What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a sho

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What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a sho

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:36 am

I just wanted to think what other traders / organizers think ? I know it allows us to sell our wares at a given show and pays for the space your stall takes up but I assumed pitch fee's go to infrastructure, advertising etc, there is no reason I believe that and some folk say its ONLY for the ability to sell and what the pitch fee goes to is non of the traders business BUT if I pay a pitch I like to know that customers will hopefully be provided, signage and posters and advertising for the customers to see, but if they arent, due to lack of advertising, badly organised market what have we got for the pitch fee ? Sometimes I feel as a trader we make a nice back drop to a show but dont get the "respect" we deserve, you cant have a show without a market, ergo, we are an important part of the show and yes, we all do it to make money but if thats severely limited buy bad advertising etc why pay a pitch fee for the privilege. ( you'll have to excuse the rambly way Ive written this)
Last edited by Martin on Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:59 am

Customers, thats the word I was trying to think of to describe a trader, we are customers also, we pay a fee and in exchange for that fee we expect certain things :)


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Phil the Grips » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:26 am

Martin wrote:you cant have a show without a market, ergo, we are an important part of the show

Really? I never saw a market at an event for the first six years of reenacting.
"Traders Row" was a thing that Sealed Knot did and was something of legend, much like "the Beertent" which some deem a standard feature but, again, I never experienced for the first six years (even then it was once a year at the big Kirby Hall event) and have done far more shows without them than have had them.


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:45 am

yup, I agree, but that was years ago m8, then, a few bods in kit belting each other was enough to get a few families out in a field to watch as the hobby grew more was needed, otherwise imagine shows without a market i.e, how long would the crowd be around Tewksbury if there was no market to look at ? that is just my humble opinion of course :)


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:21 pm

Martin wrote:imagine shows without a market


I don't need to. None of the events that I've organised (including the recent big ones at Old Sarum) have had any traders or markets (or beertents), nor have the vast majority of early medieval events that I've been to over the years.

a few bods in kit belting each other was enough to get a few families out in a field to watch as the hobby grew more was needed

Yeah, LHE stuff.
We retain the MOPs by being interesting, talking to them, doing stuff etc... :wink:

As for your pitch fee...I'd imagine that what's left after the organiser has paid for the site, staff, toilets and other ammenities goes into his back pocket. I doubt that they do it for love and buttons.


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:51 pm

Im not saying organizers shouldn't earn money its the whole point of many of them doing it and rightly so, im saying some have to make sure they uphold their end of the bargain, but it looks like Im the only one, even other traders obviously don't think its a problem, fair enough, reenactment shows don't need markets then :) , but let me put it another way, if you "sell" a pitch space to a trader, shouldn't you advertise it properly ?? lets not digress into whats better at a reenactment a market, or no market, or about how it was in the good old days, its going off on a tangent, if you pay for a service and you dont get that service done properly is that OK ?


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Fox » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:23 pm

I don't think it is a digression.

You wanted to suggest that re-enactments need a market, presumably to strengthen the position of traders in this man-of-straw argument you appear to have created.

I think Phil and Matt have pointed out that there are, and always have been, plenty of events which do not have or need a market. If you hadn't wanted to go down that path, you shouldn't have tried to strengthen you case with it.

Personally I think a good market adds to an event, and indeed can even be the main focus of an event.

But moving on, the pitch fee is to provide traders with a right to trade.
They expect to sell to the punters who attracted by the event, and the attractions the organiser has arranged.
It's not unreasonable to expect in return for the fee some basic services required to trade, like suitable ground on which to pitch, toilet facilities, marshals to organise arrival, etc.

And no organiser sets out to put off the public; their profitability will depend on punters coming through the gate.

So I'm not sure what you're getting at.
If an organiser does not appear to offer the return you expect for your trading fee, or if they are not competent to organise a successful event, then don't attend their events.
Surely it's as simple as that.



