Strange Folk Festival’s Future Is Uncertain as Founder, O’Fallon Clash on Ownership

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Bullying Tactics

I just moved to O'Fallon a few years ago & loved that the SF festival was right out my front door... I have gone with family for many years & have invited many of my friends to check it out as well but will tell you I have no intention after these bullying tactics! Keep up the good fight Autumn - the Government was intended to be By the People For the People but power hungry idiots do my head in!

Elle more than 2 years ago

A balanced view

Remember, there are always two sides to every story. Being at the event for the entire ten years, it would have been nice for the artisans to know that last year was the last event Autumn planned; especially for those who spend the Winter gearing up for the next year's events. Also, although I have seen Autumn bring toilet paper to the bathrooms (that is how involved she was), the Parks Department did a bit more than just provide check processing...really? Get a grip on that one! They provided security, which, if we didn't have that, no-one would have left their equipment and work overnight. The people who helped with parking and set up looked a lot more like they came from Parks and Rec than from Autumn's crowd. I just think both sides don't know what the other really put forth (although the Parks and Rec seem very guilty on this one.) I just wish it didn't get so ugly. I am so sorry for Autumn's sake that it did, and I hope it all works out in the end for her, because she did an amazing job for those ten years; I was always in awe of the work she put into it. Thank you Autumn for all you did, and I know everyone else from the vendors to the community are also grateful.

Patti B more than 2 years ago

Reply from Autumn

Patti, just 2 corrections, but thank you for your support otherwise:
-An off duty cop was paid for out of Strange Folk's funds. This is on the expense reports and operating budget. I was usually the one that met with them and showed them around at the beginning of their shift.
There were fees on the budget for the grounds crew and administration fees. Normally things were within a few thousand under budget after that. That's why I was fine with the small stipend.
-Historically, Strange Folk applications don't go up until June 1st. No one is entitled to any information before that. People are welcome to apply for any other show they like that weekend that has applications and information up earlier, if they don't like the way I run things. I have been very very gruff about this! I do not answer to anyone as to the planning and execution timeline. It's my party, and I start working on it when I want to.
Have always done it that way. I would have announced it on everything right away, but I was asked to "sit on it" for awhile. Then everything got very messy, and I realized I was in for a fight, and decided not to do anything drastic publicly till now.
I'm sorry you were inconvenienced by this situation, Patti. I understand fully the weight of my decision to end it, but the vendors have given me unwavering support. I thank you for yours, and appreciate your concerns. I hope I have answered them.

Autumn Wiggins more than 2 years ago

Bullies

This is reminicent of the high school bully that claims ownership of a lunch table. Keep up the fight, honey!

Lisa M. more than 2 years ago

Was notice given?

So did Autumn tell everyone that 2014 would be the last time the event was held? I'd like to know from vendors AND from the City of O'Fallon, if she gave notice to anyone.

They're all being a little disingenuous, from the facts being presented.

Clive more than 2 years ago

No

No notice about it being the last year was given that I was aware of. From anyone involved with the show in any capacity. I did the show for two years as a vendor.

mario more than 2 years ago

Reply from Autumn

I was not required by contract to notify anyone of my intentions for Strange Folk. I made my final decision to end it in January 2015, and announced it during the Arts Commission meeting. I believe the first on the calender after Strange Folk 2014. I was told to "sit on it."
Then I realized what was happening, and decided not to do anything drastic.

Autumn Wiggins more than 2 years ago

Reply from Autumn

The park did not generate any ideas or intellectual property for Strange Folk. They followed my instructions, and fees for their administrative and maintenance services were deducted from the allocated budget. Their partial right was to continue having a festival that weekend that wasn't called Strange Folk Festival. I offered to help them re-brand, and they took a long time between blowing it off and harassing me for my personal account passwords. How is that selfish?

"Some of the long term vendors didn't pay for booths."
I'm sorry, but this was fabricated. Strange Folk's booth fees are exceedingly affordable, and I needed every penny in the operating budget to run it. No vendors were skipping out on any fees. There were barters for spaces with non-profits who provided a service to the festival. Someone might have confused their booths with the vendor ones.

