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Hello! 

I’m gearing up for a big outdoor craft show in a few weeks and the exhibitors packet said “no ez up tents” due to the venue being windy. This is my first time doing this show so I’m not sure what to do! I don’t own a canopy like a light dome or trim line, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to invest that much, and renting one will cost almost half the price of buying one!

Anyone have any advice?? Will a good quality pop up probably be ok with proper weights? Or do I bite the bullet and buy the light dome? 

Thanks! 

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Hi, MAS, and welcome to the Forum...

Since the event organizer says no EZ-up tents because of wind, I'm wondering why they would allow any other type of canopy...I say this because I only have experience with EZ-ups. I would imagine that any canopy in windy conditions run the risk of becoming airborne. That said, do you even need a canopy? Can you define your space with your display shelving and/or tables?

Hopefully some of the forum members who have more experience with this type of venue will have more input...

JohnnyK

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In windy condition, the high end tents (Lite Dome, Trimline) can become kites too. But overall they are reliably sturdy whereas pop up tents are made by many different manufacturers and come in a wide range of quality. Every tent needs proper weights to avoid becoming a kite. But cheap tents can still twist and crumple even when properly weighted. 

Should you buy a high end tent now? If you are having good success at art fairs, and feel commited to doing them regularly for many years, then yes. If you are still not sure about that, then rent it this time and keep working towards discovering whether you want to do this long term. 

Edit: I would not try to sneak a pop up into a show that says “no pop ups.” Shows these days are getting much savvier about rules and rules enforcement. Which is overall a good thing. Shows that have a good handle on this tend to be of higher quality. Ignoring rules can get you banned from a good show.

Edited by GEP

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Windier venues need to realize that the only way to assure safety and stability of the show is to have more space around each booth for staking the tents down. All too often just weights on the legs does not account for the amount of pressure that can build up under a canopy during a windy gusty day.

 

best,

Pres

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Thanks everyone. 

What’s weird is the event organizer didn’t say “no pop ups”. She specifically said “no ez ups”. Which is confusing cause there is such a variety of quality within that brand. I even asked for clarification and she was still unclear. I definitely don’t want to stand out or look unprofessional compared to the other exhibitors, but I also am still fairly new to doing craft shows and I don’t want to spend too much money (considering I do not know how well I will do at the show).

I guess I’m going to have to rent a tent for $375. But I’m very frustrated because I did not account for that cost when I spent over $500 on the booth fee. 

 

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There are some pop-up tents that are actually quite heavy duty. So maybe the show is trying not to exclude those. Maybe they are using the brand name EZ UP because they are so common and generally flimsy (even the best EZ UPs are not great). They probably mean that term to apply to any canopy of that grade, the ones that cost less than $500. 

Those heavy duty pop-ups are just as expensive as a Lite Dome or Trimline. And because they don’t break down into separate pieces, they are really heavy. You need to be brawny enough to use them.

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I don't have a lot to say on the subject of pop up tents, because outdoor art fairs where I'm at are usually one day (or night) events, and only something you do when the weather is nice. Listen to the folks who do this regularly: they know of which they speak.

I just want to second the whole notion though, of not trying to deliberately go against any directive that a show organizer gives you, especially one that specific. They're asking what they ask for a reason, even if that reason isn't immediately obvious, or one that you're privy to. Trust that their request is one that they have made to make the event go more smoothly and hopefully reduce everyone's stress. Even if you're still in the beginning stages of learning about craft shows, presenting yourself as a professional is something you must get into the habit of, for your own benefit. 

In the name of maybe minimizing some of your overhead for this show while you build you funds up, is there anyone you know who has a tent that meets the requirements that you could maybe borrow for the event? Are there facebook groups you're a member of that you could source something like this from?

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I'm sure they are using the name EZ-Up to mean any popup tent. It's unfortunate, because I've seen non-popup tents get crumpled alongside the popups. What they should be saying is that popup tents must have stabilizer bars and at least 40 pounds of weight on each corner. That'll hold up in most situations. They should also have the same rules for Trimlines (etc) too. I've seen a bunch without lower bars, and they crumple just as easy as a popup. A friend of mine had hers crumpled the first time she used her Trimline because she didn't have lower bars.

As for this show of yours, I would rent or borrow a tent. Do not show up with a popup. But I would have a conversation with the organizer about what exactly their concerns are, and if you can assuage those concerns with a popup in the future.

The heavy duty popups are not as expensive as Light Dome or Trimline, but they are definitely heavy to move since they don't break down into pieces. I've got a $700 popup that weighs about 95 pounds with the sidewalls on, is fully waterproof, and has legs which are larger diameter than Trimline or Light Dome. All the brackets are aluminum, so it's incredibly strong. With the stabilizer bars it's super stable, and I put 40 pound weights on each foot. I have had it in many bad storms without worry.

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I would also assume that they mean no tents or canopies.  If you have ever been at windy event site...when your tent or someone else's becomes airborne it can destroy your work or whoever else's booth it hits.   When in doubt always call the show promoter.  They might not realize that the language in their packet is a little confusing.  