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:56 pm

I dont know how to put across what Im saying very well, but it was a topic of discussion among many of the traders over the weekend, so as this is the traders section I thought I'd air it, obviously we, as traders, should have no expectations then, thats fair enough :) , but a minimal effort to make the setting up of tents, setting out of stock not to be a waste of time isnt to much to ask, one of the first things many traders comment on for example when arriving at shows is the amount of or lack of advertising on the road near shows ( not always possible I know), knowing it may be in the local paper, local radio, flyers placed locally to the show etc but if nothing is done, at all, then how are public going to know about the show / market ? if you only trade to reenactors its fine, we're lucky we can trade to both but we do need both. in fact Fox, the stuff that you chaps do, without sounding all *rse kissy etc :) if you do a Planty show, you know most of that is done, the traders will be set up properly and that efforts have been made, sadly thats not always the case at other shows , not just historical markets either, food shows can be bloody awfully set up

p.s what does this mean "
And no organiser sets out to put off the public; their profitability will depend on punters coming through the gate. " ?
Im not on about putting people on or off going to a show, Im not saying people wont go without a market, Im saying, if you have a market, make sure its visible, well laid out, advertised surely none of the 3 things Ive said there are to much to expect when you pay a pitch fee :)


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby John Waller » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:54 pm

I suppose that you should be clear what you, as a trader are getting for your money. If the organiser doesn't say then ask. What is your anticipated footfall? How many attended last year? What advertising have you done? What assistance and facilities will I get? Do you have staff on call? What happens if the event is rained off/cancelled? Do you have contingency plans? What other events have you organised? In what circumstances can I get a refund? What directional and internal signage will there be? etc etc. Then you can make an informed business decision whether to attend or not. Just expecting stuff to happen that has not been explicitly agreed in advance and in writing, makes no sense to me.


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby hamster » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:59 pm

As for your pitch fee...I'd imagine that what's left after the organiser has paid for the site, staff, toilets and other ammenities goes into his back pocket. I doubt that they do it for love and buttons

well i hate to disapoint you but we do, for zilch :wink: at Tewkesbury yes i know we are mad :angel: ,But we/I like to think that traders make some money over the weekend and the public have a veiw into what gos into our kit etc and just so you are all clear the pitch fee pays a lot towards this free to public event without it there would be no loos, Showers,security,advertising etc :thumbup:
that reminds me we have got showers for the use of traders and re enactors at this years event they will be up near entry to crew area



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Fox » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:08 pm

Martin wrote:p.s what does this mean "And no organiser sets out to put off the public; their profitability will depend on punters coming through the gate. " ?

It means that the person who suffers most from poor attendance is the organiser; there is no conspiracy to defraud traders.

Poor advertising is a mistake on the part of the organiser; although obviously working out what, where and how to advertise is the holy grail of all commercial activity; even knowing which bits of advertising are successful is as tricky as Run DMC.
And other factors beyond advertising can be responsible for poor attendance.

The next step is that an organiser should set the expectations of the traders, both through the pitch fee and through communication.
Taking off my Plantagenet Events hat for a moment, the EMA's Caldicot gig is an excellent example: the pitch fee is low, and traders are promised nothing better than an enjoyable weekend; most make a reasonable profit too and that's a bonus.

Putting my Plantagenet Events hat back on, yes, as you say, I think we provide a good service for traders, and we trade on that reputation. We sometimes make mistakes, as everyone does, and we apologise for them.

More generally, if an organiser wants to continue to attract traders to a market, then they have to provide a good service, build a reputation and remember that traders' costs for trading extend further than the pitch fee.

I would also note, with my more general experience hat on, that while most traders are considerate, organised, responsible and supportive of the organisers, a minority behave, either through shortcoming or deliberate manipulation, in a way that inconveniences organisers or attempts financially disadvantage them.
Those relationships and reputations go both ways.



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ?

Postby Fox » Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:14 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:I doubt that they do it for love and buttons.

Personally, I do. Less the buttons. :)



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Medicus Matt » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:00 pm

I was thinking more about professional market organisers, rather than those volunteer nutters who have markets at larger reenactment events.
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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby The Iron Dwarf » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:35 pm

talk to other traders, was the event lacking last year in staff, toilets, signage, or anything else then dont book a pitch there, organisers who can only get rubbish traders and few mops would soon go out of business.

