New 'celebration markets' to hit east Suffolk towns with 'mini-festival' feel


The Thoroughfare in Halesworth. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Live music and DJs will be showcased alongside a range of street performances, workshops, locally-sourced food and drink and children’s activities as four East Suffolk towns host festival-style markets.

A series of new 'celebration markets' - all incorporating a mini-festival feel - are to be piloted.

With the First Light Festival Community Interest Company (CIC) working with market towns across East Suffolk on a new town's celebration initiative, the Market Place project will deliver the new markets.

Funded through the ERDF Welcome Back Fund supported by the council, events will start in Saxmundham on December 3, with further markets to be held in Halesworth, Leiston and Beccles in 2022.


Beccles sign. - Credit: Archant

Each of the markets will be specific and original to the towns, reflecting stand-out businesses and key characteristics.

The markets will be family-orientated and have a celebratory atmosphere with the aim of creating a mini festival feel to attract local, as well as out-of-season, visitors.

As well as these events, First Light will also deliver a consultancy package of support to advise another four towns - including Lowestoft.

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They will discuss best practice for event development, undertake a feasibility study to assess the types of events that each of the towns can support and what marketing could help to encourage greater footfall into the centres to support their recovery.

From this analysis, the consultancy package will offer each town a face-to-face masterclass with Wayne Hemingway, First Light C.I.C. Director and co-founder of HemingwayDesign Design Studio.

Lowestoft town centre.

Lowestoft town centre. - Credit: Mick Howes

The towns taking part in the consultancy package during phase one are Bungay, Felixstowe, Framlingham and Lowestoft.

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Mr Hemingway said: “So often the market towns of East Suffolk are overlooked by visitors.

"But all of these towns have something unique to offer – vibrant independent shops, a thriving arts scene and local, artisan food and drink producers for example.

"We’re really pleased to be involved in such an exciting project which will contribute to the recovery of these high streets by encouraging visitors from the local area as well as further afield.”

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development said: “East Suffolk is fortunate to have an array of distinctive market towns and this programme of events will highlight everything they have to offer.”

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development

Craig Rivett, East Suffolk Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economic development. - Credit: Mick Howes