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Huge but risky opportunity....


Cynder
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I've been invited to vend at a massive festival in September of 2023.  By massive I mean it takes up pretty much a whole city and is attended by almost half a million people ever year.  

Vendors are invited to apply.  But an invitation doesn't mean you are guaranteed a spot.  It just means they are willing to consider you.  And I got tapped.  I have a few friends who do it every year and they do phenomenal.  But, it's also 600 miles away, roughly a 9 hour drive.  And it's not like we can just take a small car.  My entire setup has to be hauled there too.  So the gas will be a lot.  The hotel will also be a lot.  Even Aurbnb is expensive in this area.  Lodging will always be expensive near a big festival like this.  

My bf is 100% on board if I do this.  He is willing to drive and help at the booth.  I also told him we could put a few of his paintings up too since his work is amazing.  We are also talking about taking his son.  

The fee is high.  But you have to spend money to make money.  I've learned in almost ten years that the higher the fee the higher the profit.  Huge festivals like this can afford to charge a high fee because they know they will have plenty of vendors willing to pay it.  And they actually allow people to pay the fee in payments, which makes it seem not so daunting.

I will have paid vacation available at my job then.  This is a 3 day festival.  But I could take the whole week off for vacation and then it's not as big a risk becauae I'm n not losing wages from work.  

So, i want to do it.  My bf wants me to do it.  And the other vendors I know want me to do it.  But, everyone else I have talked to has told me it's a terrible idea.  Like people have actually told me I'm stupid just for considering it.  I'm not sugar coating.  Thats what someone actually said.  

So, I've listed a lot of pros and some cons.  I am here asking for opinions because maybe I'm not thinking of something or maybe wanting to do it and being excited are clouding my judgment.  And I know a lot of people are thinking I really should be asking other vendors.  Well yes, ideally I should.  But other vendors are all just going to tell me to do it.  I have fond some threads online posted by vendors who have done it in the past. But they all were pretty old and pre covid so I'm not sure how accurate that info is now.  

So does anyone have any thoughts?

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I would do it only if you would do it without your boyfriend. I would not involve him at all in the planning because whether expressly or impliedly you're going to factor him in as far as the financial and even emotional analysis -meaning it's so different to prep and travel alone as opposed to with a partner you're in a close personal relationship with.

  Also -this is because I live in a city and down the block from a popular park for all sorts of festivals - have you researched the weather patterns? My heart hurts for those vendors who have to deal with sudden rain storms/flooding at times where I live (I mean I don't live in a crazy weather area but it's unusual to have storms during some of these festival dates). I'm not in your line of work/business at all but I know the fees in my city must be high, I know these vendors plan for months or longer for these festivals, I know they need to make a profit and I hate to see Mother Nature interfere with them.

  I understand you can protect your stuff with rain-proof devices but I imagine -and have seen -of course lower turnout in inclement weather. I ask only because I don't get the sense you've spent a lot of time in this city so I was curious about your looking into weather patterns.

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I agree that you should only do it if you can go it alone. It's just a good rule of thumb, period. And I think it's very doable. You've already identified your expenses and your risk. Now you just have to assign a dollar value to them. You have 9 - 10 months to sock away a little money at a time. I'd do it.

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1 hour ago, Batya33 said:

I would do it only if you would do it without your boyfriend. I would not involve him at all in the planning because whether expressly or impliedly you're going to factor him in as far as the financial and even emotional analysis -meaning it's so different to prep and travel alone as opposed to with a partner you're in a close personal relationship with.

  Also -this is because I live in a city and down the block from a popular park for all sorts of festivals - have you researched the weather patterns? My heart hurts for those vendors who have to deal with sudden rain storms/flooding at times where I live (I mean I don't live in a crazy weather area but it's unusual to have storms during some of these festival dates). I'm not in your line of work/business at all but I know the fees in my city must be high, I know these vendors plan for months or longer for these festivals, I know they need to make a profit and I hate to see Mother Nature interfere with them.

  I understand you can protect your stuff with rain-proof devices but I imagine -and have seen -of course lower turnout in inclement weather. I ask only because I don't get the sense you've spent a lot of time in this city so I was curious about your looking into weather patterns.

