This past Saturday, I participated in the Rock Hill Pottery and Arts Festival at the Gettys Art Center. This event was held in conjunction with Rock Hill’s Come See Me Festival, a nine-day long citywide festival. The Pottery and Arts Festival, however, was just for the day.
It had all the makings of a perfect day. At 82 degrees with cloudless skies and minimal winds, you couldn’t have asked for better weather. The 45-minute drive down to Rock Hill was relatively painless since it was early Saturday morning. I arrived at the Gettys Art Center and parked conveniently across the street from their lot located behind the building.
The artists were displaying on the Gettys Center parking lot as well as inside the building. I ended up sharing a little grassy nook with a neighboring artist located on the corner, right at the parking lot entrance. I pitched my EZ-up in front of what I thought was a sculpture that resembled a unique jungle gym. Here’s a shot of it.
I later found out that it’s actually a bike rack donated by a local biking group. The kids that were there didn’t know any better and many of them were swinging on it like Tarzan. Of course before the day was over someone hurt themselves although fortunately it was nothing serious.
So with all that said, what went wrong? Well I guess I’d have to answer that question with a question and that is, “Where the heck was everyone?” There was a parade that started at 10:00 AM on Main Street which is exactly where the Gettys Center sits. Since we were in the parking lot behind the center, we were pretty close to all of the fanfare.
Once the parade was over we did have some people trickle in but by that time it was around Noon and I figured that the rest of the crowd would break for lunch. So again we sat and waited and I was thinking that after 1:00 that they might return.
Unfortunately THAT didn’t happen either. This was feeling a lot like the arts festival that I attended back in October but with even LESS in attendance. Overall, it didn’t seem like a lot of artists did that well. I didn’t make a dime. In general it was pretty dead.
The day wasn’t a total loss. I managed to crank out a couple of sketches that I will post later. There were a couple of my NoDa buddies that I saw who also set up shop in the parking lot. They live in Rock Hill and were surprised at the lack of turnout versus last year. There were so many theories from artists and visitors alike as to why this happened, ranging from other ongoing Come See Me Festival events that took place around the same time, to the misunderstanding that the Arts and Pottery festival would continue on the following week. Apparently it was the event host, the Rock Hill Pottery Center, that was going to have a separate event at that time. Also since the Pottery and Arts Festival was NOT officially a part of Come See Me, they did not have the benefit of receiving as much in the way of publicity and advertisement from them. The Pottery and Arts Festival was advertised in local papers and websites.
This was most unfortunate. The facilitators of the Pottery and Arts Festival did a great job and were very helpful and friendly. It was well-organized with little if any logistical issues. We received applications from them to apply next year, however since they are increasing the booth fees, I have to wonder if that will turn people away. I also think it’s funny that this was also ANOTHER festival that had a successful first-time event last year but did not have the same success the second year.
Well on a high note as far as festivals are concerned, it didn’t cost me NEARLY as much as the last outdoor festival since I already had all of my equipment. I am becoming more efficient at setting up and breaking down.
One of the participants took my card and told me that he would email me information on more upcoming festivals. I am sure I will consider participating in them because it is obvious to me that I am a glutton for punishment.