Look at these folks in Pittsburgh wearing their brand new “Equality Lincoln” shirts! This is a new design that I am almost out of already. The two lines on his forehead are meant to mimic the international symbol for human rights (which is an equals sign).
Anyway I’m glad I tried a new place, it was very refreshing especially after doing 3 Chicago festivals in a row. Vine Rewind ended up being my 3rd best festival this year (after Twin Cities Pride Fest and Square Roots Music Festival here in Chicago). It’s run by an artists’ collective called Redfishbowl and they are amazing. One of the guys that ran it actually bought one of my shirts. There was a lot of beautiful art for sale at the festival that likely wouldn’t have stood a chance of being seen if they had to pay high Chicago vendor fees. I was also asked to return to more of their events. The music was awesome too. I love it when I receive a good response in another city. It goes to show people in a lot of places love my shirts, and that they could become a national brand someday.
This weekend I’ll be at Chicago Hot Dog Fest in Lincoln Park. A new design will be released there. It will be my 2nd to last Chicago festival of this year (the last one is Edgewater Fall Arts Fair at the end of September) – the other weekends will be filled in with festivals in other cities. I tend to get sick of a place if I’m in it too long. Next year I will do no more than 2 shows in a row in the same city.
It’s been a rough July for me. I had to get a new car (and was without one for the first couple weeks in July). Thankfully, the first 3 festivals of this month were all here in Chicago so I could easily get to them, but two of them (Windy City Ribfest and Sheffield Street Festival) were awful due to bad weather, mismanagement, and who knows what other reasons. Next year they will be replaced by festivals in Columbus and the Twin Cities, respectively.
On the other hand, Square Roots Music Festival was awesome and I’ll definitely do it again next year. My shirts seem to do best at festivals with original music (as opposed to cover bands) so I look for these whenever possible.
When I have a bad experience somewhere it makes me want to escape somewhere else. So this year instead of doing Downhome in Springfield as I have in the past, I’ll be escaping to Pittsburgh (the 2nd furthest from Chicago I’ve had a successful show) for the Vine Rewind Music Festival. Different city, different experience, and it’s a place I’ve had a positive experience with before. Nothing against Downhome or Springfield or Illinois; I just don’t want to be there right now.
It’s important to remember Lincoln is a national (and even international) figure and that my shirts are not about place. Just because Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln” doesn’t mean my shirts don’t do equally well (if not better sometimes) elsewhere. Lincoln’s message applies equally everywhere. In fact, sometimes it’s nice going places in other states because people don’t associate him with the place, they associate him with his ideals and the kinds of things he said and fought for, which is what my shirts are about. I’m looking forward to returning to Pittsburgh.
BTW, this is a new design – “Equality Lincoln”. Most of these were sold at Twin Cities Pride Fest (where I released the design, and is the best festival I’ve done so far this year). I still have a few left though. Look for another new design in the next few weeks.
This photo was taken at Twin Cities Pride Fest last weekend, which is one of my top 5 festivals of all time. Hr actually put his shirt on right away and could be seen skating around the festival in it. I released a new design there that will be posted soon.
It was a pretty huge and well attended festival. Big enough that you can get lost in it, and it was divided into color coded themed sections to make it a little more manageable. I plan to do it again next year.
It’s amazing and infuriating how I can get into a festival like this, but I couldn’t get into Logan Square Arts Fest in my own neighborhood this year (and discovered how mismanaged it is behind the scenes when it took them forever to return my fee).
Anyway here are the replacement festivals. 3 different festivals in 3 different cities across 3 days. It’s a little crazy but it’s what I could find and I hope it works, since by the time I found out I wasn’t in Logan Square Arts Fest it was too late for me to apply to alternative festivals I had in mind, like ComFest in Columbus. Shake the Lake is the Madison fireworks, which is another very well attended show (and my shirts do well at 4th of July shows – I remember when I used to sell at the Springfield fireworks. I always did well there – Madison’s show is much larger.)