Not arguing, I just want to make that clear.  Because if it weren't for my personal circumstances I would feel differently.  But I can't do any festivals alone, not completely.  This is because I'm visually impaired and can't drive.  So I always have help on some level, even if it's just being driven there and picked up.  But I also think it would be wise to find someone other than him to be in charge of driving, etc.  He did volunteer himself for this.  And he does have a big enough vehicle that we could take my whole setup without having to take the trailer.  He also has a lot of experience with security at events like this and I would feel safer with him there.  I've never had to hire security before because the events I do have their own.  But considering there will be almost half a million people there, I kinda want my own security too.  This is the kind of event vendors get robbed at. I will definitely be bringing some pepper spray and my stun gun if I do this. 

But on a personal level, yea, it could cause problems.  And since we are talking about his son coming, that might make it worse.  As of now he is willing to drive and help at the booth basically for free.  I mean, I am paying for everything, gas, food, etc, so for him and his son it's a free vacation that just involves him doing something he likes to do anyway.  If he doesn't go that's a lot more I will have to add to my expenses because I will need to bring at least one employee.  (Probably two.)  And depending on which two employees, that could also mean two more hotel rooms.  I have shared hotel rooms with my female employees. But right now my team is mostly men.  Sometimes a bunch of vendors all get together and go in on renting a house for the week, or however long they need.  I've stayed in houses with a bunch of vendors before.  That would be the perfect situation here since lodging is so expensive.  I don't know may of the vendors that will be there.  This is a whole new level for me.  But there are Facebook groups for vendors at particular festivals.  I'm sure there is one for this festival.  That might be a place to start looking.  But then there is the question of how much I can trust people I don't know that well to share a house with. 

As far as the weather... that is a concern.  This is the southern US during hurricane season.  I know this festival was canceled a few years ago a week before it was supposed to happen because of the threat of a hurricane.  Usually when something is canceled in advance like that, the fees are transferred to the following year.  But if it's the day of and suddenly the weather is really bad, the vendors usually just have to suck it up or leave.  I mean, they wouldn't expect anyone to stay during a hurricane.  But I've had water ankle deep in my tent from some pretty bad thunderstorms that we just had to wait out.  I've seen a lady's tent literally rolling down the street in high winds.  I've seen a stained glass artist have a lot of inventory broken because a gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew a lot of his stuff over, etc.  Yea... mother nature screws us a lot.  I've never been to the city where this festival is, but I've been to the state.  I know it's really hot there, too.  Which is also something we need to be prepared for.  Vendors get heat exhaustion regularly.  Even if the sun is shining and it's a beautiful day... it still might be 100 degrees out.  And being out in that for 12ish hours is pretty bad.  (I've done it.)  I will have to ask my two friends what happened the year it was canceled for the hurricane.  I know they were set to do it that year.  But yes, the idea that I could spend all this money to prepare and make all these travel plans just to lose it all because of the weather is a definite risk. 

I know this probably reads like a long stream of consciousness rambling... and it kinda is, lol. 

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55 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I agree that you should only do it if you can go it alone. It's just a good rule of thumb, period. And I think it's very doable. You've already identified your expenses and your risk. Now you just have to assign a dollar value to them. You have 9 - 10 months to sock away a little money at a time. I'd do it.

Well, like I said above, I don't do any festivals completely alone.  I can't drive, so I always have to have some help, even if it's just to get me there and home.  And I don't think anyone would do a festival this large all by themself.  My largest festival to date was attended by under 50k people.  And I couldn't do that one alone.  When there's that many people you need someone else in the booth. It's just too easy for people to steal, etc.  Someone has to be there for when you need a bathroom break, etc.   

I am leaning toward doing it now, even though a lot of people I know think it will be a disaster.  I have until January 23rd to decide.  But once I apply there is no turning back.  The ay most vendor apps work is like this.  When you submit, that is your contract.  So upon submitting you are agreeing to pay if accepted.  So I can't just apply and see if they accept me and then decide.  Once I apply that means I'm committing myself to it.  And if I can't come up with the money and don't show up, I will lose my money and most likely be banned from coming back. 

I still have over a month to do all the research I can and make an informed decision.  Thansk for replying. 

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7 hours ago, Cynder said:

 Like people have actually told me I'm stupid just for considering it.  I'm not sugar coating.  Thats what someone actually said.  

First off, I would never take advice from anyone who ever called me stupid. That’s a stupid thing to say, and it reflects on the person who says it. Maybe it came from someone who discouraged you from having those wonderful experiences in Europe?

