.


I’m a vendor. I’m also an artist and a fan. But I have the luxury of being an artist and a fan because I take the vendor part seriously.


So send me your photos of Dragon Con parties, and Burning Man encampments. Copy me in when you send out notes from workshops you attend. Just don’t assume I’m ever going to join you there. Being *paid* to be at a festival is pretty much living the fantasy life, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

Where are you on Labor Day Weekend? Let us know in the comments please!


This week we just cannot seem to talk about anything other than This Post over at The Year of Living Fabulously …

How to Talk to Artists at Art Festivals- The Do’s and Don’ts (Warning: You’ve probably been guilty of at least one of the don’ts…)

Those who commented there are obviously a blend of pros and customers, which means that the comment reading is almost as good as the post itself … which is epic.


Worth a Thousand Words

Rhonni —  May 30, 2013 — 6 Comments

We had some difficulty finding imagery that would communicate the unique mix of festival and business that is the purpose and personality of this site. Just as the experts in the field found no sites asking for articles on their expertise, there were no stock images available that blended the world of performers, vendors, travel, and business.

So we called our friends at Brent Walker Creative, and connected them with our very talented friends from Circus Stella for the first round of images:

The bid.

You’ve seen some of these, we use them as newsletter headers, and on our Facebook page. What you don’t know is that even though they were truly juggling office items, it was next to impossible to find a photo where the tape dispenser and stapler did not look as though they’d been Photoshopped into the image.


Many of the static trapeze images had the same problem. I think the incongruity of the combinations (which was absolutely our intention), was part of the problem when trying to choose which images looked the most real.


This week we’ve scheduled another shoot. Planned shots include contract negotiations inside a brass and bronze sculpture studio, sales space design inside a shop, while holding blueprints, and a business meeting while standing in/on a mud pit stage. We still haven’t managed the business desk inside a vintage carnival tent, but we’ll try to photograph one inside a craft shop tomorrow.


Just yesterday we attempted to show work and travel combined like this:

Blueprints, calculator, reports, maps, and desks built out of luggage.


But we all know that it can easily look a lot more like this:

Closing one show, driving to open another.

What images can you imagine that communicate the weird world of business inside outdoor festivals? How many of us make our vehicle selections based upon how many Rubbermaid tubs fit in cargo, and how well tent poles can strap to the roof? Let us know your ideas for future photo shoots in the comment section.

Clothing Makes the Man

Rhonni —  February 26, 2013 — 4 Comments

It seems that I hear people more concerned about the dress code of a Renaissance Festival than by whether or not they could own a business there. Oh, like dress slacks and a button down shirt are not a costume of a sort?

Maybe it is that folks in the festival business are not as narrow minded as people who’ve bought the “this is a real job, which makes me a real person” package. Perhaps it is that we are in the entertainment business first, and so we realize every role requires a costume. Years ago, a friend of mine pointed out that everyone had a “drag” they put on, whether it was “I’m going to work now” drag, or “I’m a hunter-fisherperson” drag … the clothing allowed them to communicate to strangers an image with which they wished to be associated, even if it wasn’t really who they were.

Renaissance Festival clothing rules are really just guidelines set forth by the show’s Director, in setting the stage for the audience. On the actor’s end of it (and we are *all* actors in this great play), the costume helps us get into the character we represent to the festival guest. On the Director’s end of it, a unified aesthetic provides the ability to turn the entire venue into the theatrical experience that our guests have paid for.

This herd of cats group of people that chose an alternative lifestyle often bristles when given specifics about their clothing. While it is rarely a business owner that is doing the complaining, folks who consider themselves part of the festival community can really come up with interesting excuses as to why the costume directive “won’t work for them”. As a business owner and manager, I find it easiest to simply have spare acceptable pieces of costume, and toss them onto my workers who’ve shown up inappropriately clothed. I have an investment in the guest having the experience the Director has designed. But I know other business owners who can rail just as loudly about the “mistakes” being made with the costume edicts.

I understand that the event is considered a bawdy entertainment venue, but the “everyone must wear a shirt under their bodice” rule does not inhibit bawdiness, it sets a time period. Besides, the 15 and 16 year old girls in the soda shoppe really aren’t old enough to be experienced at setting boundaries with the public. Let a grown up show loads of cleavage, and she can find a gentle and entertaining way to tell a guest to get lost if he violates her personal space. I refuse to believe that the soda shoppe will miss sales if the 15 year olds are properly dressed.

Other types of festivals have dress codes of their own, but they are enforced socially rather than as a set of rules referenced in the vendor contract. Renaissance Faires are escapes from reality for our guests. Wearing a hat as part of one’s work “garb” is a small price to pay the opportunity to sell to thousands of customers.