After almost 2 years of campaigning, The Guild (Dumfries) CIC have finally been given the go-ahead for our longed for monthly street market festival. Our perseverance and determination has paid off after playing a part in influencing Dumfries and Galloway Council to review the way it currently awards the Market Operators License. We are absolutely overjoyed that we can finally start making plans and make it happen!
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. The Guild Dumfries set a precedent when we made our application for a market licence back in April last year as it was the first time anyone had applied for the same day and location for a market in Dumfries town centre on a Saturday.
In November 2018, the Nith Area Committee agreed to review the process and examine the procedure for awarding the license and its selection criteria for the Saturday Market. They then conducted a consultation process with retailers and local businesses to establish criteria for the competitive process. In an advert in the local press in June 2019, Dumfries and Galloway Council invited expressions of interest from new or existing Market Operators wanting to run a town centre market.
We submitted a 48 page proposal to Dumfries and Galloway Council back in September this year in response to the advert and a set of questions we were required to answer. We outlined in detail, our plans and vision for Dumfries Market Festival, including research and our community engagement. 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 Dumfries are lead partners and delivering this year’s Christmas Festival and Lights Switch On event on Sunday 1st December. 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 Dumfries 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.
We will create a micro 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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