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How much does a show cost to set up ? more shows cancelled

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:35 pm
by Martin
Just wondering what it "usually" costs to put on a show, how can the costs be met or cut a little, how traders can help (adverting etc) because its a slight worry that 1 show has been canceled today, and 1 show is not sure if it can afford to go ahead.
Its quite a serious situation at the moment, there are 2 traders I know who I spoke to last weekend who are closing shop if many more of their regular shows stop happening, it occurred to me that as it affects us all directly maybe we should try and do something about it if we possibly can, I know many traders on here dont get involved with conversations but if we dont discuss ideas that all can benefit from many more will go to the wall if not this year then next, just a something I thought we could discuss ? after all its a discussion page set up for discussions

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:51 pm
by G Cooley
What sort of show?

A small show at an established venue say an EH property or National Trust property. Toilets are on site, staff are already present to direct the public and take entrance money. So your costs are advertising and any entertainment other than your traders.

A much larger show at a large venue. Entertainment, toilets, staff to direct the public, advertising, water, fire wood, wet weather contingency, possibly hire of the venue.

Both are subject to the possibility that the public will not turn up. The former is possibly a good way to start. If you can find half a dozen or more traders to attend and find an established site where you can provide an historic market in exchange for toilets, venue and advertising it may work.

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:04 pm
by Martin
I suppose I mean the first type, small shows that dont have huge pitch fees , its going to be a tough year I assume and just want to get a debate started to suggest ideas that may help shows that would otherwise not happen, I know most traders have full time jobs for the mortgage etc but there are a few that dont and to be honest this year we really need to help each other out, hence my suggestions about festivals that want a small "historical" areas,

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:37 pm
by Hinny Annie
I think Martin you mean a combination of the both of them, the one that is cancelled and the one in doubt are both run by individuals, they cost a lot to put on as they have no infrastructure like big shows do. The pitch fees for some big shows are mostly not that much more than small shows.

Last year we did a small market that is not on this year, but the pitch fee was £5 more than the festival of history, so even if it had been on we would not have gone to it. The festivals is a good idea for some traders, but not for us as we dont sell to the public

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 3:48 pm
by Martin
but not for us as we dont sell to the public
I also think you have hit the nail on the head actually, its more important to those of us that trade to a mix of both, but mostly to MOPs, I suppose Im just trying to generate some idea's to help, but we're to diverse a mix of traders for it to make any good :lol:

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:05 pm
by Hinny Annie
all discussion is good Martin, even if its just to bounce ideas around and a lot of the stuff applies to everyone whatever you sell and whoever you sell it to the business stratadgy is the same. even i I cant spell it.

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:24 pm
by G Cooley
We are probably not the best people to contribute here as we do pick and choose events. We are in the fortunate position that it is still a hobby and we choose to trade as part of the hobby.

However if you are thinking about this seriously can I suggest you need to find half a dozen traders that would be willing to group together and support each other by all turning out to a particular event. Once you have this you can then market the idea to sponsors that as part of their event you will turn up with a historic market consisting of x, y and z traders.

You then form part of the entertainment and rather than paying a pitch fee you negotiate for a free event where you are part of the entertainment. If you wish you could agree amongst the group that you will share petrol costs or other costs such as contributing towards advertising.

For example Joe Bloggs Hall has a craft fair in the middle of the summer that has been running for the past x years. Martin rings up and asks if they would like a historic area and he can provide x traders for this. As it is an untried event you should be able to negotiate some deal for the historic market as part of the entertainment.

Historic Trader Co-operative area?

Posted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:35 pm
by Martin
S'funny you should mention that, I have been in touch with a chap doing a show in Bristol, he lives up North, Im going out leafleting everywhere we can the week prior to the show, posters in uni's etc and he has knocked 50% of the pitch fee, seems fair to me :D , also there are 2 festivals I'm involved with who are dropping the pitch fee's drastically as we have historical tents etc as they want to put on a little bit of a "history corner " to keep the punters happy whilst waiting for the bands, its a great opportunity and it doesn't matter if it rains etc as people who have bought tickets will come no matter what, Glastonbury has sold 90% of its tickets so far, festival goers will ignore the credit crunch :D , and if we can get a foot hold in the festy circuit we may get more as well, and if you sell to lots of MOPs then its got to be good, though there are some festys I wouldnt touch with a large pole lol

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:53 am
by pheonix medieval alliance
this year things going to be tight for traders of all types i know i have closed two of my 4 shops andi know it will not get any better for the next 18mouths or so
how about a little help here the show we are putting on no fees fo traders at all the show has local radio and the local and arear papers behind it and aa boards are on order also the site is 7 miles from the two main roads in to west norfolk
we will ot ask for fees but if the traders do well a small donation to the charaty would be nice we are booking the local live band for the beer tent
martin pm me for more info will you be at tempalcombe ta g

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:40 pm
by Martin
yep I think we're at Templecombe, and this year we may have an actual stall, for the last few years we only trade in the beer barn in the evening but this year Suzie got an invite to trade there, so Im assuming its OK for our stall to be up and running during the day :D :D

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:34 pm
by jellie-kat
Hmmm its interesting. Some good points goin aroond!!

The thing is its quite simple to go out and (or rather stay on here) and say, "I have a feild, fancy a bash!"
No offence to all of us on here but its quite easy to get re-enactors to go to a feild as long as theres gunna be a scrap!

Its getting the public there thats the problem! Because generally they're the ones that will pay for your event.

