Walsall Night Market
Thursday, 28th March 2013
Following the success of the Walsall Night Market in October 2012, it is making a welcome return on Thursday 28th March 2013, 5pm- 9pm
Located in the retail heart of the town, Walsall Night Market will take centre stage on The Bridge/Digbeth home to the famous Hippo.
With live music, street food, unusual gifts, street theatre and a whole host of great traders we want to make Walsall Night Market a destination event.
Since October we have been working hard to make March’s event bigger and better with the release of more stalls, a licensed bar and new live entertainment.
The Walsall Night Market has recently been awarded
NABMA Market Of The Year 2013 – Best Speciality Market
which we are very pleased about.
For those of you who didn’t make it to Octobers Night Market you can see a promo video here:
Walsall Night Market on Vimeo
Come on people get out there and support this event, once again they are going to be unlucky with the weather, but at least it looks like being dry, anyhow there’s plenty of food stalls to warm you up.
Should be a fab evening.
What is the parking like?
Free parking in all council car parks from 3:00pm. Nearest council carparks to the event are Dudley Street (next to the Mercedes Benz Garage) and Intown Row (next to Morrisions) More info here: http://cms.walsall.gov.uk/index/transport_and_streets/motor_vehicles_roads_and_parking/parking_services/car_parks.htm hope that helps.
I’ve got a bit of a problem with this Night Market malarkey, if I’m honest.
I saw at least a dozen people in the town clearing snow and gritting today (Thursday) in preparation for the night market. They had a couple of tractors, a couple of truckloads of grit and they were working really hard.
Thing is, why weren’t they out doing this earlier in the week so the town centre was clear and safe all week?
That way, the regular market traders would have benefitted. And, let’s face it, the regular market traders are the ones who are here week in, week out and who probably deserve the help & support because they’re the ones who will be ‘adding character’ next week and the week after.
Secondly, I saw the story that traders ‘from as far afield as London’ were apparently coming here. That’s a nice but if you think it through it isn’t brilliant for the town.
Imagine you’re a trader from that London, setting out for some gimmicky market up north…you fill your van with diesel (in London), you get in extra stock (from your cash & carry in London), you drive up north a bit, set up your stall and sell your goodies.
You fill your pockets with their money and take it down the motorway with you, back to that London. Repeat the process next time the suckers invite you.
Net benefit to the town is roughly … nil.
It has cost a fortune to stage this event and much of the money spent by visitors has gone out of the region.
Thirdly, local traders have been screaming at the council for ages to reduce parking charges to encourage shoppers.
“No way”, say our leaders, “Income targets, budgets, blah blah blah, bullshit, bollocks, bollocks.”
But when it’s a council idea to have free parking to encourage shoppers to visit an infrequent event that takes money out of the borough, then “Great! let’s do it. Let’s show how we’re supporting local businesses.”
Fourthly, our town centre team has set a precedent now – they’ve proved that free parking will bring people into the town centre and they’ve shown they’ve got the manpower and equipment resources to clear snow and ice from a district centre.
What will they say next time someone asks the council to drop parking charges to help local businesses and what will they say next time it snows and we ask them to clear the district shopping centres so that struggling shops and businesses stand some chance of keeping going?
I’m afraid I think this is up there with the dim-wittedness of processing our waste in Leicester instead of at the BIffa plant in Aldridge or getting a company from Manchester to install the graphics on the wall by Wilko’s.
It’s all about doing something high profile and glitzy which gives the impression of dynamism and action but sadly,on closer scrutiny (what does that word mean again?), it’s another example of a half-decent idea badly executed by fuckwits who haven’t got the brains to think it through.
Sorry, I rather enjoy them.
What have the Romans ever done for us, eh?
Right. Now I’m not absolutely exhausted.
This was a great event, the type of which Walsall needs badly.
In the protracted, sub-Peter Rhodes why-oh-why whinge, you take aim at any passing traffic and call folk who worked bloody hard to organise something ‘Fuckwits’.
