Bringing a Faire Indoors
Everything we have talked about so far has been focused primarily on outdoor events. Richly themed fairs and festivals can be brought indoors as well, and I imagine another entire book could be dedicated to the subject of themed indoor events. To add briefly, many of the rules we have talked about here apply equally well to indoor events. Although the challenges appear different, many are the same. You still need to find a structure large enough to hold your event, with access to a large number of potential visitors. Parking is important, as is fire safety and accessibly by emergency vehicles. Ability to get your vendors in and out of the space, especially when it comes to loading in their booths during set-up and taking them down at the end of the event. All of these are logistic problems, and are likely to be no worse then what you already experience with an outdoor event.
Probably the biggest challenge for your indoor event will be... lighting. When looking for an appropriate indoor venue, you may end up in a large industrial building, warehouse, or in some cases a large livestock or event building located in a fairgrounds. You can be assured that these facilities were not designed for what you plan to do with it, and most are illuminated by light fixtures that are guaranteed destroyers of magic ambiance... fluorescent and zinc lights. To gain the most control over the atmosphere of your event, the best advice is to turn those lights off and replace them with something more theatrical. This adds a lot of expense to the event, and will challenge both the landlord and fire department when you suggest not using the lights designed for the safety of the visitors of your event.
Lights mean rigging and power, and before you jump into doing an indoor event, question your control over how dark you can make the space, and how much light you can bring in to light it in a theatrical way. Ultimately, your goal is to make the space dark enough that the structure of the building disappears, and only the charming shop filled streets are illuminated. Rented generators will be likely additions to your budget, but trust me, your control over the light levels of your event will be worth the extra expense.
FAIRE IN A BALLROOM
Quickly rising in popularity is a new variety of themed event, and these are smaller hybrids of both festivals and conventions like ComicCon. Starting out as a way for niche groups of fans to get together, these are turning into events that encourage their participants and vendors to arrive in costume. All over the country events like Faerieworld, FaerieCon, and DragonCon are taking over the ballrooms and convention spaces of hotels and filling them with crafts and entertainment specific to their target demographic. This allows participants to book rooms in and around the event hotel and producers of the show a lot of existing facilities custom built to suit the needs of their event. In this case, there is much less control over the atmosphere of the event, but for a smaller show, this may just be a necessary evil, as competing with wall to wall carpet and mirrored walls may not be worth the expense and struggle. What these events do deliver is a venue for fans of the larger events to show off costumes that may be too delicate for the outdoors, a chance to visit favorite vendors to help them accessories, and a way to experience night, and late night entertainment, something less possible in outdoor Faires.
It is my expectation that we will see more of these smaller indoor events springing up all over the country. These shows feed a hunger in niche audiences, but their size makes that less of a problem. Smaller events can also act as a way to keep the fan fire burning between larger outdoor events. This allows participants to “live” the fantasy, as they patronize more events throughout the year, and act as a means of income for talented crafts people between the larger events. If you set your goal as creating a full fledged themed event, starting out with a more intimate show could be a good way to introduce yourself to the market possibilities, and your audience to your unique offering.