Over the weekend I participated in the Austin Music & Arts Festival. Even before the coronavirus I didn’t have real high hopes leading up to the festival. I got the impression it was more of a music festival with artists on the side, but it was supposed to bring in a pretty large crowd, so I figured it was worth a shot. I never saw any sort of promotion or listing of the artists participating (outside off the musicians). Most of the shows I have done so far (if not all of them) have at least listed the artists on their website, so that was a little bit discouraging. And then caronavirus happened, and I fully expected the show to be cancelled. They did end up changing where the artist booths were located and the arrangement to try to space us out a bit, but the show went on. Keep reading for all the details of the weekend.
I got to the festival site a little after noon on Friday. It wasn’t clear at all where we were supposed to check in. I eventually found another artist and talked to him about it for a minute. There really wasn’t a place to check in, and it was first come, first served for booth location, so I pulled up to an open spot and started setting up. One really nice thing about this show was that I was able to park my truck right behind my booth and leave it there while I was setting up and during the actual show. It’s always really nice not to have to dolly everything to my spot. I have had a couple other shows where I have been able to park my truck next to the booth during set up, but this was the first show I was able to park the truck behind the booth during the show.
Set up went pretty well. The weather was great, which always helps. When I was setting up the top of my booth, I ended up putting it on ever so slightly crooked, which I didn’t notice until I started putting the exterior walls up since it made the exterior walls off a bit. I eventually got it fixed well enough. Lesson learned for next time. Haha. I believe I was finished setting up in about 2.5 hours, and that was going at a fairly relaxed pace. Much better than the 4 hours it would take me when I first started doing shows. Thankfully that left me some time to go get some fire hydrant pictures around Round Rock. After I spent 2-3 hours doing fire hydrant pictures, I checked into the hotel, got cleaned up, and then went to eat at Torchy’s Tacos. I asked one of the locals where to eat after I finished setting up and he recommended Torchy’s. I got the green chile pork taco and Mexican rice. Both were very good. After that it was back to the hotel to call it a day.
On Saturday the show didn’t start until 11, which gave me some time to go get fire hydrant pictures in Austin. When I went to make my PB&J sandwiches before leaving, I realized I had left my peanut butter at home. Thankfully I had noticed some peanut butter packets in the breakfast area, so I went and grabbed some of those. I spent about an hour and a half getting fire hydrant pictures, and then went to the show. Once again I thought there was supposed to be a spot for artists to check in when we arrived, but that was nowhere to be found. Eventually I went with a couple other artists and we found one of the organizers, and the organizer said someone would be by our booths at some point with our packets. Someone came by a while later with the packets, which had our wristbands, two $8 credit tokens to the food trucks, and two beverage tokens. It was nice to get the food truck and beverage tokens.
The show got off to a pretty slow start. I think it was about an hour and a half before someone actually came into my booth. Thankfully the booths were closer together than I was expecting, so I could visit with the neighboring artists while it was slow. I had been worried leading up to the show that the distance between booths would make visiting with neighboring artists and watching my booth difficult. During the early afternoon there was a fairly steady flow of people coming through the festival, but not busy by any means. Then after 6:00 traffic pretty much died off. I ended up leaving around 7:45. The weather was great once again. It got a little bit breezy around noon, but it died back down later in the afternoon. I made a couple sales, I got visit with a couple of my neighbors, and I met a former city manager of Guthrie, OK and had a good conversation with her. So not a complete loss of a day, but I have had better days.
Sunday I slept in a little bit. I had thought about getting up earlier and getting some more pictures in Austin, but decided to wait until next trip and try to get some extra sleep since I would be getting up early on Monday morning. It actually turned out to be a good choice because it was raining lightly in the morning. I got breakfast and then worked on getting some of this blog typed up while I had some spare time.
I headed to the show a little after 10:00. Several of the artists around my tent decided to pack up Saturday evening and not come back for Sunday. It rained on and off from the time I got there until around 2:30. That on top of everything else resulted in the show being a ghost town pretty much. Between 11 and 2:30, I only remember two people coming into my booth. I was able to do some reading on hiking options for my solo backpacking trip later this year, so that was nice, but that was about the only nice thing about it.
I decided around 2:30 to call it a day and started packing up. I would say at least half of the artists at that point were either gone already or in the process of packing up. By the time I left, there were very few artists left. The tear down was nice since I was able to take my time and there was music playing. That is the first tear down at a show where it hasn’t been a rush to try and get everything torn down and packed. However, packing up when everything is wet is no fun, and the exterior of my tent ended up getting pretty dirty. Thus the picture above of my tent exterior drying after getting wiped down in my garage.
So all in all a pretty crazy trip. Lots of ups and downs. Definitely not the most organized show, but they did get thrown a curve ball at the last minute. Sunday was really disappointing, but I was glad I was able to make a couple sales on Saturday. It wouldn’t have surprised me if I didn’t make a sale all weekend. Hopefully some of the pictures I got turned out. That would at least help make the trip a little more worth it. I really liked a song they used to test the sound system, so I got a new song added to my iTunes library. I ended up coming home with some art from a couple other artists to get hung on my walls (more details on this on Facebook later this week). And as always, it was nice to meet some other artists. I will try to get the pictures posted in the next couple weeks, so be on the lookout for those.