A bear market in Perth

MANDI PARKER has been running markets around Perth for more than 10 years, but says lately the scene has become over-saturated as every fundraiser and their dog thinks it’ll be easy to casually throw one together. Sometimes there are up to six markets running on the same weekend. In this week’s SPEAKER’S CORNER Ms Parker argues the result is cowboy operators with no experience, no insurance, and stallholders finding it ever harder to make a quid as the crowds get spread out.

ASK anyone who has been running markets for the past 10 years and they have the same question — what is going on in Perth?

How much is too much?

Since when did everyone become a market coordinator?

At Barefoot we run all kinds of events, all over Perth, but our roots were in running 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.

I appreciate we must all start somewhere, but if you are functioning like a business, then register your business.

• Successful markets run by Mandi Parker in Perth. Photos supplied

If you are not-for-profit, then register as not-for-profit.

If you’re not either of these then you should very well reconsider whether a market’s a good idea.

Over the past two years we have gone from one or two markets a weekend to — I  kid you not — 27 just in February.

There is not just one in an area but four or five running at any given time right now.

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 registered events business or a not-for-profit, 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.

I had a conversation the other night with a lady who had started a new market that was due to run the very next day.

She said: “I don’t need event insurance if my stall holders have insurance!”

Are you for real?

I hung up on this lady after she called me a bitch because I questioned how many events she had run and 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: 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, but wouldn’t it be better to attend maybe four well -run, well-coordinated markets from coordinators who have the skills and knowhow 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.

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.


Organisers have certainly noticed the downturn in stallholder numbers: once upon a time, 100 stall holders per event were easy and the norm.

Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the stallholders is now 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.

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