Autumn Wiggins more than 2 years ago

Sounds selfish to me

The finances were being managed by the park, so I think there is a semblance of a partnership here. I don't see why if she was walking away from this, that the park didn't have a partial right to continue on in good stead since she wasn't going to move forward with it anyway for a while. Anyone with good marketing can see that isn't a great decision (and it's not like the facebook page they have is the scion of communication for the public anyway, so people would assume the show had died on the vine). Last year while shopping and talking to vendors I found out that some of the long term vendors didn't pay for booths, so I imagine that helps out the ones who have been loyal.

Gerrard more than 2 years ago

It's selfish to want your work respected?

Autumn WANTED to have this event here. The parks department was acting as a processing center ONLY because she didn't want to deal with Paypal. But processing fees does not intellectual property make. Being a venue does not intellectual property make. The Rock N Roll Craft Show has switched venues a few times over the years, and no one thinks anyone owns it but the women who work tirelessly to put it on. Autumn came up with the concept, the name, the artwork, the art direction, the website, and the marketing. She juried all the artists. She booked all the bands. She coordinated all the food and beverage vendors. She made (often by herself) all the free children's activities. She worked 12-16 hour days for months because she loves this phenomenon that she made and wanted to see it blossom and grow. She went without eating and sleeping. She burned through her own personal laptops because the workload was too much for them. I have vended at every single one. I have seen personally how hard she works, and how hard her very small team of dedicated volunteers (NOT the Parks Dept.) work for her. All she wanted was for O'Fallon to respect her work. They didn't. And after nine years, she decided after a long time of consideration to table it for a year and move it somewhere where she could have the creative control she needs to run it properly. I have watched the Parks Department go back on their promises for nine years. I have watched them play fast and loose with finances they do not own. And I have watched her take it on the chin because she's just one girl and she doesn't want to try to fight City Hall. And she loves this event like a child, because it is like a child. It's her creation. And EVEN after all of that, SHE OFFERED TO HELP O'FALLON START THEIR OWN EVENT. Her consulting would be free. Her only request was that they couldn't call it Strange Folk, because that is hers. Their response was to call the cops on her for a laptop that she bought free and clear with the funds that HER event brings in so that she could DO the work she needs to do. There's selfishness here, sure. But it isn't Autumn. And if you had even the smallest amount of knowledge about this event, you would know that.

Beqi Brinkhorst more than 2 years ago

What vendors?

Who were the vendors you spoke to that weren't charged to have tent space there? i don't think this show did anything like that, the price went up this last year, that did happen, so personally I'd be MORE than disappointed if I found out I paid to get into an event that other vendors had not paid to do.

Mario, the Artisan Rogue more than 2 years ago

Reply from Autumn

The park did not generate ideas or intellectual property for Strange Folk, nor did I sign any contracts that transferred ownership. Intellectual property laws are very cut and dry. They followed my instructions for set up, and fees for their administrative and maintenance services were deducted from the allocated budget. Their partial right was to continue having a festival that weekend that wasn't called Strange Folk Festival. I offered to help them re-brand, and they took a long time between blowing that offer off and harassing me for my personal account passwords. How is that selfish?

Strange Folk's social media is designed to be strategically lean. Between that, and my store's facebook page, I have accumulated over 14,000 fans. Despite what social media experts recommend, you can build a following purely from making something awesome that people just want to keep on the radar. The frequency of posting stuff on social media doesn't matter. You make important posts, and pay for ads to make sure your followers see it. Who want's a bunch of pointless content in their face all the time? I don't, so I don't put it in yours. Forget about Strange Folk all year, until summertime, then you'll start hearing about it here and there. You can join the event page and be reminded. That was one way I was able to multi-task. I cut out anything that is unnecessarily taking up my time and energy. This is an example of my expertise and resourcefulness in building the festival from the bottom-up myself.

"Some of the long term vendors didn't pay for booths."
I'm sorry, but this was fabricated. Strange Folk's booth fees are comparably affordable to others of the same size, and I needed every penny in the operating budget to run it. No vendors were skipping out on any fees. There were barters for spaces with non-profits who provided a service to the festival. Someone might have confused their booths with the vendor ones.

