Our next fair will be held in May 2021, likely only online. Applications come out in February 2021. Keep an eye out on our social medias, or sign up to our mailing list, to be the first to hear about our vendor calls!
The Royal Bison is a vendor-run, independent craft, art and design fair located Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A few times a year we pop up to show off the best modern art, design and craft from Edmonton and the region.
THE FAIR HAS BEEN BLOWIN’ THROUGH TOWN SINCE 2007, HAS A FEROCIOUS FOLLOWING OF CUSTOMERS, AND IT GETS BETTER AND BETTER WITH AGE.
The fair pops up for a weekend only three times a year (once in the spring, and twice in the winter) with 70-ish top-notch makers, designers, illustrators showing their work and they bring some of the most vivid design and art this city and region have to offer. The Royal Bison is vendor-run, aligned with the arts community, deeply independent and everyone has one hell of a good time!
Q: WHAT'S IT COST TO BE A VENDOR?
ONLINE FAIR VENDOR FEES
$80.00+GST AND 12.5% COMMISSION ON NET SALES
(FOR NON-PANDEMIC TIMES, BELOW ARE THE IN-PERSON BOOTH FEES:
Table fee is per weekend. It includes booth space, table (if you need one) and all the chairs you could ever need. Wall space and access to power is free but available only by request after you’re accepted, and is subject to availability.
4-FOOT SPACE • $150
6-FOOT SPACE • $225
8-FOOT SPACE • $300
10-FOOT SPACE • $375
Typically, most vendors will only receive 4 or 6 feet of space (we want to fit in as many top-notch vendors in as we can) but if you think your product/display requires more, apply for more space! Ten-foot spaces are reserved for vendors with larger items or displays (think furniture or clothing).
NEW DESIGNER GRANT
We can help new designers out with the costs of table fees!
You might be eligible for a 40% discount.
We know what it's like to take a leap and try new things when we're new to something, and we love supporting rising new talent! We know from experience you need those precious $$$ to try things. If you're brand new to making, designing, illustrating, etc (having only run your company/made your products for TWO YEARS OR LESS, or if you're still in design school) this is for you! Bonus: if you're brand new to the Bison, your chances at this subsidy are highest. Subsidies are not guaranteed.
4-FOOT SPACE • $90
Check the box in the application form to be considered for this subsidy!
The Royal Bison is artist-juried and curated with an eye towards the new, unique and designed. It’s a snapshot of what is going on in the indie art, design, and maker scene in Edmonton and region.
Here are some tips to help you put your best application forward. It’s a good thing and a bad thing, but the fact is that we get way more applications than we have room for. It’s competitive to get in to the fair, but definitely not impossible! To be fair to everyone, applications are juried by an ever-changing group of members of Edmonton’s creative community. We always make room for new people and new ideas, and can’t wait to see your application! Read on and find out what we’re lookin’ for:
THE LOCAL AND REGIONAL
Much of our vendor roster is dedicated to local vendors. Out of town applications from the Canadian prairies/western region (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and interior BC) are welcome and are juried on design merit. If you're based further afield we would consider your application for our online fair only if you are an expat originally from Edmonton and continue to have significant ties to our community.
While we have a number of return vendors in every fair, we also have a whole whack of new folks. There have been a lot of fine individuals launch what became very successful art/craft endeavours at the Bison and we’d like to keep that going. Previous attendance at the Bison is not a guarantee of attendance next time. If you’ve vended before, we like to see new and fresh items and obvious progression of work in your application.
Mainstream trends (ie. "Live, Laugh, Love" items, Pinterest craft projects, feather earrings) come up a lot in our application pile. The jury is looking for unique new ideas for the market mix instead of well-known trends.
THE GENUINELY WEIRD
Anybody who had been to a Bison knows we’re not your typical craft fair, and we’d like to keep it that way. If you’ve been to the Bison before, you know what we’re talking about. If not, we invite you to have a peek at our blog and our Instagram feed, which feature work of vendors from fairs past.
NO FAN ART
There are so many illustrators out there making original work, and we’d like to feature them. If you’re painting Bill Murray or printing Spock, please apply with only the original pieces in your collection. Our jury criteria for art with a pop culture angle is as follows:
- does the art work without the pun/text?
- is it something that only viewers of the show get, or an original message by the artist that's rolled around fan art?
- is there any added context in the artwork?
- is it loved by both fans of the show, as well as those who hate TV show?
- is it appropriate for what our audience is looking for?
By far the most competitive category. Our focus is on modern craft silver/goldsmiths and those making unexpected pieces from surprising materials. Assembled jewelry is very carefully considered for uniqueness.
REGARDING CULTURAL APPROPRIATION
If you’re making Indigenous (or Indigenous-inspired) work, we hope you’re doing it because you have legitimate ties to Indigenous culture. If you’re showing us a picture of a headdress or dreamcatcher or beadwork or a medicine wheel, etc, please let us know your rationale for using this imagery or medium in your application.
FOOD & DRINK APPLICATIONS
We are a community-based event focussed on art and design, not a larger, more general trade show, plus we're located next to the most excellent Strathcona Farmer’s Market. Most likely your food or beverage item will be a better fit and find a more receptive audience in a more food-focussed market.
DESIGN VS. HANDMADE
As the craft and design movement has evolved, so has the Royal Bison. We celebrate design work in many forms and through many processes – if your items are designed by you, but manufactured elsewhere and/or by someone else, we are proud to show your work and ideas at the fair!