D knows more about festivals in his little pinky than anyone outside the industry. To speak to Batya’s point, factor him in as an expense rather than a contributor, then if he ends up lowering your expenses, there’s some icing on your cake.

Even your earliest journaling reflects a responsibility with money that is rare in most humans. You have a almost a year to prepare, and if you think of it like paying for a first in a lifetime ‘learning’ vacation, then regardless of outcomes, you’ll have gained an important experience that could be life enhancing or otherwise valuable for the price of the tuition.

You don’t even know yet if you’ll need to decide. Apply, then learn whether it’s even necessary.

 I will say that there is no aspect of your life that you’ve described as more important to you than your art and festivals, so why not consider this like applying for your Master’s degree and see if you can get accepted?

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Regarding my post above, I just read that if you’re accepted you must comply, and I thought that might be the case. Another way to view it might be the way gamblers view their betting, although you have time to influence the odds to the best of your ability.

Factor in plans b and c for every step, even if some of those measures mean upping your ante on throwing more money at the problem.

When I manage projects I list all tasks with at least 3 options and code them each with one of the 3 pillars of the choice triad: faster, cheaper, or better (quality).

 

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There’s really only one thing you need to consider and that’s whether the potential payout will be worth the risk. Crunch the numbers with your overhead to come up with the worst possible scenario. If that scenario is something you’d be ok with should it happen, go for it. If it isn’t, then don’t. 

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5 hours ago, catfeeder said:

First off, I would never take advice from anyone who ever called me stupid. That’s a stupid thing to say, and it reflects on the person who says it. Maybe it came from someone who discouraged you from having those wonderful experiences in Europe?

D knows more about festivals in his little pinky than anyone outside the industry. To speak to Batya’s point, factor him in as an expense rather than a contributor, then if he ends up lowering your expenses, there’s some icing on your cake.

Even your earliest journaling reflects a responsibility with money that is rare in most humans. You have a almost a year to prepare, and if you think of it like paying for a first in a lifetime ‘learning’ vacation, then regardless of outcomes, you’ll have gained an important experience that could be life enhancing or otherwise valuable for the price of the tuition.

You don’t even know yet if you’ll need to decide. Apply, then learn whether it’s even necessary.

 I will say that there is no aspect of your life that you’ve described as more important to you than your art and festivals, so why not consider this like applying for your Master’s degree and see if you can get accepted?

Right?  It was a family member who said that and they were one of the people who tried really hard to stop me from going to Europe.  And it wasn't framed as "That's a stupid idea."  It was framed as, "You're stupid for thinking about it."  Well, that's kind of an oxymoron in my opinion because a truly stupid person wouldn't think about it at all.  Right now I am just doing research and weighing the pros and the cons.  I did the Festival of Witches in Sleepy Hollow New York is 2019 and I took a massive loss at that show.  All the vendors did.  The venue kinda screwed us.  And this family member brings that up every time I talk about doing a big show like this.  I always hear, "Remember when you went to New York?"  Well, as much as that sucked, crap happens sometimes.  There's always a risk. 

I made a list of all my definite expenses and all my maybe expenses.  I looked at a lot of pics taken at the event online and all the vendors have white tents.  This means they either provide the tents or they require all the vendors to have a white tent.  Either is possible.  But that's something I will have to find out because if it's the latter, I need to buy a white tent.  My tent is black.  (On a side note I've been dreaming for years of my "Galactent."  It just hasn't happened yet.  I want to paint my tent like a galaxy.  I did an experiment once to see how well spray paint looks on the fabric that a regular tent is made of.  And I had an old tent to practice on.  My nephew and I and a kid from the neighborhood went to town on it out in my yard with like 10 cans of spray paint.  It was awesome.)  But anyway... I can't take my black tent.  So buying another tent is under the maybe catagory.  And if I need to bring my own tent I know a lot of people with white tents who could possibly let me borrow one. 

