When participating in art festivals, especially the outdoor ones, you’re going to need a tent. Tents provide shade from the sun and protection from the elements. They also clearly mark the boundaries between your space and that of your neighbors. There are many tents out there, so choose the one that best suits your needs. Wal Mart and sporting goods stores have really inexpensive ones designed for use in your backyard, however these don’t come with walls. During inclement weather, you want to protect the contents of your tent.
Personally, I prefer to buy a tent that was made especially for festivals. These already come with walls that fit the frame. You can zip them down in bad weather and at the end of each day of a weekend long festival. They are more expensive than the backyard variety, but worth the investment. Mine is on the cheaper end of the spectrum. My walls are a thin, but functional nylon. I have seen others that are made of a heavier canvas, but so far mine does the job.
Now let’s talk about weights. One of the challenges of having your tent walls down is that sometimes your tent turns into a kite. The walls fill with air from the wind and your tent can blow over or blow away. My tent came with these sandbags, but at the moment of truth, they were no match for Mother Nature. After scouring the blogs, one solution came up again and again: PVC piping filled with concrete. The great thing about concrete is that it is really heavy without taking up much space. Have you ever seen how small a 50 lb. bag is? I had some fierce wind to contend with at the Black Arts Festival. Because of these bad boys, my tent held its ground.
The last thing I want to talk about is securing your walls. The cool thing about tent walls is that you can choose how many to keep down during a show. They zip at the corners, so you can keep the back down while the front and sides are rolled up for access and air flow. Now, the problem with my tent is that the velcro straps it came with are practically useless. The slight breeze makes them lose their grip. At the hardware store I found this industrial strength velcro. With one small square in each corner, I can secure my wall right to the tent post. That thing is going NOWHERE!
This velcro also comes in handy for the walls you roll up. I cut some strips of canvas and stuck a piece to each side. Using four of these per corner, I was able to snugly secure the walls to the top of my tent. These straps release quickly so that when the rain does come, my art is in minimal danger.
If you liked this post, please let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. And stay tuned for Part 3: Putting Together the Display. Also, stay posted for photos. I didn’t have a chance to set up and take more, so I’ll have mini posts as time goes on.