How much is too much? – Perth Markets Overload

Okay, this blog is one where if you are easily offended please don’t read on. This is something I’m very passionate about!

Ask anyone who has been running markets for the past 10years. What is going on in Perth?

How much is too much? Since when did everyone become a market coordinator?

Now, we at Barefoot run all kinds of events all over Perth but our roots started by running markets. Successful markets north and south of the river. Once upon a time,  when I had an event booked. I could look at the calendar to see what was running and when. Easily picking a weekend where there were no other markets. This is not the case today.

 To be brutally honest, if one more person calls me asking for advice on how to open their own market, I will scream! The last person that called I hung up on when the line “oh why do I need insurance,” came out their mouth.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit I do not have any formal training. I didn’t go to university to get the piece of paper that says ‘yes you can run events,’ because it takes a lot more than that. What I do have is over 10 years experience. I started in side show alley when I was 18, and did the hard yards, made mistakes, got it right and failed a few more times along the way. I had to do my own research and learn hard and fast.  I didn’t have anyone to just call. I appreciate we all must start somewhere, but if you are functioning like a business, then register your business. If you are non-for-profit, then register as non-for-profit. If you’re not either of these then you should very well reconsider.


 What is going on in Perth? We have gone from markets which drew amazing crowds of 4000 people on a quiet night right up to 11000 plus. Going to a market, day or night, was a family time that you could enjoy and the kids could have fun. It was different and almost a novelty as the ones that were run in Perth were well-coordinated and mostly kept on a weekend. There was not another market running. We have over the past two years gone from one or two a weekend to and I state, I shit you not, 27 just in February. That is six almost every weekend! These were the ones I found: let alone the ones of which are badly advertised.

You must ask why do people start a market for any reason at all. Why do people think: “easy money let’s start a market! Fundraising? Let’s have a market! School festival? Let’s have a market! Sports club? Let’s have a market!” The list goes on and on. There is not just one in an area but four or five running at any given time right now.

The shire permits need to be looked at more closely. How many shires are approving multiple markets, let alone in the same shire on the same weekends? If you are not a non-for-profit or a registered events business, I’m sorry but you should not be running events. We have regulations we must comply to and if you don’t know what they are, then you should not be running these events at all. Don’t call me or any business and ask. We will tell you all the same. Why would we tell you when we have our own businesses to run?Markets

Now let me tell you straight if you are in it for the money.

Number 1: You will not succeed and there is no money in the hours after hours of work we do.

Number 2: You cannot just open a market without insurances! Trust me lots of them do. Permits for the shire, permits for music, permits for Sunday trading. Permits, permits, permits! Understand this completely or you can and will be sued, and lose everything if you go in blind.

I had a conversation the other night with a lady of which I will not disclose. She had started a new market that was due to run the very next day. I quote she said, “I don’t need event insurance if my stall holders have insurance!” WTF!  Are you for real? I hung up on this lady after she called me a bitch because I questioned her on how many events she had run or what experience she had. These kind of markets are giving us event coordinators a bad name!

Stallholders, I have some friendly advice for you also. Please, please, please, if it’s a coordinator you do not know or have not heard of, please ask what experience they have. Ask to see their public liability. We ask to see yours, so ask to see ours. Ask about what advertising they do. Any real coordinator will happily tell you this information because we have nothing to hide. I understand you are all feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, I 100% understand, but wouldn’t it be better to attend maybe 4 well run well-coordinated markets from coordinators who have the skills and no how to put together a successful market, rather than attend every market you can get your hands on? I am sure this costs you more in the long run.Markets

I watch the comments on the Facebook pages, from people posting “I’m opening a new market,” to “I’m thinking of opening a new market, anyone interested if I open a market here, there, everywhere?”. Then I see stallholder after stallholder post “yes please yes, yes, yes!” Guys ask questions! The more markets the more spread out the crowds and stall holders become. It’s affecting all markets right across Perth.

If the market is offering customers something different they will not go out of their way to attend because they can go to another one the very next day. You must have noticed the decrease in crowd numbers, as the crowds are now spread over many markets in one weekend. We, as organisers, have certainly seen the turn in stallholder numbers. When once upon a time, 100 stall holders per event were easy and the norm. I am wondering now if this is why concerts, themed events and festivals now regularly running have become so popular and drawing larger crowds. Is Perth sick of urge overkill?

Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the amazing stallholders now is fantastic. I just ask you to do a little research before attending an event, please.

I take pride in how much blood sweat and tears goes into our events. We put hours of work and love into what we do. Our staff work incredibly hard to make our events come to life. Please remember this. It shows in the events and markets that are run by passionate coordinators.


 Mandi, I did the hard yards, I love my job, Parker

No Comments

Post A Comment