There is one big way in which it still feels like my first year doing shows... It seems like every couple of months I have to buy parts and build a new variation on my booth for the specific requirements of a show.
This next one is under a parking garage. (I am having a hard time picturing it, but seasoned craft veterans tell me this is one of the most prestigious shows in the Northwest.) There's no wind, but it's dark with short ceilings.
Since the ceilings are too short for my regular canopy and its rafters are ugly with the cover off anyhow, I'm going to use a variation on the booth I put together last winter just for indoor shows. It uses heavy electrical conduit and specially designed joints.
These things are great! Once the pipes are cut, it's like a giant erector set. My plan was simple: put the two walls together, stand them up and just pop in the side-to-side pipes. Boy, I sure didn't think that through at all! I mean, this is a 10' room that weighs about 100 pounds and just wants to flop around until it's fully assembled. In this photo I have put together one of the walls.
And here's the pile of parts that make up those complicated front posts.
After several attempts at just standing them up, I noticed that I could rig up the center ceiling joist as a kickstand on one wall while I lifted the other one to attach it. It took some coordination, but it worked!
Then I just had to work my way around and cajole the rest of the pipes into their spots and voilà! It's a 10x10 booth frame with a banner façade and a snazzy cantilevered lighting rig.
If you look off to the right in that last image you'll see the legs of a ladder. This is a problem. The new booth is ridiculously tall. I cannot reach the front lighting rig to install the pipes or the lights without a real ladder. I don't want to buy one and then haul it with me to shows. At the same time, the top edges of the walls sit a foot above my gridwall panels, which would be a major source of stability if I could zip-tie them onto the frame.
And, finally, if you look closely you'll see a rope across the doorway. This marks the bottom of the new banner, and it sits at 7' 3". It's so high that it will not do one of its primary jobs, which is to prevent the booth lights from shining into people's eyes when they look in.
And the answer to all of these problems is also the reason why I put this thing together today when I'm supposed to be packing for the show that I will travel to in the morning... I need to take another trip to the fix-it shop and cut a foot from each post. I'll just take the pipes with me to this show and get them cut on my way home, saving myself a whole trip down the mountain next week.
The next dry run of this booth assembly will actually be the dress rehearsal. I should have the banner by then. I'll bring out the gridwall and test the canopy walls, too. Then I'll be completely confident of my ability to put on a good show in Bellevue.