Think along the lines of a) all those leaflets you're handing out, b) the posters you're putting up. -- It'll cost to get them printed, depending on the paper, the amount of colour, whether its glossy etc. You may think "i can do that at home!" but even so thats alot of toner you gotta pay for! c) local papers/radio...papers especially will want money for your add, colour and size greatly alter the price also how long you want the ad in for!! [it suprised me when i first found out how much that costs]

- will you have to hire the land you're using??
- re enactors want beer tents usually...they cost!
- if you got public you need caterers if there isn't any onsite already...this will cost!
- with caterers do they need electric, will you need a generator?? or do you need to pay to use a local lekky source!
- Everyone needs there a water source on site or will you need to pay for stand pipes to be put in...will you be allowed to put standpipes in??
- Portaloos...
etc etc etc...

Soo theres a fair few variables thrown in there to muck up your pricing. And thats not all of it!

Its not always as easy as it sometimes seems to get all this up and running.

Hope that helps a little more.


Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:40 pm
by The Iron Dwarf
I should imagine insurance for an event will cost a bit depending on what you are having there.

arrangements for BP etc

first aid

demonstrators etc

hire of PA

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:42 pm
by jellie-kat
Indeedy....those were my etc etc etc parts lol... i wer bein lazy...
My bad :P


Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:48 pm
by The Iron Dwarf
no prob, I have had nothing to do with organising reenactment events but have done small parts of other kinds of events most of which I believe food and beer either pay to be there or dont cost the organisers though something like a massive beertent would cost.

Posted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:12 pm
by jellie-kat
Hmm sorry yeah thats what i wer gettin at,
my bad again :P
Like lighting and tables and bins and chairs if they don't supply their own...sometimes all they bring are the booze and staff sooo...


Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:22 pm
by pheonix medieval alliance
martin hi i have costings for the two shows iam doing this year if you like i could send you a costings with all you need to make a gr8t show it tops out at £7.467.89 inc

let me know

Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 12:54 pm
by david smith
There are "fixed costs" and "variable costs" in putting on a show.

Although the fixed costs can also vary! :lol:

Unless you are extremely lucky and actually own 70 or so well drained acres with good access for vehicles and a potable water supply and about 45Amps of 250 voltage electrical supply, you have to look at hiring a venue.

If you have a friendly farmer, this may seem a good route BUT then you have to think about the water and power supply PLUS getting the requisite licences from the local authority - believe me this is a right pain and costs money. Hiring a venue with facilities costs more but can work out cheaper.

Generator hire is bloody eye-watering for anything big enough to provide half a dozen catering wagons and a Beer Tent and a PA System with the juice they need.

If you have a decent water supply you'll need to invest in some pipe and plumbing fitments to run a few stand pipes here and there.

You'll need a PA system. Some groups have their own, but not usually big enough or good enough to cope with a large site with say Arena, Battlefield, Market Area, Catering Court - and it needs to be big enough for the lost child or dog in car announcements.

Skip(s) Hire for Litter.
Toilets and a Cleaning Crew. Even if your chosen site has toilets, they may need to be supplemented, there's a formula in the Purple Book (HSE Guide to Outdoor Events) which should be followed to avoid problems if there's complaints and the HSE toddle along.

None of this is actually cheap.

Fence posts and miles of rope.

Those are the "fixed costs".

Variable Costs:

Staffing - even "volunteers and friends" cost money in terms of beer and food and petrol, and I find it works better to have a formal relationship rather than lose friends.

Publicity. Cheap leaflets look cheap. Poor little adverts in local newspapers are awful and a waste of money, but decent big adverts look nice and are ignored and are a waste of money. But you have to achieve publicity somehow, and this can cost huge amounts and prove completely useless if it rains or a princess gets buried in an untimely fashion. Princess Diana cost me a lot of money.

Road signs are effective, but expensive and not all highways authorities and loacl authorities are at all co-operative in what they will allow even if you try and do it right via the AA / RAC / TMS.

Participants and Performers.

Now, caterers should cough up a rent, but unless you have an already established event with a proven footfall of tens of thousands, you won't get many (quality) caterers wanting to pay much on a new venture.

Beer Tent. Should make a profit, but not as much as you may think, so not a lot of scope there for a big rental fee. The punters hardly do a lot of drinking because they are in the main driving to the event, so the captive audience is key, and lots of folk stick round their camp fires for large parts of the evening. Check with Laurie, but I think you'll find that smaller shows it's a struggle to cover costs and pay himself the minimum wage for the hours.

At the end of 2006/2007 I had accumulated tax losses to carry forward of over £130,000.

On with the show?

Best wishes


Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:40 pm
by medievalevents
I only try to run small events in my local area and the costs of these often go into the thousands, obviously everyone wants to make money and the way things are going I can see alot more shows/events stopping!!

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:31 am
by archerofthelevy
It is such a shame that events are going to the wall! And I don't think we've heard the last of shows being cancelled this year.
The one thing we have in our favour (i.e re-enactors) is that were quite a friendly bunch and will try our utmost to help groups out with events to ensure that events continue.
I'm helping to organise an event this year and have been amazed by the repsonse from groups willing to attend the event, spread the word around and generally be as helpful as they can be. The response from traders has been good too!.

And, from our point of view we only have a small amount of cash available to stage the event, and that obviously goes on the infrastructure to put the event on, so that is all we will be spending!!

Stick to the budget and with a fair wind we'll break even and be able to stage the event again next year (2010) and continue to do so until the credit crunch lifts allowing us all more scope to make the events bigger and better.