2017 Community Matters

What is Community Matters?

“Community Matters” is the section of the festival where non-profit organizations, social and human service agencies, schools, government units, and small businesses that  represent local entrepreneurs and/or social organizations interested in affirming values of cultural diversity and community vitality come together to share information and sell their products.  The companies that participate as Festival Sponsors are also usually granted space for reaching the public in this section of the festival.

The income TMY collects through this area of the festival helps pay for the FREE three-day event, including making direct payments to traditional artists to practice and pass on their art to new generations.

While the core focus of the festival are the traditional and heritage arts, we understand that “tradition” and “heritage” do not happen in a vacuum; the overall quality of life of a community is made up of many sectors.

Does TMY accept any applicant to Community Matters?

TMY evaluates every application for appropriateness and fit with TMY’s scope and mission.  We try to curate our best as best as we can according to the distinct character of our 44-year old event.

Submitting an application is NOT a guarantee of acceptance.

TMY applies an expansive definition of “community”; while 80% of the festival footprint is carefully curated for participation by traditional artists, we have created the Community Matters area to accommodate many “non-arts” and “non-traditional” partners who contribute to the well being of our community.

How many spaces are available and do I get to pick where I want to be located?

We are making approximately 60 “Community Matters” spaces available for exhibitors in 2017  (PLEASE NOTE: this year there are LESS spaces available than in 2016).

Community Matters applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Once your application is accepted we will mail you a map indicating the assignment of your space.

TMY staff is happy to consider placement choices, but cannot guarantee any space.

Once assigned a space, exhibitors and vendors are strictly forbidden from changing booths, switching places, or occupying spaces they considered un-occupied, without the prior approval of TMY staff. If you need to move, please ask first.

Do you give priority to some groups/businesses over others?

Each vendor/exhibitors must submit a new application each year; we don’t grandfather anyone and we don’t guarantee acceptance. The Community Matters spaces are allocated on a first-come/first-serve base, so a vendor who has participated in TMY for many years may be left out if they don’t submit their application promptly and we run out of spaces. There are a number of vendors/exhibitors who, having participated before and being in good standing, we will have no reason to deny participation simply to make room for others. But each year vendors/exhibitors face different circumstances: some return year after year, others don’t.

Our Festival Sponsors are investing in the event so we can offer it free of cost to the public. Festival Sponsors have a guaranteed space in Community Matters if they choose to be part of the event in this manner. Some spaces may be reserved for Sponsors only.

Do you provide storage and security on site for Community Matters vendors?

TMY cannot accommodate storage of large quantities of inventory on site. Vendors and exhibitors are free to store inventory in their booths, only to the extent that their booth space allows. Spilling over or outside your booth area is not allowed under any circumstances.

TMY provides security overnight for the entire festival area starting the Thursday night of the festival dates. However, we strongly recommend vendors take away at the end of each day those items they considered irreplaceable or too valuable to risk damage or loss. Each vendor is responsible for securing their own insurance for potential losses.

What are the hours of operations of the Community Matters area and if I want to stay at night, do I need to pay extra?

The Community Matters area opens and closes at the same time that the entire TMY festival does:  from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Friday and Saturday and from 11:00 AM to 6:00PM on Sunday.  There is no extra charge for any vendor/exhibitor who wishes to staff their booth through the night hours of the event.

If a vendor/exhibitor wishes to operate their booth at night they MUST indicate this in their application so TMY can plan to have lights installed at the booth. There will be no last-minute light additions during the event. Vendor/exhibitors are strictly forbidden from rigging their own lights. To achieve some savings and efficiency, TMY prefers to cluster booths that will be open and night (with lights) while leaving some other Community Matters areas dark during the night. For this reason, asking for lights may affect the placement of your booth in order to accommodate you within a Lighted cluster.

Load-in directions will be provided via email after acceptance of application.

Will my booth at Community Matters include electricity?

Lights and electricity are not the same. Community Matters booths do NOT come with Electricity.

