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Author Topic: High-level question of Ren Faire finances  (Read 2055 times)

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Offline ttuskey

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High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« on: August 14, 2013, 01:59:48 PM »
I've always wondered just how the overall finances of all aspects of a faire (Bristol in particular) are run.  High level overview.
At the simplest level you have the gate.  What the tickets cost.  That's the main "money-in" part of the equation.
I know there's all sorts of overhead (property taxes, insurance, etc..) obviously.
Who gets the place looking so wonderful for opening day?  Do shopowners each fix up their own location or does the overall management do that?

But from the following perspectives:
1) shop owners:  Someone owns a clothing botique.  An incense shop, trinkets, mugs, whatever.  There's a physical location that is your shop.  I'm assuming that person pays a flat rate to use that spot for the season?  Is there a sort of tax that goes up to the faire management (x% of each sale)? 
2) Stage performers - do they get 100% of what the collect "in the hat"?  Do they get any sort of payment outside of the hat?  Do they pay a sort of rental?
3) Queen, court, hangers-on - all of the people cavorting around the queen.  Lots of actors in the Noble's glade.   How are they paid?

And anything else I may have missed?

Offline dbaldock

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Re: High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 06:05:52 PM »
Unless several Faires are run by the same corporation, whether and how much participants (Vendors, Hired-in Entertainers, Cast, Food & Maintenance Crews) get paid varies from event to event.

There's also corporate promotion, either in Advertising (printing tickets or program guides) or possibly Product Pricing, for some Ren Faires - mostly noticeable in things like Beer, Wine, and other Alcohol products, and sometimes specialty food items like Turkey Legs.


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Offline GryffinSong

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Re: High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 07:44:25 PM »
...Who gets the place looking so wonderful for opening day?  Do shopowners each fix up their own location or does the overall management do that?...

In most cases a vendor maintains their own shop and/or pavilion, and often picks up trash and such outside their own booth. For instance, at my new (to me) shop at CRF, I need to rake about 20' around my shop, pick up any trash around it, and adhere to some general guidelines about appearance and signage of my shop.

Quote
1) shop owners:  Someone owns a clothing botique.  An incense shop, trinkets, mugs, whatever.  There's a physical location that is your shop.  I'm assuming that person pays a flat rate to use that spot for the season?  Is there a sort of tax that goes up to the faire management (x% of each sale)?

There is a flat fee to use the space. No percentage to the faire. Additional fees might include electricity, and if one is camping there, there's generally a camping fee either weekly or for the season. They also require that we carry liability insurance so they don't have financial liability if something happens in our shop.
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Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 09:20:02 PM »
As David said, it varies from site to site. As I understand it, on some properties, the shopowner pays a percentage of their gross to the faire, and they pay for the construction of their shop, or they purchase someone's existing shop.

Some faires are juried, which means that the vendors have to go through a process whereby their wares are determined to be fit to be marketed at a given faire. Generally at these faires, the wares may not be mass produced at an overseas factory, but must be crafted by the shopowners.

Faire revenue, then, will be a combination of gate, souvenirs, and often the food and drink concessions.

Stage performers, to my knowledge, are allowed to keep all of what they collect, and some faires will also have to guarantee some amount.

Many of the actors--all at some faires--are working for the love of the craft. Most are required to provide their own costuming.

All the information I have given is what I have been told by various cast members and vendors. It WILL vary from faire to faire.
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Offline PollyPoPo

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Re: High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 11:28:35 PM »
Quick look at the Bristol Faire main website shows the following at the bottom of their Faire\Marketplace tab:

"Present your handcrafted product line in our beautiful park to a willing, happy audience. Unique crafts and high-quality artistry captivate our patrons and result in repeat customers year after year. Open a Tudor-style shop (build or rent), wear a costume, demonstrate your work if you are able, and interact with people of all ages and interests. Contact Julia Romanski, Marketplace Director, by phone at (847) 395-7773, ext. 228, or via e-mail to romanski@renfair.com to request an application pack or discuss bringing your original works and wares to the 2013 Bristol Renaissance Faire Marketplace."

Looks like they do some form of juried selections and like other big faires, have booths for rent as well as vendor built.  There is no mention on the site of a run-of-the-faire fee, but it is likely each vendor is charged a fee to operate their shop.

Bristol also has an audition tab at their site indicating that experienced actors are paid, many are volunteers, and some positions are set aside for college students. 

Polly PoPo
(aka Grannie)

Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: High-level question of Ren Faire finances
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2013, 05:50:58 AM »
Here is what I know about Bristol.  The vendors own their own shops.  I don't know about paying percentages, etc, but the only way they don't own the shop is if somebody else owns it and rents it out to them.  We know someone who owns  2 shops and rents one out.  Not just anyone can open a shop there.  The faire has to approve it.  Most vendors make their own wares.  The food and drink concessions are owned by the faire.

Stage performers receive some payment, then they get to keep their hat.  Which most depend on.

For the cast, it depends.  In the noble glade, the Queen and a couple of other performers are paid.  Most of the noble court are not.  They do it because they love it.  Street cast are usually paid, but some will work for free admission and the fact they can put it on a resume (especially theater students) and/or that they can say they worked at Bristol.

Probably more info then I can provide, but knowing vendors and performers who work there, that's what I have gathered.
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