Manchester Art Fair 2023 - Gabriella Buckingham

Manchester Art Fair 2023

Me looking decidedly pooped I think!

This year I had a 3m x 2m stand as opposed to a 2m square area last year. It was definitely easier to attend to customers and still allow other people to view my work. I was really grateful to have my trusty Ikea box table which is sturdy enough to sit on and stand on in lieu of a ladder. It's also big enough to put my coat, screw driver, spare leaflets and sandwiches in!

The fair was quieter than last year I felt. In 2022 there was a palpable surge of people enjoying getting out and being part of a crowd after the lockdown Covid period. It was joyful! This year there were a comfortable amount of people who had a genuine interest in art and creativity, it's still the busiest art fair I've ever taken part in.

I haven't quite decided whether to do 2024 but I'd love to do 2025. There are no guarantees because there's always a waiting list. So if you're an artist thinking of trying it out bear that in mind. Also it's quite challenging logistically if you're doing it on your own and don't know Manchester at all. The way the breakdown was handled was different this year and rather sprung on all of us over the weekend as there was another show going on (not that I saw evidence of that).

Last year we loaded up under cover at the same level as the fair behind the stands. This year cars had to be brought to an underground car park and either then driven to the front to be loaded later or we had to carry things down an escalator to our cars. I did the latter in several trips and if I'd had to attend the fair and drive my own car to the car park I don't know when I would have left for Norfolk. As it was my husband left the fair at 2.30pm to drive our car to the car park, knowing it was already full with visitor cars. The football was on so he was in traffic for over an hour but actually timed it really well as the show closed at 4.30pm so visitors started to leave the car park. He was able to park by about 4.45pm. We know a few people who had to park further away even though they booked parking for that particular car park. It was actually easy enough in the end and we left at about 6pm. I'm so grateful to have had help.

Be prepared to breathe!

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