Trading at Sunset
Last year at Sunset we tried an experiment. We decided to drop the concept of conventional trader fees in favour of something more organic. We announced that the new Sunset policy on trader fee's would now be entirely donation or “magic hat” based.
The magic hat concept is one that many people seem to instinctively connect with and respond in a positive way to. People giving out of what they can afford rather than what’s demanded feels a much more natural and kind way of dealing with our family at Sunset. Of course magic hat doesn’t necessary mean a money donation it can be any form of exchange that is agreeable. We felt the benefit to traders working this way is that they would no longer have the burden of extra unnecessary overheads to us. We also particularly wanted to encourage first timer's to try things out. To give people the chance at developing an idea without having to worry about large upfront costs to the festival.
We've been hearing more and more from friends who trade at events how much harder things have become in recent years. The fact that so many festivals are not acknowledging this and instead have in many cases increased their fee's has been troubling. These conversations had a large influence in us taking the step in changing our policy. It felt like a big leap of faith at the time. We were already running tight with our budget so we knew by not counting any trader fee's into our cash flow we would be putting even more strain on our piggy bank. This act of trust was in hindsight one of the best decisions we've ever made.
The response last year from the announcement was overwhelming. It seemed that the message had gone viral and now we were being swamped with mail from people everywhere wanting to bring their stalls to Sunset. Tellingly, a high percentage of those were from people wanting to try things out for the first time. This was exactly what we were trying to create with Sunset. An environment that was stimulating for creativity and ideas. A place for people to dream up stuff and make it happen. It appeared that the simple act of making a small change in our policy had triggered a domino effect that was travelling fast. So much so that we were starting to wonder how we would actually fit everyone in. Also having enough electricity to provide everyone was starting to becoming a concern. Not to mention making sure we had enough fire extinguishers, safe access lanes and all the other safety concerns that need to be met.
Looking back in hindsight, I don't think any of us was really quite expecting such an overwhelming response to the news. It seems by the one simple act of not seeing traders as a”profit centre” we had thrown the doors wide open to a lot of good people. The fact that things had gone so well made us realise that we had made the right decision. It was definitely worth all the extra stress and pressure to see so many family members with their creations out in full force at Sunset last year
So welcome to stage two of the Sunset experiment. This is where we try and take things further. If you haven’t got all the necessary festival paperwork then we want to help you. The kind of stuff we mean is health and safety certificates and risk assessments that official body's like to see if your working at festivals. It can all look a bit intimidating if you haven't done it before but its not overcomplicated. If you want help with this then we've got good people at Sunset that want to assist.
This is an experiment to see how far we can go with empowering our family. To see them set up, self sustaining and independent. Earning a living from doing what they love and being around good people in the process. If Sunset is able to be a catalyst for this then we think we might be on to a worker... ;) x
As the fuel company’s don't dig the magic hat thing were asking a small trader donation towards the electricity this year. If you want to be hooked up for power were asking £50 towards the cost . This only applies if you want power to be hooked up to your stall. If you don't need it or your providing your own then no worries. Can we ask no petrol generators please. We love solar, wind, water or any other non fossil based power though. So please help us in our goal to move Sunset completely off grid and provide Sunset festival well into the future :)