If D was just some guy I was dating who didn't know anything about festivals he would just be along for the ride.  But you're right.  He has a lot to offer in this case.  He has a background working security at large events like this.  And his son really wants to come too.  His son is in his late teens, so it's not like we are bringing a toddler that will need to be watched and kept an eye on the whole time.  He would be an extra set of hands to help load and unload, etc.  And this might seem like a minor thing...  but the Skunk.  The skunk's name is Valentine and he goes with D everywhere.  This time though, I might have to tell him Valentine can't come with us because it might really make finding a hotel difficult.  Skunks are surprisingly clean animals but I doubt any hotel is going to tell us we can bring a skunk into our room.  So if he has to pay someone to babysit for a few days, that's money I will owe him.  I am thinking of every possible thing I can and writing it down.  It seems like I'm getting off track here but I am thinking of the added expenses and the added benefits of having him come with me instead of just bringing an employee. 

I do consider myself really good with money.  I've seen so many people make awful financial decisions, even my parents.  So I guess I decided when I was younger that I wouldn't be one of those people.  And this could be a massive learning experience for me and it could open a lot of doors.  For years my Pie in the Sky event has been Bonnaroo.  I've said for years, one day I'll do the 'Roo.  This event is actually bigger.  So if I can pull this off and do well, then I know I could do Bonnaroo. 

Have you ever seen the video for the song No Rain by Blind Melon?  It starts out with this awkward girl in a bee suit tap dancing and getting booed off stage.  And she leaves the auditorium and goes out and performs for a bunch of people on the street who all ignore her, etc.  And eventually she finds her tribe of people who accept her.  That's exactly how I felt when I started doing festivals.  My work was not well received in art school.  It is too out there for most galleries.  My senior exhibit was canceled at last minute and I had to go find another venue because the original venue decided my work was just too controversial for them.  I just don't fit anywhere else.  And the scene is full of people just like me who all get it.  People who work at festivals are some of the most interesting people on the planet.  You talk to us and you will meet people who've been all over the world, and done amazing things, etc. This is something I'm really passionate about and it's honestly the only thing I have to be proud of.  I don't have kids.  My work is my legacy.  

I'm just throwing this in in case anyone is curious.  

 

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9 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I don't mean alone alone. I mean as Batya says, plan as if you didn't have your boyfriend's support. 

Right.  I have a list of definite expenses and a list of possible expenses.  A lot of the possible expenses depend on it D comes with me or not.  I think it's easy to assume he is coming one way or another at this point.  Even if he comes and doesn't help me at all and it's just a vacation for him.  I already invited him, so I can't tell him, "Well sorry. I decided you can't come." 

But from here on out I will be planning as if all the possible expenses are definite expenses.  That way I am prepared for the absolute highest overhead and then anything I end up not having to pay for is just extra money. 

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I think it’s ok to make him the offer that you’re fine if he comes just to keep you company. So he doesn’t feel obligated to work or have his son work. Also consider if he brings the skunk you may have a difficult time finding a place to stay and or have to pay hefty advance pet and or cleaning fees. 

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37 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I think it’s ok to make him the offer that you’re fine if he comes just to keep you company. So he doesn’t feel obligated to work or have his son work. Also consider if he brings the skunk you may have a difficult time finding a place to stay and or have to pay hefty advance pet and or cleaning fees. 

Yea I wrote about the skunk in another reply.  There are hotels that will allow dogs and cats with a deposit.  But a lot of places have a strict policy against exotic pets.  And domesticated skunks are illegal in over half the state in the US.  I will have to see if they are legal where we are going.  I mean sure, we don't live there and he has all the paperwork saying that Valentine is up to date on his shots, he is licensed, etc.  But I know he won't take Valentine anywhere where skunks aren't legal, just in case.  Sometimes animal control doesn't care where you're from.  I'm doing a show this weekend and Valentine is coming along.  This will be interesting. 

I did make it clear when we first talked about it that he is not expected to work and neither is his son.  But he wants to.  He was with me at a show a few weeks ago and he just came as my guest.  I told him he is allowed to walk around and do whatever he wants while the festival is happening.  But he stayed with me at the booth all day.  If his son wants to help load and unload I won't say no to the help, and he will get paid. But he's not expected to. 

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1 hour ago, Lambert said:

stay away from that person that called you stupid... or least stop telling them your plans...that person is not on your side.  

Why exactly? is it soo stupid??

Well it was a family member who said that.  I am thr black sheep and my family operates under the assumption that everything I do is stupid.  But in this case they think I'm stupid for considering it because I would have to take time off work and because I don't have enough inventory to sell to half a million ppl.  And because it's far away.  And they keep siting the time I did a festival in New York that completely flopped.  Those are the reasons.  And those are all valid concerns.  But they aren't enough to convince me not to do it.   

