People’s Fair

Last week it was a stunning crisp autumn day and I was off for my first visit to The Piece Hall in Halifax. I was pretty excited because the buzz around this place has been huge. It wasn’t just to discover this new jewel in Yorkshire’s crown as it was also host to The People’s Fair, a culmination of an arts project in the Calder Valley called Landlines and Watermarks, a response to the 2015 floods.

I interviewed the brilliant Alan Dix of 509 Arts about this recently and so I was interested to see it all for myself.

It was ace.

The Piece Hall itself is stunning and screams potential for all sorts of events and creativity. Even if there isn’t anything specific on, it’s worth a look. There are shops springing up everywhere and none of your chain store stuff either, quirky shops, book shops, clothes shops and all sorts of other things. There are still a lot of empty units so I can only hope that this will go from strength to strength and make it a proper destination. It would be a lovely life to have a little shop in this bubble.

The People’s Fair was in the middle of all this and had six artistic commissions from flood hit towns (for more information, you’ll have to read my article, link below). The Sowerby Bridge Goose (above) was excellent, really ingenious stuff with water cannons and morris dancers.

There was also a very good market of local produce although it has to be said, there are only so many greetings cards you can buy. It would be good to have a bit more of a mix if something like this is repeated.

It’s great to see a community coming out in support of such an event and they came out in droves with the street food sellers doing a roaring trade and the kids loved the freedom to wander around and sample different foods and watch the entertainment.

Let’s hope The Piece Hall goes from strength to strength with these events.

For my interview with Alan Dix, please click here





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