I went out to the new Night Market last night, and I was generally disappointed with the experience. First off, it was a 26 minute wait in line to get into the event. Then, there is no information available as to what is happening or which vendors are where once you get inside. As I thought about it overnight, I was wondering if we Winnipeggers were being played, and aiding in this. However, before I discuss that, a few good things about the Night Market.
On the food side of things, the food trucks and tents did a great job of feeding the people. It was good to see new companies such as Joy Coffee Company, I had their iced coffee with Whipped Cream, quite enjoyable. Vinnie’s, where I tried the Tandoori Chicken.
I didn’t get to try Bongman’s, which appears to be some sort of street food. I did however enjoy a fresh roasted and made cup of Ethiopian Coffee.
This brings me to my second problem with the evening. There is no information available about the vendors available anywhere, other than on their tents and marquees.
Now, it would be easy to put this down to first time oversights, except the market organizers did absolutely nothing to make this market a memorable experience. Plus, while it is their first attempt in Winnipeg, they have run them in other cities, and according to their Facebook page, run them quite successfully.
So, you would think they would have known to have more than two ticket gates. You would think they would add a few portable toilets. There was no one going around to make sure things were kept clean. The tables in the beer garden were quite dirty.There was no one associated with the event that one could go up to and get information from.
While the young woman who sang while I was there did a reasonably good job, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t hear at either Vinyl Revival or Strong Badger Coffee. In fact a little effort on the part of the organizers to contact either place could have provided the evening with more and better entertainment.
This brings me to the $5.00 admisssion fee. Granted it’s not all that much, but events such as Third + Bird, and Scattered Seeds work to support people and projects that struggle to raise money on their own. For all the Night Market advertised itself as supporting local, there is no indication that the admission fees do anything other than line the pockets of the owners out in Calgary and Toronto. Also, for all the money coming in, when it came to spend money to make the evening better, such as paying Transit for bus service, they didn’t seem willing to spend a dime. Same goes for assuring a quality lineup for the stage.
Which brings back to the point of feeling like a mark. The whole evening feels like something that was organized by members of the Harold Hill school of business, and that we have fallen for the sizzle: hook, line, and sinker. Sadly there is no substance to it. We have allowed ourselves to be led into believing that why we be getting a cool, European, Market, and we got a pale imitation of one instead.
Perhaps the lesson of the Night Market, is we shouldn’t try so hard to be another city. Because, if we put together a Winnipeg based and Winnipeg run Night Market, we would surely put last night’s market to shame.
Now, maybe I’m wrong about all this, and the organizers were just overwhelmed. However, one other thing that has me feeling the way I do, is that the organizers have made no attempt to reach out to the people of Winnipeg. No, sorry for the lineups. Sorry we weren’t able to provide better information, or entertainment. All we’re getting is radio silence.