So, I had my first huge show this past weekend. It was a 3day music festival called Forecastle Festival and by all rights it seemed everything was going to be awesome: great music, 17,000 attendees, awesome location, good weather. However, my experience quickly soured as the three days of the festival wore on. Here is my story ....
The night before the first day of the festival, we went to set up our booth and were told we didn't have a location assigned - our first warning sign. So we somewhat randomly chose a spot and set up right next to a huge fountain by the DJ stage. The next sour spot was a runin with a festival employee. My friend - who is not from the area and doesn't know how to navigate downtown Louisville - was waiting in his car for me to find a temporary booth watcher so that I could come park for him. The employee screamed at my friend to move his car, to which my friend asked if he could direct him to a place to park? The employee said "that's not my problem" and proceeded to actually call the cops up and continue screaming insults at us as I RAN out to the car to move it for my friend! The employee continued to creep around our booth the entire day, finding things to pick at us about (for example, my boyfriend didn't get a re-entry band - because he wasn't planning on leaving - and the employee sent an apologetic coworker over to reluctantly scold us. WTF?) As far as sales, traffic was slow at the spot I chose on the first day. I barely made 20 sale or so. But no matter, Fridays are always slower than Saturdays! I remained optimistic.
Saturday morning I showed up at 12pm to the sight of my entire tent flipped over, soaking wet, my booth dismanteled, and my inventory all over the ground. My first thought was back to the employee from the first day, but I have no proof of anything. Nothing was stolen, although my tent frame was bent and broken, many of the metal chains on my necklaces were rusted, my signs were all soaked through, and I lost about 2 hours moving my booth away from the water and towards a more protected area. No one assisted our move.
No one came to apologize for the loss of our booth (although many curious bystanders asked what happened, and a few volunteers informed us that they'd fished our tent out of the water earlier that morning, Christmas lights and all). I sent my boyfriend to buy us a new tent and pocketed the loss myself. A kindly security guard told me to ask the event staff to bring us the weights that were provided to every vendor. We asked 10 different staff members and were told repeatedly, "that's not my problem." I began to wonder what their problem WAS, exactly ... clearly it wasn't helping the vendors with anything! I did see several security guards smoking pot and harassing attendees, though.... hmmm. At any rate, we set back up for the day and tied our tent down to a streetlight and a bench for security. Unfortunately, we realized that day that this was a bad location. All of the vendors around us had picked up their tents and moved. It dawned on us that the music festival was focused much more on jam bands (who played at the other 2 stages) and not electronica. There was nobody at our booth for several hours, and thousands of people milling around the other 2 stages! We decided to move our booth one last time on the third day.
My devoted friend and I moved the booth all by ourselves in the 90 degree weather, up and down 2 flights of stairs, to the more populated area of the fair. We were EXHAUSTED. We asked for help from the staff but no one would lend us so much as a ride in a golf cart (altough the owner of the festival did run me over with some tiki torches and knock several of my items off the table with his golf cart....) The location we moved to was much better traffic and entertainment-wise, too bad we only had that benefit for one day! It was enough to help me finally make a little bit of profit after my expensive booth fee, though. At the end of the 3 days, we were exhausted (8am to 2am every single day, carrying heavy stuff and little relief from the heat!) but we had fun. All of my friends came to help out and I met some great people. I am very dissapointed in the disorganization of the staff, but as an attendee I'm sure I would've had an amazing time. Not sure I'll try to do this festival again in the future, though.
What are your awful show experiences?