[Ansteorra] The Texas Rennaisance Festival Demo

Joel Schumacher jschumac at jcpenney.com
Wed Dec 4 13:47:50 PST 2002

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Baronman at aol.com wrote:
> I predicted three years ago, on this list that this would be happening-
> It's not the SCA, it's the lost revenue.  The space that the SCA
> compound sits on is generating no revenue whats so ever while the
> smallest merchant space is renting for well over $770 per weekend.
> I will go on to predict that the space that once was the SCA compound
> will turn into 3-4 merchant spaces and be much more profitable for TRF.
> It's the money not the people that is driving this decision.
> Bors

This thought went through my mind too.  A while back, Rennaissance
magazine published a summary of costs for nearly all of the larger
ren-faires.  I don't have the details in front of me now, but I
remember TRF being one of the most costly.  I remember being surprised
by how much of a percentage they took out of sales by comparison and
how much they charged for booths.

Either TRF is very costly to run or TRF is a greedy organization.
In either case, "needing" or "wanting" so much money, it is impractical
to have a large space like the SCA booth that draws no income.

For educational purposes?  For drawing in crowds or keeping them
there?  From what I've seen, the SCA doesn't do a fair job at that.

I've only been to TRF twice, but the other SCA demos I've seen tend
to exclude crowds or build up drama.  It's like a glorified fighter
practice.  The SCA crowd usually comes and hangs out and does their
own thing, and, if they have a pause in conversation, might talk to
people at the booth.  It's more like TRF is providing us a free place
to hang out and do our own private thing in a public area.

This was my experience walking into the TRF booth for the first time.
The artists in the area barely looked up as a group of 4 of us walked
in last November.  And while we stood, looking around for several
minutes, the artists went on doing their crafts and having conversations
amongst themselves.  Hardly crowd-friendly.

One experience does not mean it was this way all the time at TRF,
but it's been this way at several other demos I've experienced.

The purpose of such a demo is to recruit, entertain, or educate.
If you simply go out there, spread a few things on a table for people
to look at, then go on about your business and talk to your friends as
if you're hanging out at some event, it doesn't work.

What's more, from what I've seen, the SCA crowd tends to be a rather
cheap crowd by comparison to other faire-goers.  The typical SCA
person will look at the $50 ren-shirt and say, HA!  Are they crazy?
I can make that for $10 (or whatever).  Swords for $500???  Why I saw
that same sword at Gulf wars for $150!  We aren't going to pay double
for what we can make or get at the next event much cheaper.  As a
business, you want people there who will spend money, not window
shoppers.  Not that we hurt anyone by being there, but businesses are
sometimes prejudiced that way.  When we look at the maille with no
intention of buying (just getting ideas), we take that salesperson
away from spending time on a potential sale.  Maybe we are also
considered undesireable to some merchants.

I can see where TRF's excuses (be they the real reason or greed) do
have merit.
Joel Schumacher                    JCPenney Co. - UNIX Network Systems
jschumac at jcpenney.com              12700 Park Central Pl   M/S 6021
(972) 591-7543                     Dallas TX  75251
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