( this is not to say that I have anything against events I have not done in the last few years, just they clashed with something closer or were too soon after something bigger that I would not have recovered from ).

you can vote with your money martin by not giving it to organisers you dont agree with.

also you may want to get a contract drawn up stating what you and the organisers can expect of each other if you wanted too but I dont know how well that would go down, in the past I have had a simple written agreement for event organisers to sign for a different type of events after money I was raising for the event charity I found was not going to it



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:38 pm

I dont want to keep harping on about one particular show TBH, its just that over the weekend many traders talked about what our pitch fee's are used for so I thought I'd see what the general concensus was, it was a general discussion among traders who only trade at reenactments and traders like us who trade at different types of shows, and the main thing that every one agreed one is, if you have a market and you get traders to come and set up, we shouldn't have to ask every time if there is signage etc , there are some simple basics, just make sure the market is as well placed as possible, preferable on the way to, and back from the demo's / battle , its clearly visible and not hidden behind things like marquee's, beer tents etc, its well laid out and advertised and signposted if its not immediately evident to MOP's as they arrive i.e if its in another field do a load of signs leading the way can anyone honestly say thats an unfair thing to ask ? as a trader, booking shows, making stock and running a business etc etc is hard enough, when I book a show I shouldn't have to make sure that the person organizing the show has in place toilets, signage, adverts etc by questioning them each and every time. How many traders ask them ? honestly ?


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby oldgreybear » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:16 pm

hamster wrote:that reminds me we have got showers for the use of traders and re enactors at this years event they will be up near entry to crew area


With Sauna... Yep. 8-)

And as someone who both organises events - not just Tewks - and trades at many different events through the year - some reenactment, some flea markets, some Steampunk, I can see both sides, and I've also been in a situation where the organiser has clearly not done their advertising (hint you need to do more than Facebook... :roll: ) And I've ended up taking just enough to cover the pitch fee - and that was off other traders... Let alone the diesel, time spent preparing, and the fact I could have been at home earning money another way...

I see the markets at our type of events as part of the attraction. And it works both ways. Traders expect to pay a pitch fee to attend, in return organisers are expected to make the effort to make it worth the traders while to be there. And hopefully come again, tell their mates how great it was, put on a good show/display, engage with the public and so on.

I've found that you can get a reasonable idea of how well the events going to be organised by the literature that gets sent out, how well questions are answered and so on. If its a new event I'll ask a few questions, google it to see what other publicity/media is out there and what people are saying. The disaster of an event I mentioned earlier was only advertised on Facebook, the organiser moved half way across the country some months before and left it in someone else's 'capable hands'

And the laying out of event sites isn't an exact science - but on the other hand it isn't rocket science... If we could do Tewks once a month for example :crazy:
we'd have a much better idea of how everything works, how the public move around the site, how X or Y new attraction worked or didn't and so on. After 2 years of that it'd be damn near perfect -But no I'm not doing it every month :D
Instead We'll tweak and modify the existing arrangements, look at great (and bad) ideas from other events, and listen to (legitimate) comments (No that's no a cue :D )
And when I'm trading I will do the same - I'll look at how other people lay their stalls out, offer advice if required (last event - can you please turn the PA down or put something suitable on, I like Alice Cooper but it just ain't Steampunk :silent: ...) and I'll watch how other traders engage with their punters.
The folks opposite us at that gig packed up early - perhaps it was because they were sat behind their stall, piles of stock in front of them, she was knitting, he was on a gameboy :roll: Hmmm I don't think they took much money...



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Fox » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:41 pm

Martin wrote:its just that over the weekend many traders talked about what our pitch fee's are used for

Well, they're not hypothecated for anything as such; I don't know any organiser who works that way.

What are traders paying for?
First there is work to just simply administering the booking, sending out warning orders and so on; also the work on the weekend to manage a market.
And obviously a cost for the ground, and the facilities used by the traders.
Then the advertising.
And also a proportion of the cost of the displays and the event more generally, because that's what most of the punters are there for.

How are traders fees really used?
Mostly to ease cash flow I would guess; too little income is in advance of the event, and too many of the costs.