Autumn Wiggins more than 2 years ago

Thanks

Appreciate your input this. We may not have seen eye to eye on the raise in price this last year, but I don't know you personally nor hang with much or any of the craft mafia. Personally I knew of two instances where when speaking to some vendors, they were unaware the price had gone up. I'm not going to lie, to have seen what the fellow above said made me a bit unnerved to read. That said, though you and I do not know each other Autumn I'd wager that what i know of you third hand of being an honest business person is legitimate.

Mario, the Artisan Rogue more than 2 years ago

Really?

I think I have the minority opinion. I loved going and getting things from vendors I normally don't have access to. I guess I can buy crap made in China instead of supporting local artists I don't understand why someone else can't run it...It seems rather selfish. I would think she would be happy that someone will keep it going.

Tina more than 2 years ago

Another minority opinion

Why doesn't O'Fallon just call it something else and go on having the events? Who cares what it's called? The name isn't what draws people...it was the artists and crafters in the quaint location in O'Fallon.

Loree more than 2 years ago

RELOCATE

Autumn Wiggins PLEASE bring this festival to Missouri !

michael pollard more than 2 years ago

Revival

Autumn... I hope you find the strength and willingness to begin this project again , maybe under a different name in a city who will not be greedy and actually thank you for the exposure and income your festival brings to their town. Our family ( children and grandchildren) traveled 65 miles to enjoy the festival each year. We will gladly follow your efforts if you choose to rebirth and re-brand a similar festival at a more hospitable and grateful community in the future.

michael pollard more than 2 years ago

Will not attend

One thing about all crafters, we hate when people steal our intellectual property. It's too bad the city doesn't respect that. I have vended for the past four years, and will neither vend, attend, nor promote a fake strange folk event. I'm sure they can pull together a watered down version of past events, but the attendance will be down and the vendor quality will suffer dramatically. Not to mention there will be an army of crafters working to point out what has happened.

The pretties more than 2 years ago

Attendance Numbers WILL Dive.

First off, I'm heartbroken that last year was the last for Strangefolk. It's one of the things I love about living on the IL side of the river. I've discovered all sorts of artists, designers, crafters, and makers. I've started collecting works from my favorites.

As a supporter of those artists, designers, crafters, and makers, we won't be attending whatever O'Fallon tries to do. I know many many other people who will not be attending either.

O'Fallon will have trouble finding vendors. But they're going to have trouble finding people to go to the festival, too. We went to Strangefolk because it was genuine, authentic, and unique. We'll be voicing our opposition with our feet and wallets. Knock-offs and cheap copies belong in big box stores. Not under the banner of a festival. No Fake Folk for us, thank you.

rosemary more than 2 years ago

Strange Folk

The whimsy and wonder if Strange Folk is because of Autumn Wiggins. She developed the concepts, networked and gathered resources to make her visions a reality, in many cases personally built and sweat over installations to bring them to life. As a vendor, I've seen her in action erecting fun and interactive play spaces, collecting and distributing supplies for elaborate scavenger hunts, and wrapping trees with crocheted and knitted items to create a yarn bomb forest. Every communication I ever received related to the festival originated from her personally. On visits to her shop I saw her hard at work on installation components for the festival, months before Strange Folk happened. She is the leadership and creativity that makes Strange Folk the success it has been. I am saddened that her hard work and creative efforts are being called into question when it is so clear that she is the rightful owner. Whatever festival that might happen in its place certainly will pale in comparison and is one I'm not interested in being a part of as a vendor or an attendee.

Holly S. more than 2 years ago

Funny

Vendors are FIERCELY loyal to Autumn. They will never be vendors at a show that has deliberately betrayed her this way. I mean seriously, good luck with that, guys. We all know who did the actual work, here- if they think they can pull off a show without her as their frontwoman, they are in for a rude awakening. That I personally kinda want to see.

Keli C more than 2 years ago

strange folk

The Parks Dept needs to realize that the vendors of Strange Folk understand the dedication and work Autumn puts into the festival, and that we are also fiercely loyal. We will not do a Strange Folk that is not under the guidance of Autumn Wiggins, unless she passed the baton to a capable successor. Good luck finding quality, talented vendors if you go ahead with Fake Folk, guys.

Sarah Hardy-Thebeau, Whimsy Vintage more than 2 years ago

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