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Bill Coleman Entertainment blog

Palletfest - a repurpose, up-cycle, fine art festival

By stretch, Posted 10/16/14 19:42:47


This was an incredible event. Weather was good on Saturday, with cooler temps , frequent showers with some rain, and wind on Sunday.

This was the first year for Pallet Fest, a family friendly festival featuring upcycled - repurposed art, sustainability, Parkour (!) , networking and some awesome music, food and beverages. (Ask me about the Ginger Beer!)

Held at the Sculpture Park in the heart of the Denver Theater District and featuring an expansive lawn with the 50 foot  Dancers sculpture towering over the venue.  Across from the Auraria Campus and framed by Speer and Champa streets.
While the attendance could have been higher, the engagement was through the roof.  I spoke with nearly every vender and they all reported satisfaction and sales.
One artist from NM that I spoke with ( there were two or three) was very happy, having sold a $500 piece.  During the rain, I circulated among the venders, and on one round made a point of mentioning AFI to several.  This was a first time event for some of the artists, and while their use of pop ups might have given a clue, their art was of good quality in my opinion.  NO buy sell was evident. Creativity abounded.  Electricity was available, load in and out was quite easy, parking was a bit tight, unless you used the nearby parking garage. Mostly on the lawn, with some pavement  There is room for more venders without crowding.  Plenty of space for storage, etc.

Demographics skewed to young professionals, but all ages were
evident, with strollers, and older kids as well as well dressed retires evident.

Artist Sean Doherty ( http://www.dohertyart.com/  120 + public art projects in the Denver area, including the art down the center of Broadway in Englewood, and Colfax in Lakewood) was there.  In   spite of what I originally though of as an "out in the boondocks" location, he had steady traffic and steady sales at $5 to $20+.  He had brought a couple of large sculptures, and was pretty sure one was sold when I last spoke with him.

When I say engaged, I mean folks were INTERESTED.  Even at the worst of the rain on Sunday, I had a steady stream of folks hiking the near length of the park to try out the classic wood stilts that I had brought. And of course, my Rainbow ZEEbra Bubble Tower was a hit with the adults and especially the kids and young at heart.  After the event, Kenny (the producer) assured me that yes, he "got it" and he would be soliciting sponsors for the BT for next year's festival.

Denver Mayor Hancock was there with an entourage including the
Denver sustainability director (not sure of the exact title) and they
toured the park, and spent quite a bit of time with several of the venders. As well as mounting the stage and making awards.  I was at some distance away at the time and can't report further, except that it was a two way conversation with the audience and an award was given.  People seemed to actually paying attention.

I was able to find sources for materials that I was looking for, including old fashioned cotton flour bags, that haven't been available here since the '60s.  Also was able to source vintage Japanese textiles, malted barley bags (for an agricultural themed Bubble Tower for the county fair circuit)  and had a conversation with a business owner who seems to have an interest in the Bubble Tower for an event at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.  

Habitat for Humanity had a large tent with samples of some fine
furniture for sale at very reasonable prices.  
The furniture is part of a rehabilitation program partnership with one of our prisons. Along with bookcases, Adirondack chairs and tables, headboards and the like, they also manufacture all of the cabinets and roof trusses for the Habitat for Humanity homes.


 The lumber was all sourced from pallets keeping in line with the re-use, re-purpose, up-cycle ethos of the festival.

I have a stack of business cards from folks that wanted to engage, question, and most of all help.  In spite of the rain and the Bronco's game or maybe because of that, the folks were actively looking and not passive.  I couldn't be happier with my experience.

I'm not a fan of rap, but other than the one band, I was very happy with the music.  Other than the initial test of the equipment, the volume was spot on, and not too loud, a major bugaboo of mine, and venders and artists in general.

With the exception of one tent that was badly placed, everything else was excellent, with traffic circulating the park to the activities and the venders.  Other than the above mentioned tent, there were no dead zones.  The entrance and exit to the event was maned at all times, forcing engagement and set the tone in a very positive way.  The food!  The food and beverages were well above average for a festival.  Waste, compost and recycling bins were much evident, and people actually used them.

When I arrived, Kenny had just completed some interviews, including one with someone in Chili who was interested in the festival.  This festival in my opinion has legs and will be back next year, as will the Bubble Tower.

The surprise of the festival, was the pallet sculpture that was built on site.

Delayed by rain, it was finished up as everyone was packing up.  I was happy that I took my time packing so I could see the finished sculpture.


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