I can say now that I am no longer a festival virgin. I was initiated in a big way this past weekend and am still recovering from it. Here is a list of things I wish I had known beforehand.
- Make sure you have a reliable, dependable back up team. I didn’t and was miserable. Be very clear in communicating expectations and needs.
- Getting to your site can be an irritating problem. I had to deal with equipment and trucks blocking the way and roads closed that were said to be open.
- Rethink your footwear. I thought my faithful old hiking sandals would provide enough support. Nope. I was barefoot most of the day as a result. Your feet may swell, especially if you are outdoors in the heat standing up for most of the day.
- If you need electricity be prepared for extra charges and the need to cover up your drop cords due to state law. I am going to look for battery or solar-powered fans for the next outdoor event.
- Don’t post your prices in a proominant place. Even though mine were consistent with those of other vendors for the same thing people would stop, read my sign, and walk away not bothering to look at what I offered.
- Take a mini first aid kit. Include headache and stomach remedies.
- Carabiners work better than zip ties for some things. You will need a hand truck or cart on wheels.
- Other handy items include extra tarps, trash bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, bug spray, and sunscreen, clothes pins, painter’s tape,and a box cutter. A portable cell phone charger pack is a requirement.
- Sports drinks and electrolyte placement if outdoors in the heat is extremely important. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Don’t skimp on salt. Bring your own cooler full.
- Make sure your online presence is up to date before the festival. I had been sloppy about maintaining my social media sites. People would take my card and go home and look me up.
Overall, my first festival was a positive experience. I didn’t make a lot of money, just enough to cover my entrance fee, but the lessons learned were priceless. I was in tears often over the kindness of strangers and the camaraderie among vendors. I made some great connections, met wonderful people I want to stay in contact with, and have begun to refine my craft techniques as well as what I will be offering in the future.