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Mark Griffin » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:17 pm

I rarely have markets at my events, just don't do that sort of event, although planning them sometimes comes into a remit, usually someone else is in charge. Re-enactment traders pay some of the lowest fees I've ever seen (I don't just do history events...) but I suppose they should expect decent facilities, (one persons bucket with some dock leaves is anothers gold plated taps swish shower block) and some customers or as many as the organiser can reasonably manage with whatever budget they have plus what the weather and rival events will allow.

If I were organising a market I'd make money on it, simple as that. I'm a business. On the other hand, traders take raw materials, produce goods and sell them. I'm assuming they make a profit as well unless its a love and buttons deal again. Even if you had 5,000 people come through a site in a day, if none of them buy anything then there is obviously something not right somewhere, but the fact that you have 'not sold anything' but there is a decent number of people means that the organiser has probably done an ok job.

An as Ogleybear has mentioned the knitting/gameboy incident I'll point out that good don't sell themselves, unless extremely good. 'I didn't sell anything' is a very telling phrase. No public, fine, but sat in your stagazing chair, shades on, your arms folded with a face like a hyena chewing a lemon covered wasp, well....you have to wonder.....


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Mark Griffin » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:24 pm

many traders talked about what our pitch fees are used for so


another answer would be 'none of your business'.

How do you follow up your questioning martin? Do you collect each and every newspaper, listen to ever radio advert etc? Drive around the area for a 5,10 and 20 mile radius to see the signs for yourself? And if not happy ask for your pitch fee back? If you have to ask the organiser if they have booked toilet i wouldn't even be considering attending to be honest, doesn't sound like they should be organising anything....


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby sally » Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:34 am

Traders do have to ask themselves whether any given market is right for them. When you add up pitch fee, travel, wear and tear on tentage, any additional accommodation and food costs plus the fact that for the duration of the show and usually the day before and after when you are loading and unloading the van you can't be in the workshop making things, any market has a significant cost factor involved. I'm always slightly stunned when I add up the costs for any show when doing my accounts, it can easily be several hundred pounds for ones with a fair travel distance involved even if the pitch fee isnt massive.

Lets also use, in this example, a simplified textbook calculation of 50% of the selling price of any item being what it costs to make/restock, so only half your take is potential profit.

Once you start trading at an event, you therefore have to sell twice the value of what it costs to do the show just to recoup the costs of being there before you start to pocket any actual profit/wages for yourself. If you only just cover costs, you've essentially been giving away stock as far as your balance sheet goes when you do the accounts.

These days I do trading shows for one of two reasons, either I think its highly likley to turn a large enough take to justify all the above, or I think its going to be good marketing and generate later sales. There are a lot of shows I've done over the years that were fun, in lovely locations with nice people, but if for whatever reason we didnt get the buyers who wanted our particular products, I'm far better off staying at home making stock and working on getting potential sales online.



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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Mark Griffin » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:09 am

I suspect this is not the calculation now but when I were a lad, and got my first qualification in the lovely hotel and catering industry it was thirds.

Third materials and overheads Third Wages Third Profit
And that gave you your selling price.

But then in some industries you need to make more profit as your main selling line only attracts, not makes you much money. Why are garages so expensive on catering lines ? Because petrol is not what they make their money on. And if a cinema chain isn't turning 175% profit on soft drinks or up to 400% (yes, you read that right) on popcorn, its doing something wrong. The film distributors take most of the cinema ticket profit, if there even is any. Which is why some many film studios now own cinema chains.....


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.

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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby John Waller » Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:02 pm

Mark Griffin wrote:. Why are garages so expensive on catering lines ? Because petrol is not what they make their money on...


Tis true. The oil company I used to work for won a test case in court after being refused a liquor licence at one of it's garages. They were able to prove that they made more on groceries ect than on fuel sales and were therefore primarily a food retailer. Booze licence was granted. Now we have Wetherspoons opening up a pub in a motorway services!

Am doing an accounting qualification at the moment - cost accounting is such an interesting area. :crazy:


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Re: What does your pitch fee go to ? does a market improve a

Postby Mark Griffin » Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:50 pm

certified or chartered? can't recall which one is defined as the most boring..... according to Mr Cleese


http://www.griffinhistorical.com. A delicious decadent historical trifle. Thick performance jelly topped with lashings of imaginative creamy custard. You may also get a soggy event management sponge finger but it won't cost you hundreds and thousands.


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