Festival season is upon us! While it's not for everyone, festival reading is a great way to get yourself comfortable with reading for all types of people, reading in large volumes, and teaches you to give quick, efficient and effective readings. Now I'm from New Jersey and from St. Patrick's Day till Thanksgiving there is pretty much a fair or festival every weekend, so I grew up on street fairs and I personally love them. Now if reading at festivals is something you are interested in, here are some quick things you may want to keep in mind:
Drunk People: If you are planning to read at a fair where alcohol is served, get ready to have drunk people who really want a reading. Remember, it is ok to refuse a client. You don't have to read for people who are making you uncomfortable. Also, let people know that it is very difficult to read for them while they are intoxicated.
Nasty Neighbors: (This goes for metaphysical and psychic fairs, I get to the other rude neighbors in a second) When you read at fairs where there are a lot of readers, sometimes you will encounter some really horrible ones. People who are their to talk nasty about your booth to customers and try to make it so customers don't come to your table. Don't stoop to their level! Keep your head up and be positive and customers will feel the wonderful energy and want to come by!
Fanatics: Being a tarot card reader, I'm sure you are already used to ruffling a few feathers. Well going to a public fair, especially one that isn't strictly new age/metaphysical/psychic or something of that nature, some people might make you feel unwanted. Best thing to do is ignore them and if it gets really out of hand, go get the organizer and discuss the issue with them.
The weather: Most festivals will go on rain or shine. And guess who's problem that is? Yours. Your better be prepared to read in the rain and extreme heat. Yes, heat. People usually only think about the rain, and forget sitting with the sun beating down on you can also be a bit of a problem.
Disorganized Organizers: Ugh. The worst. After paying your fee, getting all your equipment, arriving on time, you get there and the organizer seems to have no idea what is going on. This is something you might not always find out until you get to the event. Make sure you have a idea about where you are going and when you email or call organizers, make sure you have all the details you need before arriving.
Thirst: Remember, your going to be talking all day. ALL DAY. Make sure you have a bottle of water on hand because your mouth is gonna be super dry (a lot of festivals you will see the organizers handing out water).
Short Readings: As readers, most of us hate to rush a client and we want them to feel good about the reading and leave with their questions answered. But in a festival atmosphere, you must do all of that and still have time constraints. You have to know how to make sure you stay on time with your readings. Don't let the client keep asking questions when they only bought a 10 minute reading. Especially if you are the only reader, you may have a line forming behind that client and you want to make sure you get to everyone (and still get a bite to eat and a few bathroom breaks). Bring a timer with you and remember to be firm (but kind) with clients. Politely let them know that their time is almost up and try to answer any final questions they might have.
Breaks: In the last point I alluded to bathroom breaks. Take one. Take a few! Don't let a long line pressure you. When you need to eat or just go to the bathroom, let customers know you will be taking a break and when you will be back.
Where you will be placed: Another issue. Sometimes you are able to choose where you will be placed at a fair, sometimes not. If you can't choose, make sure you request from the organizer that you are somewhere away from loud noises (and somewhere where the foot traffic is high).
Now the good stuff...
The Good (Or should I say...AWESOME):
Networking: You will meet other professionals in your field who are in your area. There will be people there who offer services you have never even heard of or things you might want to take advantage of. While you browse their products, you can give them your card and make a new acquaintance. Take advantage! Talk to them, ask questions, and make connections!
Cool Stuff: Festivals and fairs have awesome homemade crafts and are the original Etsy. I've gotten so many cool thing for my office from fairs and also for my vendor space!
You will make money!: Festivals are a great way to make some money as a professional reader, especially if you don't have a ton of private clients. And obviously if you are the only tarot card reader there, you are going to probably make bank. Also, use this experience to give out your card and advertise yourself!
Street Fair Food: All I can say is... yum. Street fair food is some of the best food ever in my opinion.
Introducing people to Tarot: A lot of times when you are doing a non-metaphysical, people will come for readings just to try it. This is your chance to introduce them to tarot and dispel some of their misguided beliefs.
FUN!: Have a good time! Enjoy the atmosphere and get people buzzing about you and your awesome reading skills!
If you want to know more about festival readings, someone wrote a whole book about it! Her name is Jenna Matlin and the book is called Have Tarot Will Travel: A Comprehensive Guide to Reading at Festivals as a Tarot Professional. Pick it up!
Let me know your opinion of reading at festivals? Any horror stories? Any awesome stories? Comment below!
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