Load-in / Load-out Procedures Promoter Shares How Their Process Works

February 2024, by Sara Collins, Art in Bayfront Park, Loring Park Art Festival, Stone Arch Bridge Festival

Parking options for artists are being considered for Loring Park Art Festival. Photo courtesy of Loring Park Art Festival

Load-in is provided the day before all our festivals open, starting around 9 a.m. Artists are assigned a window of time, so we spread out the congestion. 

Offered to all artists at each of the festivals is a drive-up/drop-off at their space during load-in. Sometimes they can pull up behind their tent or beside it. 

A few may need to cart everything from their car to tent, but it is only 20 to 30 feet. We do not have a rule about the time allowed, but we stay in communication with each artist. 

If it becomes too long or they need some help, we work with them on an individual basis. We have only had a handful of times where an artist was not on the same page with us, understanding everyone needs to work together to make things flow. 

We assist artists if they request it because of a physical need. In the past, we have worked with youth groups in which they offered to help artists in exchange for tips. That worked well. 

A few artists request to load-in on the morning of the festival. Artists can arrive early, and our overnight security will allow them access. All vehicles are required to be off the festival grounds 30 minutes before we open to the public. 

Parking for Artists 

We provide subsidized parking for artists at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. The parking lots are about a five- to 10-minute walk to the festival grounds. 

Historically, Loring Park Art Festival has not provided parking for artists. We are looking into options for parking for 2024’s festival. 

At Art in Bayfront Park, artists can park for free in the venue’s parking lot. 

End of the Festival 

Artists are required to wait until the show closes before they start packing up. This is a rule at all festivals. 

If someone is packing up before closing time, our team visits them and reminds them about the rule. It is a courtesy to all attendees and other artists to maintain a welcoming environment during the hours the festival is open. 

Before loading out, artists must disassemble their tents and pack up as much as possible. Our staff roams the site, and when an artist is packed and ready, they receive a site pass that allows them to drive in and load-out. 

Subsidized parking is provided for the artists at Stone Arch Bridge Festival. Photo courtesy of Stone Arch Bridge Festival

We started our current process for load-in/-load out many years ago. Newer artists can be annoyed by the structure and oversight we have in place, but they soon learn it benefits everyone. Seasoned artists tell us they love how we run load-in and load-out. 

Additional Advice 

Arrive for load-in with an extra dose of patience and bring help with you. One or two extra people makes a world of difference. 

Unload your items and then move your vehicle. This brings down stress and the push to work quickly. 

For load-out, work slowly in you can. There is a first wave of artists who must get on the road or leave as soon as possible. After that rush, getting a vehicle on the grounds is much easier and quicker. Some seasoned artists even go to dinner and come back. 

In addition, I have seen many artists use their social media to help drive traffic to the event and gain followers by tagging or sharing the festival posts. I hope this trend continues. 

Free parking is provided for artists who participate in Art in Bayfront Park. Photo courtesy of Bayfront Park