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.
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’ve updated the festivals and shows page with the festivals I’ve been confirmed for in June.
I ran into some frustrating snags scheduling the festivals this month that may result in me having no “home” (Chicago) festivals. First, I couldn’t afford the Do Division fee back in April, which resulted in me booking a festival in each of the Twin Cities instead. Second, I am currently waitlisted for Logan Square Arts Fest. Both of these festivals have been very beneficial for me in past years, and I know people look for me there, so it’s distressing not to be at them.
However, perhaps I’ll do equally as well in Minneapolis and Madison. It’s important to remember my shirts are about everywhere equally; they aren’t about and don’t belong to a specific place. Madison and especially Minneapolis have worked very well for me in the past, and I’m glad I got into Twin Cities Pride Festival (which looks HUGE.) I’m cautiously optimistic I’ll make it into Logan Square Arts Fest for my fans here in Chicago but no guarantees right now. I’m currently looking at alternative festivals in case I don’t get into that one.
Photo is from Spread the Word in Denver, the furthest from Chicago I’ve done a successful show.