Saturday, 19 September 2015

Saltaire Festival 2015


Another day in the busy life of Roberts Park, which has become the main arena for the music on the second weekend of Saltaire Festival. The event has outgrown the small carpark in the centre of Saltaire, which used to hold the stage (and I am pretty sure local residents are relieved that some of the focus has moved to the park). Sunshine brought large crowds to listen and there was plenty available to drink and eat in the park itself, as well as up in the village where there is a three day continental market, with vast numbers of food stalls selling everything from paella to churros. The village itself is not devoid of music either. Caroline's (club) has an outdoor stage and there are various buskers around too. Add to that the Vintage Fair in the Victoria Hall, the fire station open day and a classic car show at the local garage and there is plenty going on.

I have a love-hate relationship these days with the Festival. Unlike the rather more sedate Arts Trail earlier in the year, the Festival is a noisy and brash event (the second weekend anyway). It is good to see so many people enjoying themselves but it seems a bit of a myth that it benefits the village, as people tend to spend their money in the Festival tents and the special markets rather than the local shops. Indeed, I noted that one of the main gift shops has closed for the weekend, citing the unbearable amount of shoplifting they have suffered at the Festival in previous years. Add to that the traffic and parking chaos and can get a bit miserable for us locals. Streets around where I live are packed with transit vans belonging to the market traders. This year there has been a huge HGV parked right outside my house for three days and nights. I have learned never to move my car over the weekend because once you do you can't find another parking space within within a mile or so. So I feel a bit 'bah-humbug' about it all!

3 comments:

  1. Asheville had a similar big festival for years and as it grew steadily larger and rowdier, the residents and shop owners grew to despise it. It was finally discontinued.

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    1. That's interesting. I have a feeling the same could happen here over time. You've got to keep the host community happy, as well as the visitors. I hear more and more grumbles...

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  2. Interesting observation about the effect on the local shops. Naples has arts shows or crafts fairs many winter weekends, right on the main street, and I notice a lot of people going into the stores. This winter I will spend more time observing the effect.

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