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The Growing Popularity of Crafts Festivals.

Andy Robertson

While craft fairs and festivals are not usually large affairs the number of events happening each year is significant with up to 1,000 events. Typical visitor numbers vary between 500 and 1000 with a handful of festivals attracting significantly higher attendance, the number of events taking place each year is on the rise 

The bulk of craft events tend to have a local focus with free entry and take place in local village halls attracting several hundred visitors. The popularity in craft related hobbies has been increasing over the last decade with the emergence of several new large-scale craft festivals taking place over two or three days.

Significantly the majority of craft festivals are run on a not for profit basis with a focus on supporting people working in small craft industries. The largest event in the UK is the Contemporary Craft Festival held in Devon each year and it attracts over 10,000 visitors over several days.

For craft festival organisers there is more emphasis on generating revenue from selling vendor and exhibitor pitches rather that event goer tickets sales which are often under £20 for a day's access. The logistics of such a craft festival can be challenging with upwards of 500 vendors event organisers will spend the majority of their time managing vendors and marketing available pitches. To add to this operational management challenge the Contemporary Craft Festival vendor pitches are 250% oversubscribed for example, however this does present future opportunities for growth and expansion.

In addition to the large array of vendor pitches craft festivals also focus on workshops, seminars and demonstrations covering a multitude of topics from ceramics and jewellery to wood crafts and metalworking. There is certainly diversity in what's on offer and as result the appeal to visitors is wide and varied probably accounting for the rise in popularity. The craft festivals will also target a wide age group by providing entertainment for children and teenagers too with a focus on workshops aimed specifically at this group. It is also not unusual to see some musical performances too although this is more likely to be of the folk music variety rather than anything ‘rock’ focused.

most craft festivals are run on a not for profit basis many also quality for additional support and funding from the UK’s various Arts Councils which ensure these styles of events can continue without financial pressure to make a profit. As with all events in the UK craft festivals have mostly cancelled their dates for 2020 but expect growth in popularity to continue from 2021 onwards. There will be new craft festivals emerging and existing events are likely to continue to grow too.

Using an events software management platform like FestivalPro craft festival organisers get all the functionality they need to manage vendor and exhibitor pitches. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features for managing vendor requirements for booking, scheduling, planning and logistics with seamless links to marketing via the craft festival website and social media platforms.  

Photo by Abby Chung from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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