Festivals – A Quick Guide
By Joni Nettleship
Do you do them? If so, do you pay pitch fees? How much? Is it pay per face and how much do you charge? How long do you paint for and what time do you pack away? Do you paint after sunset?
Festival season is looming and you need to keep your wits about you if you want to remain sane and end up with a profit. If this is your first festival experience here are my top tips:
-Keep your prices up, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been asked to work for free/my best rate. Your current rate IS your best rate so don’t be haggled down. Any talk of no budget/small budget is not your concern.
-Pitch fee. Unless you’re turning a huge profit you shouldn’t be paying big daily fees. Similarly ‘donations’ at the end of the day should be reasonable, for example 10-15 percent of profit (not takings) and always discussed in advance.
-Remember that the start of a festival or music event can be slow. If you can, think about setting up early then returning when you know it’ll be busier. In my first years face painting I wasted hours sitting in empty fields wondering why no one else was there. Now I set up early, leave and go back mid afternoon sometimes having squeezed in a birthday party. Time is money.
-You will always get good natured souls trying to get you to paint them for free, if you’re lucky you may be offered different payment, for instance a slurp of their drink or a sweaty embrace. It is always their birthday. Do what you will.
-A headtorch is invaluable after the sun goes down and the evening crowds arrive, stay focussed and paint your ass off because it will get to that point where..
...Drunk people will stumble into your kit.
Good quick festival designs are one stroke swirls, flowers, rainbows, anything involving a stencil and good old glitter. Guys like the Bowie stripe and Mike Tyson (I know I know). Pack extra water, don’t drink alcohol until you’ve finished and enjoy!