Q: I’m a newbie to the world of shows, and I feel like I’m prepared as far as what to bring for supplies, but are there instances that come up unexpectedly that I may not be ready for?
A: I assume you have a comprehensive checklist of supplies to bring to a show. It can be helpful to organize this by their function; this will assure you have the tools you need. But alas, you know what they say about the best-made plans. Before you leave home, go online and Goggle hardware stores, copy centers and any other supplier you think you’ll need in the ZIP code or location of the show. You could also contact the presenters and ask for names and addresses of businesses—they should have this readily available and you won’t be the first to ask. Also remember your network: no doubt you will have friends at the show who may be able to assist with an unexpected need.
You will also want to talk to the promoter about the rules and regulations of the venue housing the show, and find out if it is in a union venue. Union policies, which will vary from venue to venue, may be more troublesome for you. These policies may prohibit you from painting your booth on site, draping a table, installing your own lights (seldom are you allowed to plug them in, if it is in a union hall) and moving your freight from the dock to your booth. There may be personnel from the venue to help move your freight, but be absolutely sure of the costs for these services before shipping to or arriving at the show. Some venues charge per box for delivering shipped-in freight, and you need to know these costs before you decide to ship with a commercial carrier. There are a number of art movers who will pick up your booth and materials at your studio and deliver them to your space at the venue; they deal with the unions and all that entails.