Larry Normile set up his tattoo studio with all of the necessities on Thursday: sterile equipment, bright lights, aftercare products and snacks for customers.
Normile said festival organizers reached out to him about a month ago about setting up a tattoo shop on festival grounds. It would be the first time in the festival’s history.
“It would be the craziest thing if I said no,” Normile joked.
But after accepting the offer, the real work began.
It was a “restless” 30 days leading up to the festival, full of paperwork and inspections. Ultimately, the refitted storage container serving as Artistic Additions’ satellite location earned its government license.
And on Thursday, it opened its doors.
Having a streamlined, organized operation was important to Normile, and to the tattoo shop’s functioning — especially with the high amount of interest Normile said he’s seen, even on the festival’s notoriously slower first day.
Attendees interested in being tattooed could schedule a slot at the tattoo shop’s tent, which was set up by the cluster of non-profits nicknamed the Good Hub near the festival’s south entrance. Then, when it was their turn, festivalgoers chose from a set of more than 50 pre-drawn flash tattoo designs ranging from $100 to $200.
Many of the designs were Firefly-themed, from nature-inspired designs to band logos to camping gear. Normile said they were created by artists at his studio — yet another way he said the festival setup mirrors the “structured, organized, clean, sterile environment” of his brick-and-mortar shop.
“We’re professionals,” he said. “That’s what this is.”
He even built an outdoor waiting room with padded furniture, an overhang and a wide selection of fresh food and water.
The snacks — which Normile brought over in a truck from the nearby Produce Junction — are meant to keep customers as well as festival staff from feeling sick or “blah.” He also chose ones that wouldn’t spoil over the four-day festival: apples, bananas, grapes, berries and some vegetables.
While Normile recognizes some of the people he’s tattooed at the festival from Artistic Additions, many are unfamiliar. Some have even come from across the country.
“It’s a blast,” Normile said.
Four artists can safely tattoo at the same time on the festival site, which is stocked with the industry-grade tattooing supplies that Artistic Additions manufactures and sells. Those working at the festival include shop artists, apprentices and guests from other local tattoo studios like House of Ink.
By the end of the festival, Normile estimated the shop may tattoo over a thousand people.
Next year, he hopes to tattoo even more — and maybe start a new trend of professional tattooing at music festivals in the process.
“I want to set the standard for this industry,” he said. “This is just the start.”
Send story tips or ideas to Hannah Edelman at email@example.com. For more reporting, follow them on Twitter at @h_edelman.
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