Dumfries Makers Market Festival Gets The Green Light

After almost 2 years of campaigning, The Guild (Dumfries) CIC have finally been given the go-ahead for their longed for monthly street market festival. Their perseverance has paid off after persuading Dumfries and Galloway Council to review the way it currently awards the Market Operators License.

Director, Kirsten Scott explains, “For the last 15 years, the current town centre market has been run by the same company. The license was simply renewed every 3 years without an open, transparent and criteria driven selection process. This meant that the opportunity to run a market in the town centre has never been advertised or offered out to tender, resulting in a monopoly situation which is in breach of the Competition and Markets Authority guidelines.” In January, the Nith Area Committee agreed to review the process and examine the procedure for awarding the license and in June, Dumfries and Galloway Council invited expressions of interest from new or existing Market Operators wanting to run a town centre market.

Director, Leah Halliday adds “We submitted a 48 page proposal to Dumfries and Galloway Council back in September, outlining in detail, our vision for Dumfries Market Festival. The two Makers Markets that we delivered at last year’s Christmas Lights Switch On and Big Burns Supper, were just a taste of what we envisaged our monthly street market to look like. Both markets gave us the opportunity to build partnerships, nurture our relationships with a community of makers and provide us with valuable experience and feedback, to allow us to look at other ideas, develop projects and possibilities.”

The Guild Dumfries were given the opportunity to run last year’s Christmas Makers Market at the lights switch on event. Despite the pouring rain, crowds flocked to the market and it was a resounding success. Since then, they have produced another hugely popular market at this year’s Big Burns Supper plus a Pop Up Shop in the Loreburne Shopping Centre, which saw up to 1000 delighted visitors each day during the two weeks of trading at the beginning of August. The Guild are also producing this year’s Christmas Festival and Lights Switch On event on Sunday 1st December and it promises to be a festive extravaganza, complete with Santa’s Reindeer, horse and carriage rides, D-Lux light show, music, entertainment and over 35 market stalls and street food vendors.

The Guild will launch Dumfries Market Festival, their monthly curated street market festival on Saturday 14th March 2020 and this will continue on the second Saturday of each month through to November. They promise not only a curated market selling beautifully crafted products from local artists, makers and producers, but a whole host of activities to bring life back to the town centre.

Kirsten explains, “We will create a mini festival in one day, making Dumfries a destination for the community and visitors to enjoy. Entertainment, music, street theatre, hands on workshops and demonstrations will add to the festival atmosphere and bring a real sense of pride back to our town centre. We are absolutely elated with the council’s decision to grant us the go-ahead and would like to thank the public for their support and encouragement. This is just the beginning!”

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