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.
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!