If there was a competition to find the place that had more markets than anywhere else, I reckon Walthamstow would win first prize. The daily market on the High Street, Wood Street Indoor Market, Designers Market, Village Market and the Georgian Village, the list goes on. Not that I’m complaining of course, I love a good market, which is something I probably got from my Gran who was an avid car booter. As of last week, another market has joined the ranks, this one is called Night Feast, and takes place on Friday evenings on the Town Square. This is not to be confused with the Night Market which operated on Thursday evenings on the Town Square. That venture fizzled out and Night Feast has risen from the ashes to replace it. The new street market opened on the first day of the Olympics, but as I was away with work I missed it, so I popped along this Friday to check it out.
The ideas behind the new and old night markets are similar, but Night Feast feels different to its predecessor, and different in a good way. The old market opened in the Autumn/Winter, and unfortunately it seemed to rain every time the market set up. Sunshine makes a world of difference, and the two first outings for Night Feast have been blessed with the warm evening sun of August. There’s no doubt of course that outside events like this are much better attended, and therefore work much better if they have good weather, but weather isn’t the only factor. The organisers of Night Feast have taken a very different approach to Street Concepts, the team from Brixton behind the old market. This time around, the organisers are much more engaged with Walthamstow, and that makes the market seem like part of E17 instead of something that parachutes in from somewhere else.
So what is Night Feast? Well as you would expect from an event that contains the word Feast, food features heavily. On Friday the food stalls included a wild game BBQ, which was selling kangaroo and crocodile, Sushi burgers from Sticky Bundits, Brazilian churros, sea food and burritos. Booze was also in good supply, there was a Wildcard Brewery stall, iced cocktails and a stall selling wine and prosecco. Happily, Night Feast also managed to deliver more than just food and drink stalls, which the previous night market struggled with. This Friday there was local art work for sale, face painting, and a stall selling hand made soap. In the centre of all the stalls, the organisers had put out artificial grass and deck chairs, and there were hammocks up near the big screen. I thought the layout of the site worked really well, there was a good mix of stalls, and the right combination of places to sit, places for kids and families to play, and spots for adults to sit and have a drink.
When plans for the first night market were announced I thought it sounded like a good idea, and although that first one didn’t work, I still think this could become a really exciting part of Walthamstow life. Like the market before it, Night Feast will need our support in order to survive, but I think the East London based organisers will be much better at getting and keeping that support. This is a cracking event, and being so close to central station, it’s ideal for a post work drink and a bite to eat. Whilst there may be more markets in Walthamstow than you can shake a stick at, Night Feast, being an evening event, is something slightly different. It runs on Town Square between 5-10 on Fridays, and is well worth a visit.