The entire Power Distribution at TMY is done manually by technicians hired by TMY; it is the festival’s single largest expense.

A booth may have lights but may not be fixed with any devise to plug into.

Electricity can be provided at any booth upon request. There is a question in the application to declare this need. There is no extra charge, but folks need to ask for it in advance.

PLEASE BE AWARE:  TMY does not allow any amplified sound or use of microphones inside or outside Community Matters booths.

Do I need to bring my own canopy?

Yes.   TMY has amended its past policies; starting in 2017, TMY charges for the access and use of the SPACE only —- all vendors must bring their own canopy (8×8 to fit in a 10×10 space).  The vendor is also responsible for weighting the canopy down (40 lbs per leg, x 4 legs).  Community Matters vendors and exhibitors who have not weighted their canopies properly will not be allowed to operate the canopy until they comply with this requirement.

If a vendor is not able to provide their own canopy or their own weights you can pay an extra fee and TMY will provide it for you.

Does TMY offer any FREE space to groups working on good causes?

Yes, but our available inventory to offer free space or Charitable Waivers is very small. These charitable waivers are also offered on a first-come/first-serve basis. In the past these awards have gone to groups raising funds for injured veterans, homeless families or special social justice causes of wide community value.

Are there any other special rules or considerations anyone interested Community Matters should know about before submitting an application?

Yes. There are 6 points that are critically important:

1)    The use of Styrofoam products are strictly forbidden at TMY; we are a green event that composts and recycles –our rate of diversion of waste from the landfill averages 33 to 45%.

2)   Community Matters exhibits CANNOT sell or give away sodas or water bottles; these are sold by TMY to raise funds to provide the event FREE to the community.

3)      Anyone  planning to sell any type of fresh food or offer food samplings larger than 2 ounces needs to obtain a Temporary Food Permit from Pima County;

4)     It is the responsibility of the individual vendor/exhibitor to obtain a City of Tucson Business License if this is applicable to their business or operation

5)   There will be an added Processing Fee of $25 to anyone who wishes to pay with a credit card. We apologize for this inconvenience, but it is a cost the festival cannot absolve. There is no processing fee for paying with cash, check or money order.

6)   After notification of acceptance, an applicant must submit payment IN FULL within 7 days after hearing from TMY. Vendors/exhibitors who delay payment and do not abide by this timeline will forfeit their placement.

TMY always receives more applications for Community Matters than we have spaces available, so we maintain a Waiting List when we reach our maximum capacity. When an applicant who has been accepted fails to send their payment on time, we offer that space to the next applicant in the Waiting List.

I participated in the Community Matters area before but I have some concerns I would like to discuss before I fill out my application again this year. Who do I talk to about this?

We strive to provide the best service to our partners and community. Each year we conduct post-event surveys, so it is very likely we already made changes this year based on feedback we received in the past about things that didn’t go well.

TMY is a beloved event, attended by more than 120,000 people every year; we are community, grassroots and nonprofit. Sometimes things don’t go as well as we planned. We are always happy to hear feedback, learn and improve to the best of our ability.

By all means, if you have questions or concerns, send an email to tmyexhibitor@gmail.com and our staff will respond promptly.

The DEADLINE FOR COMMUNITY MATTERS APPLICATIONS is ongoing, on a first-come/first serve basis until all available spots are filled.


The prices below include:

  • a 10×10 space (PLEASE NOTE:  space does NOT include the canopy; each exhibitor provides their own canopy and weights)
  • lights for night display if indicated in the application 
  • electricity for plugging in devices if requested in the application
  • use of the space for all 3 days of the festival at all hours of operation

Not for Profit Exhibitors/Vendors:  $230 

Commercial/ For Profit Exhibitors/Vendors:  $380 

LARGE companies/corporations:   Please refer to Sponsorship options. The 2017 Sponsors Packet can be accessed here.


Cost for TMY providing 10×10 vinyl canopy: $100

Cost for TMY providing weights: $50


To fill out an application to participate in Community Matters, FILL OUT AN APPLICATION here.