I wanted to give you all an update on the other big event that went on last weekend (July 21st-24th) besides Comic Con International. I'm referring to the Creation Northwest Music Festival, which bills itself as the nation's largest. Now, since I've also attended Cornerstone and Sonshine Music festivals over the past month, I'm not sure I would agree with that bit of hyperbol. But what I can tell you is this, that as someone who was an exhibitor at these three events, Creation did indeed blow the others two events away in terms of sales for us!
I tried to corner the promoter into giving me final attendence numbers, but he wouldn't share that info (said it was still be compiled). But according to one of the other people running the show, it looked liked it was going to be a bit under 20,000 (but that estimate was made on Friday morning...with two more day's walk up traffic to be counted).
Out of the three events Cornerstone had the most exhibtor space (one large tent and one smaller one), but the downside was you had to brave the heat and considerable dust and the smaller tent got considerably less traffic then the main tent (which was were I was unfortunately positioned). We had heard from many attendees of past events that they didn't even know there was a second tent!
Sonshine had their exhibitor area in a converted hockey arena, so the elements were a bit more controlled, but still a bit toasty, as the main doors were open to the outside, so if there was AC you couldn't feel it.
Likewise, Creation has their exhibitor area inside a building with doors open to the outside. But since the outside temp for most of the weekend was in the mid-80's with not a whole lot of humidity, it was very pleasant.
Out of the three, Creation had the least amount of space for exhibitors and also the least amount of stages for bands and as a result the people in attendence seemed to hang out in the exhibitor areas quite a bit more each and every day. Customers cruising the exhibitor areas seem to wane a bit each day the other two events went forward. Not so at Creation, as traffic stayed consistent right up to the late afternoon the final day...when some exhibitors began tearing down.
But for us, when all was said and done, we did about the same volume of sales at Creation, that I did the last time I exhibited at Comic Con Interantional (in 2008). So, I was quite pleased. Cornerstone came in second (about $300 behind) and Sonshine was a distant third. That's even more impressive when you consider that we did that volume at Creation with basically about a fifth of the potential audience (20k verses 120k at CCI)!
I think doing at least one of these conventions would be worth the time for a joint CCAS table next summer (since there are a number of them which take place on the west coast). I say this, because I think it could be a bonanza and reach a very different kind of potential customer. The thing that was very refreshing here was, that you didn't have to worry about how the Christian aspect of your books would be recieved, you could focus on the strength of the story and artwork (verses exhibiting at most comic conventions, where you never quite know the spiritual condition of those approaching your table).
A constant theme I heard from people of all ages is, "I love the idea of Christian based comics and graphic novels and didn't know there were any out there!" If I could sell a grand with one title, what is the potential for a table with a whole diverse selection at an event like this, which is packed with Christian youth and parents looking for Christian themed entertainment for their kids (not to mention youth pastors looking for materials for their churches)?
Food for thought, for sure!