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Author Topic: Performing at smaller "soft" faires  (Read 2233 times)

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Offline Prof. John Bull

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Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« on: November 27, 2009, 11:41:18 AM »
What's it like performing at the smaller "soft" faires -- those without a permanent set and which typically run for one or two weekends?  Is it worthwhile?  Does the more dedicated nature of the patrons overcome their smaller numbers?

Offline Terry Griffith

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2009, 01:59:49 PM »
Worthwhile is a relative term.  They don't usually pay money.  I have played at soft faires that were exceptions but "usually" they ask for volunteer performers and cast.

They can be enjoyable by patrons that like to travel.  Actually, the experience can be more authentic in that the smaller numbers feel more realistic.
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Offline temper

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 03:41:54 PM »
I love small faires-you know everyone, you have a lot of leeway.
We carry a tent for ourselves since there is usually no 'backstage' for us to eat, drink or relax out of sight. In some ways it takes away the uncertainty and lets us set our own criteria.
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Offline Fugli

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 08:51:37 AM »
They don't usually pay money.

Yes, but they often give performers a lot of leeway. I like making my own schedule and just doing what I want, when I want, so I think they're perfect. Instead of paying, you can get most of them to just let you set up a booth of wares. I'd rather sell a CD or mp3 collection any day.

I know, however, that a lot of people want specific on and off stage times. I am the type to just set up a small area off the corner of someones tent, belt off a three set, and, if no crowd forms, be on my way.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 08:55:14 AM by Fugli »
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Offline Jaythebarbarian

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 11:12:51 PM »
Small faires are great.  Especially if you're trying out newer material and want to workshop it with an audience.  The pay runs from nonexistent to very worthwhile, but it's the experience that really makes them stick.
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Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 08:07:08 AM »
We like small faires.  It makes us feel more on a one to one basis with the performers.  They can be more relaxed with their audience than at a big faire.  Since there is usually less entertainment that at a huge faire, we tend to see several or all of their shows instead of 1 or 2, which means, of course, we tip at each show, so although the performer doesn't have a large audience to get tips from, it is kind of made up from people giving multiple tips.

From a vendor point of view, we buy a lot of our faire purchases at smaller faires.  The prices are almost always cheaper than at the giant faires, and some of the vendors are at both.  I guess it probably is because the overhead at a smaller faire is less, so they can charge less than at a bigger faire.

Case in point:  I wanted leather skirt hikes.  At a large faire, the price was $10 per hike.  At the smaller faire, I bought 2 for $15.  I've seen mug straps at larger faires for $8-$10.  The same leather strap at a smaller faire $4-5.  No brainer in my opinion.
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Offline manharp

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 01:45:36 AM »
     I did single-weekend faires for about 4 years (as a musician) before getting a gig at a full-sized faire.  I did about a dozen different small festivals up and down the east coast, including ones put on by a town library or college club, etc.   Although some were volunteer, some actually paid me as much as the big faire (mind you, I'm pretty much at the low end of the pay scale, so this would differ for other performers).  I also often sold more CDs at the small faires.  I'm a solo harpist, so at the big faire I'm competing for tips and CD sales with larger, high energy groups who draw bigger crowds (and are also often audible when I'm trying to perform, which kind of takes away from the effect of my music.); at some small faires I was the only musician with a CD there.  So, for me the small faires were actually a comparable gig, although for said high-energy musical groups who can fill a large stage seating-area, the big faire is probably more preferable.  The main benefit for me of the big faire is a steady gig more rather a larger crowd - I've gone from being the big fish in a small pond to the small fish in the big pond.
     I also found each little faire has it's own style and charm.  Some of them are very "amateur", but others were more authentic  than the big ones, because they're in it for the culture, not the profit. (I find the larger faires have a lot of non-Renaissance acts loosely disguised as Renaissance acts, more use of amplification which I think kills the atmosphere, and sometimes even laxer rules on appearance such as costuming, dreads and tattoos, etc.)

Offline Rowan MacD

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Re: Performing at smaller "soft" faires
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 04:14:41 PM »
From a vendor point of view, we buy a lot of our faire purchases at smaller faires.  The prices are almost always cheaper than at the giant faires, and some of the vendors are at both.  I guess it probably is because the overhead at a smaller faire is less, so they can charge less than at a bigger faire.
Case in point:  I wanted leather skirt hikes.  At a large faire, the price was $10 per hike.  At the smaller faire, I bought 2 for $15.  I've seen mug straps at larger faires for $8-$10.  The same leather strap at a smaller faire $4-5.  No brainer in my opinion.
  Shhhhh. That was supposed to be a secret ^_^. LOL.
   I never buy at the big faires.  Vendors at smaller events have cheaper wares usually because they don't pay for the placement,  or pay very little to vend. They also have the time to help you select something that fits your needs, or in the case of leather workers, can make on the spot items and don't mind making a few minor repairs for you. 
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