I'm on mobile.  Sorry if this is sloppy.  

  

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Hi Cynder,

My husband sometimes stands at a "festival" called Masterpiece. The cheapest stand is £20,000. Yes. You can buy a Picasso there, any kind of museum worthy clock. It's one of the biggest "tent" events in England for high end art and curiosities and furniture, etc. 

He never does it alone because his stuff is too breakable and precious and he needs help and quick, as you do, setting everything up. Someone needs to be there to watch his area if he needs to go to the loo. Things like that. Some people even hire interior designers to arrange their stalls. It's all a big serious affair. I actually don't like it much, I prefer the outdoor open antique events like Newark, Ardingly, etc. (I'm in England).

He deals in fine art by the way, and other things that are too specific to mention here. 

You have to weigh up whether you can afford to go and not sell one single thing, and take your outgoings to get there and do the fair on the chin. That's the way you know. There is always an element of risk and not selling anything when you run your own business, as you will know.

Can you afford to lose that money? If you can, I would definitely, definitely do it. The contacts alone you network with might be more precious and valuable than even the artwork you might sell.

x

 

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It sounds like fun and a good opportunity. The only risks are the non-refundable costs and if you two are still together in Sept 2023.

Have a backup plan in case he changes his mind or things don't work out. That way you can look forward to it either way.

Are these festivals more like concerts or more like burning man or those medieval events?

Are the types of wares you offer popular with the type of crowd that would attend this type of festival? For example scented candles wouldn't do as well at a Harley Davidson rally as it would at a mindbody convention.

Overall, would you be happy to go for the adventure even if you broke even or took a loss? Not to get too YOLO on you, but that's a factor too.

 

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Also, just to add as a little side line observation as someone who used to go and help my husband set up his outdoor stand for about 6 years, on and off, before we had our 3 kids, I will say - regarding your boyfriends art, just make sure that it blends and compliments your own, and the whole feel or vibe of your stall. You don't want it to feel miss matched or thrown together.

I know you know this, but you don't want to do him a favour to the depriment of your own work. 

I realise how hectic and exciting it can be. I remember years of sleeping in the van together the night before the fair, setting up hurriedly at 3am in the Winter, so me and my husband could split up and scour the place (we were dealers) for anything just coming out of peoples vans and first on their stalls. I would call him if I saw anything worth while and he would come running to do the negotiating with the seller. The private buyers would start rolling in at 9am, 10am - but we would be done by 3pm as the stalls were often picked apart and emptier by then. All our buying and selling was done between 4am and 9am normally. 

Anyway, the things we found were - get your lighting right. Use spot light well placed, softer lighting when necessary. Think about your floor. In the canopy tent, we used to throw down a huge Persian rug. This suited our vibe and our pieces. Some people would light candles in storm jars, hang candle lit chandeliers from the top of the canopy. Some would have low music on, scented diffusers. It was all going on in order to attract and compliment whatever they had on their tables. You probably do all this but I'm just adding it incase, through observation (my husband has been doing it, 20 years now, I have been with him for 15 of it, helping nearly all the time before the kids and now, the odd piece of admin instead). 

The networking and making contacts aspect is and always was the most important aspect of going out and doing anything - from fairs to delivering pieces personally. It gets the ball rolling. It's got a domino affect. 3/4 of my husbands time at the fairs were not only buying stock for his business, but just meeting people and forming contacts. Some of the people he met 20 years ago have become firm buyers or, put him onto all sorts of things. I would imagine it's different when you are the actual creator of the art, but I imagine the principle is still the same, and I imagine you can often get repeat buyers. 

Ever thought about creating a professional looking catalogue of a good portion of your work? A portion of your work that is cohesive and flows together, looks great in concession, in a glossy book? 

My husband has done this before, using professional photographers etc. and it means you have this very luxurious, glossy promotional piece to send out in the post or give to people you think are very serious about a series of work you have, or a single piece. 

He recently sold items to a Chinese museum and it was due to not only his website, and a contact he made about 8 years ago - but a catalogue he made as well, of these pieces. He sent it off to them and it landed on the desk of the curator and the rest is history. 