My shirts did about as well a couple miles from where I grew up as they did here in Chicago at Belmont Sheffield. I saw several people wearing shirts they purchased in previous years (like this guy, who helps run the festival and evidently has worn his shirt a LOT). I really like how people in multiple places enjoy my shirts, and by extension, how Lincoln Apparel transcends geography. In fact, it’s never really been about place at all – it’s about every place equally, because Lincoln saved the Union for everyone residing within it, not just one particular part, and this concept of unity can apply anywhere.
These are two of the last “Immortal Words at Gettysburg” shirts being proudly worn at Waterfront Festival. These shirts are limited edition and no more will be printed. They will be replaced by new designs.
As for Taste of Des Plaines, it was a cheap festival intended to quickly fill in a gap in my schedule. Like most suburban festivals it’s not very fun, the people are cheap and it’s basically just “meh”, no reason to go there unless you live there. This is why I avoid suburban festivals usually. Plus it was rainy and cold.
My next festival is Twin Cities Pride Fest at Loring Park in Minneapolis. Apparently this is the 2nd largest festival in Minnesota by attendance (behind their State Fair) so it may end up being my best festival ever. It is several times larger than anything I’ve ever done. I’m proud that I managed to get into this one, so that I can spread Lincoln’s message of equality and inclusion there! A new limited edition design will be released there.
I’m so glad I discovered the Twin Cities! Shows there are so much more affordable and laid back than they are here in Chicago. It’s been worth the trip every time and I had another set of awesome shows there last weekend. I also scored a decent new printer there that has MUCH lower minimums than guys I’ve been using here in Chicago; this should increase the number of new designs this summer dramatically. I have so many more designs and design ideas than what has actually been printed!
Here’s someone from St. Paul who wore a shirt at Art in the Hollow that he bought from me last year at a festival there. He really loves to wear it and was impressed with how durable the prints on my shirts are!
I didn’t realize it until this week, but I am in the second biggest festival in Minnesota! Twin Cities Pride in a couple weeks may dwarf any festival I have done so far. A new design will be released there.
My next festival is only a couple miles from the neighborhood I grew up in. The festival is the Waterfront Festival in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s at Yahara Place Park right on Lake Monona and runs from 11-8 Saturday and Sunday. I’ll keep spreading Lincoln’s message no matter where I am – after all, it applies to every place equally.
Last week I made the 1024-mile trip to Denver through some tornadic thunderstorms in Nebraska and a near-blizzard the night I was coming back home. Denver weather is incredibly unpredictable and variable.
It was all worth it though. Unlike the dinky overpriced Denver market I ended up at last summer, Spread the Word was a real music festival full of people who really seemed to dig my colorful shirts. Lots of good bands too – and on the first day I had a spot by the stage so I could watch the music while I was slingin’ shirts!
This dude looked sharp in his new limited edition “Immortal Words at Gettysburg” shirt that he wore around the festival both days, and several other people wore their newly purchased shirts too.
I was even interviewed about my shirts by a radio station that was set up there. The people were friendly, open minded and easy to talk to. Some of the other vendors travel around to festivals around the country just like I do now. It’s a relatively new festival so I hope I can continue to be a part of it as it grows!
It was an awesome experience but it’s fitting that my next show is a “home” show. Doing a 1024-mile drive takes 17 hours and is tiring (even if it’s worth it)! This year will be the 6th year I’ve done Chicago’s Belmont Sheffield Music Festival. This was my first Chicago show in 2014 and was the festival that more or less triggered my move from Springfield to Chicago later that year. It’s the opening festival of Chicago’s festival season and I’ve done well at it every year. I look forward to another awesome weekend, this time only a few miles from my Logan Square home. Festival hours are 11-10 Saturday & Sunday and, as it’s name implies, it’s at the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Sheffield Avenue. Hope to see you there!