Hi Chris, I recently inquired about the Mt Dora festival and I had the same thing happen, good for one person and bad for another. To me, the promoter's attitude and communication is very important but not always the main issue. My favorite show was one of my least profitable but because of artist amenities such as an evening reception, breakfast, booth sitting, etc, it was such a pleasure to do the show. Unfortunately, that promoter moved so the show will not happen this year.
I recently did a highly profitable out of town show but the promoter was horrible. They cashed my booth check and yet I didn't receive notification of acceptance (they only deposit accepted artist checks). Then the website posted all the artists....my name wasn't on there. I called and emailed the promoter for a solid two weeks. I wanted my money back. I finally got a response. "You're in". Then, the morning of the show, they send an email that booth locations have changed. The show began at 10am and everyone needed to be set up by 9am at the latest. At 8am I get a call from the promoter asking me what my problem is and why I haven't arrived. I was trying to park. It's instances like this that make me not want to come back next year. Yes, I made more than average sales but is it worth the frustration and confusion with the promoter? I am torn.
In regards to other opinions on "good" and "bad" shows, I always take into consideration the promoter b/c that is typically universal. But when it comes to sales, I don't consider opinions of those not in my general category. For instance, I am a photographer, so I can't really compare my sales to a jeweler and vice versa. On the other hand, at a recent show, a fellow photographer who was highly talented, barely covered their booth fee while I made about average. I also only apply to juried shows unless it's local. And if the show has a section of buy/sell, I don't apply unless they are clearly in a different area.
When deciding on an out of town show, I like to research the city's population and average income. With the economy the way that it is now, I tend to go for highly populated areas.
I wouldn't blame the promoter for weather or the type of crowd. This is why I research the city and area. The promoter can't change the demographics.
The only time I could possibly blame a promoter for lack of sales is if they said it was a 100,000+ attendance show and it appeared to be about 10,000. I would find that misleading and it would also be lost opportunity costs of possible customers.