Local businesses like Slow Loaf, DIY Curry Kits, Hungry Toad, Tan Rosie, and even Big Tasties – the piggery near the A5 in Brownhills – had a chance to exhibit and sell their fine produce. Which they did, in shedloads (Thoe sausages – from pigs what died happy – are ace).
So, in a nutshell, I think this is a fine thing – some aspects need improvement, and more of the town needs involving.But a good start.
Even local musicians got a free gig.
To be so plain nasty to folk trying to do something positive doesn’t exactly stink of class, to be honest.
Would have expected better from you.
I parked on the council’s multi-storey car park on St Paul’s Street. I arrived at around 5.50pm. It was virtually empty, apart from cars belonging to permit holders on the upper floors. I left an hour or so later and it was still virtually empty.
I’ll own up at the start of this and declare that i am involved in the planning and operating of the Walsall Night Market.
The Night Market event was first discussed early part of last year when we applied to be a Portas Pilot Town. You are probably aware that we were unsuccessful in receiving that funding but decided to go ahead with a Night Market anyway for the following reasons:
1. Boost footfall between the down time of 5pm-9pm. Our traders and Night Time economy especially tell us that footfall is low between 5pm-9pm, The Night Market bridges that gap to retain shoppers in the town centre and then move some of them onto our pubs and restaurants after. We allow any town centre businesses to promote themselves during the event and on Thursday Night Market Revolution, WS1 & Yates were all out promoting menus and offers.
2. Walsall is a safe place after dark. Theres no denying that people police people and this would reflect in the fact that there has been no reported major incidents at either of the two Night Market events. Walsall struggles to dispel the myth that its a no go zone after 6pm but to see mum, dad and two children in the town centre swaying to the live music and eating an artisan toastie at 8pm tells me that we have ticked the box on this occasion.
3. Showcase cottage industry and crafters to give them a High Street presence. Many of those who trade class it as either a hobby or trade online only. We wanted to encourage these traders to showcase their wares in the hope in the long term they would build a good business base and then seek to move into retailing on a full time basis, even moving into one of our vacant units in the town centre. Great news on Thursday night was that one trader asked about our Innovation Fund as they feel they are ready to take on a shop unit full time. This is exactly what the Night Market is about.
4. Highlight what Walsall Town Centre has to offer. We still have a long way to go to keep our ‘bricks and mortar’ traders open alongside the Night Market but we know some of those who attend the Night Market don’t regularly visit the town centre. At Octobers event one business that did stay open saw his trade that evening take a huge boost with members of the public passing his store on the way to the market and saying they were not aware his shop was here in the town centre, since they have been back when the market hasn’t been on.
I can tell you that of those who traded on Thursday 33 of them were from Walsall, 22 from the rest of the West Midlands, 4 from Warwickshire and the others from such places as Kidderminister and of course London. We attracted some traders out of their town centre shops and onto the market and a trader from the daytime Walsall market as well. We try and do everything we can in house when operating any event and this includes the Night Market and of those contractors we have used to support the Night Market have been sourced locally.
I am unable to comment on the uptake on parking until next week, what i can say is that when we offered free parking during the christmas period last year we did not see an increase in usage. Parking in council carparks is now £3.00 all day, matched by private operators such as NCP on Station Street and Old Square. Free parking can now be found on streets such as Ablewell Street where pay and display has been removed.
The Night Market in Walsall has received a lot of good press and interest from other councils across the UK around its operation. Its a nice position to be in but even better its a much needed boost for the town centre overall.
I see the enormous cost of this event was less than £4,500, from a FOI request submitted by Martin himself last Friday.
This appears to exclude the fees raised by stall leases.
Now, having seen page 2 (not coming through on the phone) £3,512 was raised in income. So for less than a grand, Walsall got a cracking event. Bargin.
Looking forward to the next one
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