I imagine something similar could be made for an alternative, cool feeling, psychedelic leaflet of your work. I would definitely create a great quality website for your work if you haven't already!

Anyway, just suggestions. I realise the antique world is much more traditional and stuffy than the circles you might be running in to promote your art. Just offering some suggestions that have worked for us.

Good luck!

x

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

It sounds like fun and a good opportunity. The only risks are the non-refundable costs and if you two are still together in Sept 2023.

Have a backup plan in case he changes his mind or things don't work out. That way you can look forward to it either way.

Are these festivals more like concerts or more like burning man or those medieval events?

Are the types of wares you offer popular with the type of crowd that would attend this type of festival? For example scented candles wouldn't do as well at a Harley Davidson rally as it would at a mindbody convention.

Overall, would you be happy to go for the adventure even if you broke even or took a loss? Not to get too YOLO on you, but that's a factor too.

 

Yea there will be a backup plan in place.  I know this thread isn't about my relationship but I have given that aspect of this a lot of thought too.  As of now, his feelings for me are stronger than my feelings for him.  I know it's not a contest.  But he has been carrying a torch for me for a long time.  I had no idea until earlier this year.  It was a combo of me being really dense at times and him being shy when it comes to those things.  So his feelings are more developed than mine.  To me this still feels like a teenage crush.  And we've talked about this.  He is in love.  I am starting to be but not quite there yet.  So of course he was ecstatic when I asked if he would want to come with me.  Because I'm sure on his end he is thinking, "this means she still wants me around 9 months from now."  And I hope he still will be around then.  But reality is you never know.  I've learned to count on no one.  He has carried this torch for me for a long time.  But who’s to say he’s not carrying one for someone else now that he has me.  And this is a poly relationship so he's allowed.  But someone could replace me by then.  

The events I do have kind of a wide range.  I do a lot of events that are like Burning Man but smaller. I also do a lot of Pagan Pride events.  I do some Gay Pride events.  I do a few Tattoo conventions.  I do some music festivals.  And I do one event that is a massive street fair where people are there to drink and dance.  But I'm a mixed media artist.  My work is diverse enough that it sells everywhere. I've also had almost ten years to find events that work for me.  I doubt half a million people will walk by my booth and buy nothing.  From the pics I looked at and what I know of the vendors who will be there, it's a pretty diverse crowd.  

I would like to make a big profit, of course.  But honestly, if I did it and broke even i could live with that.  It would be cool to just be able to say I did it.  The stories I would have to tell afterwords, the bonding with D and possibly with his son, the people I would meet, etc.  I bet it would really inspire me like a lot of these events do.  And I love long drives.  D is an amazing person to be on a road trip with.  Him and I went somewhere four hours away and back during the height of the pandemic when we both were off work.  I actually haven’t met his son yet.  But I assume it would be fun for him too.  

I think my decision is pretty much made based on this thread.  I will have to start budgeting and figuring out what I need, when I need it, etc.

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I'm glad you made your decision to do this.  I had one more suggestion but you probably do this already -is there a specific message board/social media group where vendors discuss this particular festival so that if you get accepted (I think you mentioned you still are in the application process?) you can sort of get specific tips/inside info/places to stay about this event?

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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm glad you made your decision to do this.  I had one more suggestion but you probably do this already -is there a specific message board/social media group where vendors discuss this particular festival so that if you get accepted (I think you mentioned you still are in the application process?) you can sort of get specific tips/inside info/places to stay about this event?

There is, but it's a private group and they don't let people in who haven't been accepted yet.  The apps go out on January 23rd.  It's awesome that they actually let that date be known because most festivals don't.  Returning vendors get first dibs and then anyone else just has to keep an eye out for the app and hope they catch it before it's full.  I know when the app is going live.  So I can be ready to go.  I thought about asking the people I know who do it if they could screenshot their app for me just so I know what I will need to full it out. Some of these apps get really specific.  They will want a certain number of photos at certain dimensions, etc.  Since I know some returning vendors they most likely already have the app available to them. I've already been warned that they are really picky about their application. 

I also am not sure if I should apply for the artists section specifically, or the regular vendor section.  Artists can be in either.  The artist section is really hard to get accepted into but the fee is lower.  The other section is easy to get accepted into but the fee is really high.  I still have a while to decide.  My friends who do it don't sell in the artists section and they do really well. 

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