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Bad weather at art shows, using weights and stakes

Rain / Wind/ Bad weather:

One thing bad weather such as cold, excessive heat, rain or heavy overcast will do is lower the number of people who visit the art show. This will most likely lead to lower sales. On a multiple day show, you can only hope that the weather will be nice on the next day.

I check the weather for the art show date a few days before to see what the temperature will be, what the estimated wind speed will be and also what the chance for rain is. I also do this the morning of the show for a more current weather forecast. If I feel it may rain, I bring all 4 sides of my tent and keep them in my vehicle just in case. Artist may want to have an emergency disposable camping poncho or rain coat, also available at sporting goods stores, in your supplies box or bring a regular rain jacket when it looks like rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is really a good idea to always bring tent weights or Tent Stakes with you to an art show even if you do not think you will need them. This will give you the option to bring them out if needed for one day shows.  I would always recommend using your weights or stakes all the time your tent is up for safety reasons. For multiple day shows, you need weights or tent stakes. Attaching your walls, that you hang art on to your tent, will give you additional weight on windy days.

Here is Arizona, I found that it does not rain that much but wind is what causes most of the problems and damage. Since most art tents up at an art fair are only water resistant and not water proof, heavy rain during the show or overnight can cause much damage since water can pool up in the lower corners of your tent resulting in damage to your product or even a crushed tent.

I have seen many artist use free standing easels and I have used them myself at times. From my experience, they will eventually lead to damage to your art from wind and I no longer recommend them for outdoor use. Flat art tends to pick up wind like a sail and fly off. If you do use an easel, then I would use a string or zip ties to more securely attach the art to the back of the easel. Another option is to put a weight such as a sandbag at the base of the easel to give it more weight.

While I have weights, when I know I will be setting my tent up on grass or dirt, I usually just bring four long tent stakes and a hammer. I buy these 10″ metal tent stakes at Walmart or at Amazon and they fit through the holes at the base of my tent legs. The tent stakes do not take much room so I always have them with me even if I decide not to use them.

Some smaller items to have in your art supply box for weather are some rope, Cable Zip Ties and a few different length Bungee Cords. Sometimes you have items such as trees or a bench next to your tent that you can anchor on to if necessary. I use white cable zip ties all the time to anchor the sides of my walls or my weights to the tents side polls. I prefer the 10″ size which are not too short or long. If I need a longer length, I use two zip ties in which a second zip tie loops on the first one allowing for a longer reach. Be sure to bring a pair of scissors or another method to cut the zip ties when done. For better presentation, you can cut off the extra zip ties length not using.

You can also always bring a few white tent side walls even if you do not plan to use them. The walls can also be used to block the sun from hitting you directly and reduce your sun exposure or in case of rain. If you have artwork hanging on only the inside walls, placing a white side wall up also presents a less distracting background if you have your art hanging on walls you can see through.

On numerous art shows I have heard walls from nearby tents fall over due to wind and you hear glass from frames breaking. This happens more often than you would think. When possible, it is best to attach your walls to the tent with cable ties or other methods. Having sections of the walls bent on an angle will give additional support. Falling walls can be a liability to yourself or your customers and nobody likes to pick up glass and have artwork damaged.

The first time this happened to me when I first started showing, I lost seven frames and most of the mats and photos inside the frames where cut by the glass. I learned my lesson and am now very careful on this issue.art festival weather

In case of rain, move your artwork closer to the center of the tent and put up your walls.  You can never have too many extra clips and they come in handy to quickly putting up walls. Be sure to watch for accumulation of water on the lower tent roof corners and use a longer stick like object to push up on the inside of the roof from inside and let the water fall off the sides. If lighting is in the area, you may think you want to stay dry under your tent, but you should also consider that your tent may also be a big metal lighting rod and an alternate shelter location may be prudent.

I store and transport most of my flat matted art in large plastic tubs with tops which are water resistant.  You can put the matted art back in the tubs during a large downpour if needed. If you feel it may rain, be very windy or storm overnight you will need to determine which items in your booth you want to store in your vehicle and bring home for the night. If overnight bad weather is possible, keep everything off of the ground. If you have boxes, artwork or supplies stored under your table during show hours, place them on top of your tables overnight with a waterproof tarp over them and secured with clips.

I keep a few clear large clear garbage bags
or very large bags with me. Folded up with a rubber band they take up little room. They can be used like a bag to pack up a large framed artwork for a customer. If you think it may rain, you could store your art show supplies or art in these bags overnight off of the ground level.

If you pack your tent while still wet, when you get it home take it out and open it up to let it dry. This will prevent mildew from forming on the fabric.

Swim noodles on art tentIf you think it will be windy overnight on multiple day shows, you can lower your legs on your tent a little giving it a lower profile and then raise them back up the next morning. While I have never tried this, you could lower the height of your tent during the show if wind is a problem.

On days/overnight in which rain is probable placing foam swim noodles in all four roof corners of EZup tents to “bend up” the tent corners will help if you have rain. This would reduce water gathering in the lower tent corners which could lead to leaking or collapsing of your tent overnight. The noodles can be purchased inexpensively at many local stores when needed.

One thing I do is purchase a waterproof spray
used to put on camping tents and is available at sporting goods stores. This can be sprayed on your tent roof with a few extra coats on the roof seams. This will help the water run off your tent when it rains. This spray will not make your tent totally waterproof or stop water from gathering in your tent corners. You need to spray these products outside with proper ventilation. I have heard that using some of these waterproof sprays will counteract the fire resistant coating that are on the tents so I would not do this if you are cooking or use flames under your tent. I actually did see one tent roof catch on file from a food vendor.

Tent weights:

I highly recommend bringing weights or stakes were permitted to hold down your tent during days with wind.  If you leave your tent up overnight, you must weight down your tent or it may not be there in the morning.  Some people make their own weights such as from PVC pipe and cement. You can see two sets of instructions here  (Click to see weight instructions) or
(Click for second weight instructions). Another options is to purchase weights from a store (Click to see tent weight samples).

I feel you need a weight of at least 35 lbs or more on each tent corner.  You can use adjustable truck straps or tie down straps with a S hook on each end to hang the weights to the tent corners.  A set of four straps can be found at Amazon (Click to see strap samples) or Walmart (Click to see strap sample).
If you have weights that stand up high such as the weight shown to the left, you can wrap a small bungee cord around the weight and tent leg to keep the weight from moving.

Coleman 10 inch steel nail tent pegs

When your tent is on the grass or another soft surface, you can also use metal stakes: I use the Coleman tent pegs available from Walmart (Click to see stake sample) and Amazon (Coleman 10-In. Steel Nail Tent Pegs)
. You may want to see if the holes in your tent leg base will allow your stakes to go through them. I also carry a small hammer with me to pound in the stakes and to also pull them out at the end of the art show.

Must watch scary video of dust devil sending tents air born. This gives you the incentive and reason to weight your tent down. I have personally seen a tent fly up in the air spinning about 60 feet and come down hard.

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