Show Report: Austin Music & Arts Fest 2020

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.

Friday

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. 

Saturday

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

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.

Conclusion

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. 

Show Report: Art in the Park 2019

This past weekend I traveled all the way down to Friendswood, TX (southeast side of Houston) to participate in the Friendswood Art in the Park. Back when I started applying for shows, I made it a goal to try and participate in a show each month. When I was looking at shows for November, I was having trouble finding shows within a few hours drive of OKC, and happened to stumble across this show with a Google search. I would have preferred a closer show, but since I couldn’t find anything else, I decided to apply and give it a shot if I got in (and as you can now tell, I got in.)

Friday

I left Friday morning at 6:00 A.M. to try and get to Friendswood with enough time to set up before it got dark. I have heard from many, many people about the horrible traffic in Houston, so between that and having to drive through Dallas/Ft. Worth, I wasn’t really looking forward to the drive. It actually didn’t end up being too bad on the way down. I made it in a little over 7 hours. There were a few slow spots in DFW and Houston, but nothing too bad.

After figuring out where to park, I ate a quick lunch and then got started setting up. There were 3 side-by-sides available for the artists to use to unload their stuff. That was definitely a good perk. However, I just used my dolly since it wasn’t far from my truck to where my spot was. The weather was beautiful for set up, and set up went really smooth. Since they had to move the booth locations the night before the show (due to recent rain and muddy conditions) and I didn’t see any place to plug in, I figured we wouldn’t have electricity and didn’t put up my lights (more on this later). I was completely set up by around 5, with some time to spare before it got dark. I think I finally have a pretty good system down for setting up, which helps a lot.

After getting set up I headed to my hotel and got checked in, and then got dinner at a Wendy’s. The rest of the evening was spent getting stuff ready for the show and watching some TV.

Saturday

Fire hydrant picture taken in Kemah on Saturday morning prior to the show starting.

The show didn’t start until 10:00 on Saturday, so I left the motel around 7:45 to try and get some fire hydrant pictures before the show started. I almost didn’t bring my camera for the trip, but by the end of the trip I was really glad I put it in. I got a few pictures, and then headed to the show. Right before the show started I was given my booth sign. I didn’t have any rope with me to put it up, so I had to run back to my truck and dig my rope out to put it up. That was a little bit annoying. It would have been nice to get that the day before when I was setting up.

It got busy pretty quickly after 10:00, and it stayed busy until around 3:00, at which point traffic slowly started tailing off. Around 4:00 I started noticing a few booths that had lights set up, and shortly thereafter noticed a couple extension cords running behind my tent. I went behind my tent and looked, and at some point after I finished setting up a generator had been placed back there with some plug ins. By 5:00 I was wishing I had put my lights up, since it started to get pretty dark inside my tent. I had meant to ask about power when I arrived, but in my hurry to start getting set up, I forgot to ask them, and my assumptions were incorrect. Lesson learned. Haha. The show ended at 6, but I shut down around 5:45 since it was really too dark to see anything in the tent.

Lasagna dinner at Frenchie’s on Saturday evening after the show.

Other than the lack of light towards the end of the show, it was a good first day. It was the best day of sales I have had so far (which isn’t saying much), the weather was beautiful, and I had pretty good traffic through the booth most of the day. After the sun went down, it cooled off quick though. By the time I left, I was pretty cold, even with my fleece jacket on. After I left I stopped by Frenchie’s Italian Restaurant for dinner. I got their lasagna. I highly recommend stopping by there for dinner if you’re in the area. It was delicious. I really wanted to try one of their desserts, but I was too full for that. After dinner it was back to the hotel for the evening.

Sunday

Picture taken Sunday morning prior to the show starting.

On Sunday the show started at 11, so once again I left the motel early and took some time to get some more pictures. I got to the show about 40 minutes early to give myself some time to get set up and then walk around and see some other booths. It was nice to have some time for that. Since I’m by myself I’m not really able to walk around during the shows.

The traffic was definitely slower on Sunday. It wasn’t dead by any means, but not as busy as Saturday. The weather was absolutely beautiful once again. Thankfully I made some sales on Saturday, because I didn’t make any sales on Sunday. The show ended at 5:00. I finished getting everything packed up at 7:00. I was a little bit worried about packing up in the dark, but thankfully there was enough ambient light that it wasn’t a big problem. As with the setup, I think I have a pretty good system in place now for the tear down as well.

After that it was back to the hotel to get stuff ready to leave early the next morning.

Final Remarks

My main complaint with this show was that the communication could have been much better. The only communication I really received between my confirmation in July and the show was my booth location a week before the show. The two shows I did prior to this sent out at least one email prior to the show with details such as parking, rules/regulations, electricity, hospitality, sales tax, etc. Once the artist application was removed from the website, I couldn’t figure out a way to get any of this info for the show. When I got to the show, there was no check in booth. I just had to ask around and find the person I needed to talk to about finding my spot and setting up. And as I mentioned before, I didn’t get my booth sign until the start of the show. So in the “leading up to the show” phase, I have definitely experienced better.

As far as the show itself, it actually exceeded my expectations. With the lack of communication leading up the show, and the show not being on Zapplication like a lot of other shows, I was kind of skeptical going into the show. There was a nice mix of mediums, along with performing arts and food trucks. There was pretty much always at least some traffic through the show, and I had a lot of people stop in my booth to take a look and chat. As I mentioned earlier, Friday was my best sales day so far, which still wasn’t great, but still a positive. I was actually really surprised at how much interest there was in my fire hydrant pictures. I haven’t expected to sell a whole lot of those, but the sales and interest so far in those (particularly at this show) has been encouraging. All the people I encountered were great. A couple of the previous shows I did were better about bringing around snacks/drinks to the artists, and having booth sitters stop by, but that’s not a huge deal to me. Just something I figured I would point out. I didn’t visit with other artists as much at this show as I had at my previous two shows, but I still met and chatted with a few, which was nice.

So all in all, a pretty good weekend. It was fun to visit a place I have never been to, to get some pictures while I was there, get my art out in front of some more people, and meet some more artists. I’ll definitely consider this show for next year. I have a couple months until my next show, so hopefully I don’t forget the system I have put together for packing, setting up, and tearing down 🙂

If you want to see the pictures I got over the weekend, go check them out on my website.