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@Mark C. @lgustenI don't think they would mean no canopies at all. Most 2D artists can't display their work without a canopy, because they use mesh walls to hang their work, or attach their panel walls to the canopy frame. Plus if rain came everyone's work would get ruined. Pretty sure they just mean no pop-ups since they tend to be more fragile in wind.

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You can take the top off and use just the walls of any canopy. My guess is no tops. I have seen all brands sail away no matter what in a 40-50 knt wind.

I do a show in the desert every year with no canopy -to windy-The ones that stay down have 100# blocks put in with fork lifts. This show is this weekend and I had to cancel because I broke my arm.

Edited by Mark C.

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I do a three day show that can get very windy. We still need tents in case of rain, and so we can zip down our spaces at night. When the wind is really gusty, artists will take off their roofs and just leave the frame and walls. This is another advantage of the Light Dome and Trimlines. The roofs unhook and come right off.  The roof of a pop-up is attached to the frame. You can get them off, but you have to permanenetly damage your tent. 

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1 hour ago, GEP said:

I do a three day show that can get very windy. We still need tents in case of rain, and so we can zip down our spaces at night. When the wind is really gusty, artists will take off their roofs and just leave the frame and walls. This is another advantage of the Light Dome and Trimlines. The roofs unhook and come right off.  The roof of a pop-up is attached to the frame. You can get them off, but you have to permanenetly damage your tent. 

I disagree. Popup tops are not permanently attached. In fact, most come in the box without the top on, and you have to put it on yourself the first time you use the tent. You can leave it on after that, but it can still come off if you want to. They generally velcro to the frame at the corners, or have straps, or some have grommets and inserts that attach them to the frame.

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17 minutes ago, neilestrick said:

You can leave it on after that, but it can still come off if you want to.

Oh ok, I didn't know that. I have a popup that I only use once about once a year. The roof came attached and I don’t think it comes off. 

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on my easy ups (own 3-4)the roof comes off with 5 nuts-pretty simple. I USED TO USE it for indoor shows roofless for walls and lights.

The cheaper ones have velcro now.

sorry about the caps one arm is toast

The best booths white before tents and they are where hand made with character .I had several of them. 

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I have an ez up  and do shows in very windy water front conditions. A properly weighted ezup can weather quite a bit. I have 60 pounds per leg with additional weight if need be and additional ratchet straps i could strap down to any stationary element if need be. It still wiggles in the wind but i had a friend concerned about their tent wiggle and the ezup people said the tent is meant to flex with the wind.

There was one show i was next to a craft hut...that is a tank of a tent but it takes 2 people and about an hour to set up and so many shows don¡t give you much time to break down.

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14 hours ago, PSC said:

I have an ez up  and do shows in very windy water front conditions. A properly weighted ezup can weather quite a bit. I have 60 pounds per leg with additional weight if need be and additional ratchet straps i could strap down to any stationary element if need be. It still wiggles in the wind but i had a friend concerned about their tent wiggle and the ezup people said the tent is meant to flex with the wind.

There was one show i was next to a craft hut...that is a tank of a tent but it takes 2 people and about an hour to set up and so many shows don¡t give you much time to break down.

A little wiggle is okay. If it bends too far, then things start breaking- either the plastic corner brackets or the X trusses around the top. I've even seen legs snapped in half. I once had major flex damage- the tent feet didn't move an inch, but an 80mph gust flexed the tent to far that 3/4 of the X trusses at the top snapped in half, right where they cross and bolt goes through. That's where stabilizer bars come in handy. They stiffen it up so it can't flex too far.

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$375 for rental sure does seem high, at least to me it does. You might also see if you can find a better price on a rental or maybe a used one to start.

At $875 for booth and booth fee plus any other expenses I hope this works out for you. Sounds like you may feel stuck with the $500 already sent in but I would think it through and make sure it makes sense to continue. You might also contact them and ask for a refund based on the fact that you had no idea they would not allow your current show tent. It's unlikely but maybe they have a backlog of folks that want in. At that price it must be juried with a wait list. 

There are pros here that talk of big number shows that will absorb high expenses and you may well be one of them down the road but since you mentioned you don't have any experience with this show and also new to shows in general I would not count on it so I would caution against going out and dropping a ton of dough intending to go 'all in' on shows until you can find out what you are making at these shows and decide how much you want to invest. 

Even renting a couple of times before buying a 2-3 grand show tent might make sense. 

Good luck and have fun!

Edited by Stephen

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23 hours ago, Rex Johnson said:

Do most of these outdoor shows require a tent? Back in the day there wasn't such a thing. We made our own folding shelves like Mark C uses.

Unless the weather is hot hot hot, I'd rather just set up in the 10 x 10 space.

In my region, and tent is usually required, to shield from both rain and sun. For one-day shows, if the forecast is decent, you can do it without a tent. For any event that lasts for more than one day, you need a way to close down your space at night. 

If you are in California, your weather is drier and more consistent, a tent might not be necessary. 

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Even on a clear day, I would use a canopy because it provides shade. You'll be more comfortable sitting there all day, and your shoppers will spend more time looking at your work if they're shaded. On hot days it makes a big difference.

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