Once you have registered your venue to take part in the Artists Open Houses festival, you will be sent contact details for your local Trail Contact so that you will be able to join a local trail, should you choose. The Trail Contact will be able to let you know their trail’s joining criteria and keep you updated of any trail meetings. Trail Contacts will also inform you of the collection point where you can collect your allocation of AOH brochures and leaflets in the weeks before the festival starts.
Many people like to join a trail as it can be helpful and stimulating to share information and ideas with other trail members. If you are opening your house for the first time, it can be useful to receive some advice from veterans. Trail meetings provide an opportunity for trail members to discuss issues and prompt one another as deadlines approach. Each trail has a different way of working, but most provide a good degree of support for new members.
You are also likely to receive more visitors if you are a part of a trail. Many visitors like to follow a designated trail route and enjoy the identity and presence of a trail.
However, joining a trail is by no means obligatory and if you prefer not to, or if there is no trail in your area, or your local trail is not taking new members, you can always register your open house as an Independent venue (contact email@example.com if you need more information on this).
Trails operate autonomously, setting their own membership criteria and joining fees (which are used to promote the trail and are not paid to AOH). Although the AOH ethos of inclusivity is strongly encouraged, it is each trail’s ultimate decision as to who may and may not join their trail, when they close membership to new members, and if and how much they charge as an annual membership fee. One or two trails may ask to inspect your house or ask you to undertake a probationary year before joining their trail. Some trails charge no fee and the majority have no membership conditions.
Each trail nominates one or two Trail Contacts, who are the initial point of contact for new members wanting to join a trail – their contact details can be found on the ‘contacts’ page of the AOH website here
See a map of trail areas here (as a guide only – some trails overlap)