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Filberg Festival

By Karen Booy, Ewe & Me Pattern Co.
Crafting the American Dream, and CRAFTLINK Newsletter.


Anyone who attends the Filberg Festival, outside of Comox, agrees that the ambience is what brings them back, year after year. Craft booths are nestled among stately trees and each year with twice as many applicants as space, the quality of craft is outstanding. There are no guaranteed spots for past participants, indeed there is a new competition each year for all spots. For this reason, the Filberg Festival is always interested in hearing from any resident BC artists and craftspeople who whishes to take part in the show.

From its inception the principal objective of the Festival has been to encourage excellence in al forms of arts and crafts, and to assist in the promotion and sale of quality work. 

In addition to the wonderful selection of crafts, the Filberg Festival features ongoing entertainment for both children and adults. You wouldn’t have to worry about going hungry while at the Festival as a wide variety of culinary treats are available, ranging from exotic to downright decadent!

Sylvia Allen, show promoter from the Filberg Festival takes time to share her thoughts with Craftlink.

Q: What makes the Filberg Festival different than other craft shows?

The Filberg Festival is different from other craft shows mainly because it has a spectacular outdoor setting to showcase the brilliant work of the participating artists and craftspeople. It is also fortunate to have a loyal audience, with over half of the 25,000 annual attendees returning

year after year. The nine-acre waterfront park with its designated Heritage status is a wonderful venue for a craft show. Another difference is almost intangible - it is the attitude of the people who attend each year, the public who look forward to it with such pleasure and anticipation - they

expect to be dazzled, amazed, entertained, and so they come with a happy attitude which in itself ensures that the festival will be a great success.

And again, the brilliant work of the BC artists and craftspeople are the heart of the 'show'. They too come to the festival happy and exited, ready to have fun and sell their work, many of them have participated before so they know how magic the festival is and are anticipating it eagerly.

Q: How many years has the Filberg Festival been held? And how was the show started?

The Filberg Festival started in 1983 with only 9 or so artists. The continuing purpose of the event is to raise the funds necessary to operate, maintain, and repair the Heritage Park and Buildings of Filberg Lodge and Park. The property was left to the Vancouver Foundation by Robert Filberg,

and in 1979 a society was formed which negotiated the purchase of the property in conjunction with the Town of Comox so it could be available to the public.  I believe the Board of Directors consulted with other show organizers to learn what criteria they should establish.

Q: How do you find new exhibitors for your show?

Mostly through word of mouth. Crafters tell other artists, and the public spreads the word to crafters they meet as well, suggesting that their work would do well at our event. I advertise a "call for entry" in relevant publications as well as sending press releases all over the province. I ask for people to pick up business cards when they attend other shows, or see work that they think is interesting, and well made. When I get the opportunity I attend other craft shows and pick up business cards as well.

Q: You deal with many different crafters and have seen what works and what doesn't, can you comment on?

Good Display:

The booth should be attractive and inviting. Do not block the entrance - leave room for people to come inside. At our Festival the crowds can block the front of the booths. It is important to have some visual clue above the 6' level to attract people's eyes to your work.

Display tips:

I personally prefer a booth that does not appear cluttered with work. A display should be representative of your work but not display everything that you have for sale. If a customer is interested in a particular piece, the vendor will have the opportunity to mention that they have others in slightly different colours etc. A booth display should be visually stimulating, an artistic show in itself - not everyone is going to buy but they can still be impressed by your work. Hopefully they will be impressed enough to remember you when they do want to purchase something in your medium. Have lots of business cards or rack cards (with photos ) for people

to take home with them so they can call you after the show. Many of our vendors attribute 30% of their annual sales to contacts made at the Filberg Festival. 


Friendly, welcoming, interested in the customer - what do "they" want. Treat children with respect. I had a complaint from a 13 year old last year: "I asked to see one of the pieces and asked what the price was and was told that I couldn't afford it, then I was ignored." I must admit I was

shocked to hear that any vendor would be so rude not to mention short sighted as to treat an interested customer with such disrespect. 'Nuff said. 

Product Quality:

Only work you are completely happy with should be offered for sale. A friend of mine who is a potter uses a hammer to destroy pieces that are not up to standard - that way there is no temptation to plump up inventory with an inferior piece. Respect the public's intelligence - they are discerning shoppers, and the ones who may be ignorant about your particular medium

still deserve only the best work - they may be looking for a gift for who is a connoisseur. Our show has a reputation for excellence and it is important to me, that any piece purchased there be well made, aesthetically pleasing, and good value for the price asked. 

Q: When being juried for a new show what advice would you give?

I would always encourage people to submit the pieces that excite and please them, as artists and craftspeople. Also, read the show's criteria and comply - ask the coordinator questions to make sure you are clear about process. Take the time to send in the best submission you can put together, and do it in a timely way so you are not rushed. If you don't make it one year don't give up, keep trying.

Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Filberg Festival and enjoy the arts and the wonderful setting. Are you interested in exhibiting at the Filberg Festival? or e-mail: filberg@island.net 

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