The event made the change in part to get some distance from Freakfest.
Madison Print & Resist, formerly known as Madison Zine Fest, has really come into its own over the past few years. Zine Fest began in 2004, and over the years the fall event built up a strong one-day program of zinemakers, poster artists, and other exhibitors from across the print-making world, with an independent and politically radical bent. Then again, the event definitely skipped some years, and usually took place in a room tucked away in a campus library. In 2014, Print & Resist moved to the Central Library downtown, a change that put it in a more central location, offered more space for exhibitors, and helped the event branch out into workshops and installations. Zine Fest/Print & Resist generally happened close to or during the annual Wisconsin Book Festival (which the Madison Public Library now organizes), but the relationship between the two events has become more loose and informal over the years.
After two successful runs at the Central Library, Print & Resist skipped a year again in 2016. That’s because organizers decided to shift the event from its longtime fall timing to the spring, beginning with 2017’s event, on March 25 at the Central Library.
The library location made the event more central, but also brought it into conflict with the city’s annual downtown Halloween blowout, Freakfest. “We just felt the attendance would be better on a different day, and March was simply a better month for the organizers,” says co-organizer Camy Matthay. “It was earlier in the day [than Freakfest], but a number of people I know were always busy during the day getting costumes ready for the evening event.”
So far Matthay doesn’t think that Print & Resist will lose much by moving its date away from the Wisconsin Book Festival. “We’ve got a lot exhibitors from previous years who will be back, e.g., Susan Simensky-Bietila/WW3, Illustrated, Polka Press! Collective, King-Cat Comics/John Porcelino, Spooky Boobs, Artwrite Collective… and others,” she says. “Last year we had about 35 exhibitors, and it’s possible that we could have more than a dozen more.” Matthay says she’s also seeing more exhibitor applications come in from outside of Wisconsin, especially from Chicago.
This year’s event will also be structured a bit differently in how it parcels up space among different exhibitors. Organizers will place additional emphasis on collectives and distribution outlets, and people with smaller amounts of zines or posters are able to apply for space at community tables. Matthay also says Artworking, a Madison nonprofit that mentors artists with cognitive disabilities, will have a greater role this year.
Matthay says it’s likely that Print & Resist will remain a spring event for the long term. The deadline for exhibitor applications for this year’s event is Feb. 15, but Matthay says organizers may be able to include some stragglers.