Cool new vibe @ Brixton Market

25 05 2010

I recently wrote a piece on Brixton Market for the good people over at Unlabelled Britain’s Transatlanticism blog. I’m repasting it here, so read on, enjoy and get down to Brixton Market this weekend!

No matter how metropolitan or contemporary London can be, the Big Smoke is a market city at heart. You could spend an entire week in London only visiting the greatest markets and still not even scratch the surface of all the spiffy stalls spread out through the capital. I’ve been thoroughly exploring this city for three years now and consider myself a bit of a guru. I’ve been to all the big markets (or at least I thought), most of them multiple times.
Imagine my surprise as I stood outside of Brixton Market. I was planted in front of an Electronica duo blasting futuristic earthy grooves and jam-band beats using equipment powered by a group of bicycles ridden by members of the public. About 30 grungy but friendly late 20s types were gathered round in front drinking that refreshing mid-afternoon Saturday beer as the sun baked us all for the first time this year.  How could I have dismissed this place for so long?
I don’t know why I hadn’t yet made it down to Brixton Market, but now I want to make it a weekend ritual to visit this eclectic stretch of market stalls. It’s home to everything from Caribbean fruits and skin-care products to Latin American food products, African imports, shoe shops, trendy bakeries and art galleries intermixed with Russian bag stalls, and butchers, bakers and (go on, finish the sentence).
What finally prompted my trip as Brixton’s recently awarded Grade II listed status, which in the UK means that it is now a cultural landmark that can not be changed or torn-down.  The market preserves the multicultural heritage of the post-war Caribbean and African immigration to Brixton.
The 140 traders are spread out over the Outdoor market on Electric Avenue, and the indoor market made up of three arcades: Reliance Arcade, Market Row and Brixton Village (formerly Granville Arcade).
It was at the Brixton Village where I stood in awe at the creativity and cultural renaissance taking place here in 2010. As recently as 2009, many of the shops in the ‘Village’ stood empty until Spacemakers, an ‘empty shops project,’ filled twenty empty storefronts with entrepreneurs and artists, giving them the opportunity to use the shops rent-free for three months. The results is a Brixton Village that is creative, inspiring, hopeful and fresh – new start-ups are coming in all the time. Visitors never know what new bakery, restaurant, art or music they might come across.
Saturdays are the most lively days at Brixton Village, with pop-up performances, food tastings, gallery openings, and music throughout the arcade. Grab a cupcake, a beer, a new hat, and some seafood and plop right down to watch some groundbreaking music, all for free. Wear sensible shoes though, in case you’ve got to pedal for electricity.
Brixton Market is located at the end of the Victoria line.  When you get off, go left out of the station and then ‘You’re gonna rock down to”…Electric Avenue. More info at:



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