Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"After running hundreds of shows for 36 years, we have seen it all in every situation, we know what we are doing."

Well that's questionable. Fellow arts & crafts show exhibitors — Apply to Cape Cod Craft Shows produced by L & R Productions at your own risk!

I was supposed to be at a craft show in Falmouth, MA, on Wednesday. While I normally review craft shows on a separate page, I think it’s important to put this out where other crafters can easily find it. My message here is not about the show itself, which I have never attended, but about L&R Productions, the people who produce this and other shows on Cape Cod. I wish I had been able to find some information on the internet about L & R and their shows before I applied. For the booth fees they pay, vendors should at least expect clear communication and answers to their emails.

L & R Productions is Linda and Richard Rogers. You can apply online to be accepted as an exhibitor in their shows by sending in pictures of your work & booth display. Once accepted you choose which of their 10 shows you’d like to attend and either pay in full or put down a deposit. I received a receipt for my payment for the one show I applied to and it read “status: pending approval”. An additional note read, "Your order will be reviewed in the next couple of days and you will get another email with the shows what (sic) we accepted.” This was at the end of February.

On March 25th I received an email from Karen Cifelli with the subject line “Cape Cod Craft Shows By East Coast Craft Shows" telling me, “We would love to have you in our shows this summer.” After some communication I found out that she no longer worked for Linda Rogers, had started her own business, and that I probably shouldn’t expect any communication from Linda Rogers. (Bad sign)

In April, when I didn’t hear anything more (and being a bit disturbed by the “status pending”), I sent a few emails using the “contact us” button on the L&R website. I received no response to any of them or to emails sent to another address I found, and phone messages I left were not answered. I found a couple of artisans who had included the Falmouth show in their 2010 schedule so I emailed them to find out what kind of notification they got. One was kind enough to reply "We DID receive notification a few weeks ago via snail mail. Call them at their store..." A little googling helped me to find Linda Rogers’ business phone (she has a gift shop that’s up for sale on Rt. 6). (Another bad sign)

On the positive side—this Falmouth mid-week show has been around for over 30 years. It’s advertised on the town’s website and a few other Cape Cod event sites. It boasts having an attendance of 50,000 people. And, according to the website, I should “get information in the mail about two weeks prior to the show with your space and your car passes as well as instructions”. OK!

Four days before the show I still had nothing. I made another call to Linda’s store and Heather told me that Linda told her to tell anyone who called that the packets are going out late (I should get it Monday or Tuesday) and she’s sending emails to everyone. (No email received, no packet arrived. Not a big surprise). Now I’m wondering if she even has my name on her list of exhibitors.

The forecast called for rain and thunder showers on Wednesday so I followed the weather channel on Monday & Tuesday. L & R’s website reads, “The rain date is the following day, only if we have not set up yet and only if it is pouring or the threat of rain is ver (sic) strong before we set up. This decision is made the day of the festival. NO REFUNDS DUE TO RAIN.”

The show begins at 10:00 and in order to be there by 8:00 I have to leave the house at 5 am. So I called the store once again (on Tues) and was given a phone number that would have a message as to whether the show was postponed or not. On Tuesday the message was that packets DID NOT go out and they could be picked up at (place garbled). (I’m starting to fume now). Later Tuesday night the message was re-taped and clearer (Hamlin St.) but still no decision about postponing would be made until 6am. (Not good if you have to leave at 5)

The weather forecast at 5am on Wednesday morning predicted thunder showers starting around 11 and rain all afternoon. A large green, yellow, & red blotch was moving slowly from NYC toward Providence and the Cape. Despite the car being packed & ready, I just couldn't get up the energy to drive 3 hours each way to do another show in the rain (or find out it's been postponed once I got there).

I called the hotline number after 6 am redialing off and on for a couple of hours just in case the show had been postponed. I got nothing but a busy signal until around 8 am. When I finally got through, there was no message at all.

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