I'm an inner-city rambler who's happy to share my best finds with you. Subscribe to my articles to read interesting things and possibly win excellent stuff.
Published January 23rd 2012
Update November 27th 2013
The last West End Twilight Market for 2013 will be held on 7 December. This will also be the last one at the current venue, and, as the markets currently have no new home to go to, the last one full stop -- unless they find a new home in 2014.
Update February 12th 2013
Just noticed on the markets' website that they are now operating only on the fourth Saturday of the month. Next market is 23 February 2012.
Back in November, I wrote an advance piece about the opening of the new twilight markets at West End. The markets ran for a little while, then took a Christmas break. When they reopened last Saturday for 2012, I was there for my first visit, ready to sample their delights. And delightful they were, with the markets living up to their promise of eclectic 'treasures, tucker and performance'.
In the treasures category, I found plenty of retro and indie fashion, including the gorgeous vintage-inspired stylings of local label Alice Nightingale (designed by Alice Veivers). I also spotted vintage kids' clothes in mint condition for very reasonable prices, and stalls selling t-shirts, jewellery and smooth vinyl of the musical variety.
I tried the prawn dumpling and the tofu and ginger dumpling and they were both sensational -- among the best I've had, and far better than those sold in a lot of over-hyped restaurants. The prawn was fat and succulent, the tofu beautifully gingery. I can't remember exactly how much they were (sorry, I was enjoying myself instead of writing down the details), but not a lot. I'll be heading back to try more varieties next time I'm at the market.
After this, I considered trying a vegan hotdog from Hellhound Hotdogs (worth it just for the cool cart), an oven-fresh pizza or grabbing a bag of just-made popcorn for $2. But I decided to front up at Kate's Vegetarian Food stall instead.
Kate sells beautiful salads and the like for $10 for a noodle-box full. I couldn't eat that much, though, so I asked for a smaller helping and she happily agreed. I tried a couple of bean salads and some fresh hommus and the food was every bit as good as the dumplings. Fresh, crunchy, healthy, tasty, and less than $5. Another stall to go back to.
About this time, I spotted the performance part of the market getting going, so I wandered up to take a seat. John Meyer (of Brisbane band The Good Ship) was the first performer for the day (each market features a couple of acts). He delivered a solo performance that was tuneful and mellow and just right for 5pm on a summer afternoon. While he was playing, I bumped into friends who were visiting the markets with their kids, and it was great to see that the music was also accessible and not scary-loud for little ears.
I stayed for most of the set, then did a last wander round, checking out the solar-panel stall and the Just Earth stall, which is based on fair-trade principles. This is the place where you can buy very groovy sneakers (and other things) that are produced in an ethical way, free from sweatshop labour and environmental harm.
I had other places to be, so I headed off into the evening. But I really could have whiled away at least another hour at the markets - listening, chatting, browsing and chewing. I think that they really are different from a lot of the markets that dot Brisbane - more laid-back, more local, more ethical, more interesting. And the quality of the performers you can hear for free is fantastic. (Check the markets' 'What's On' page for who's playing each week.)
While the markets' setting (in a big old building that functions as a car-park during the week) isn't the most inspiring location, it doesn't matter, really. As the local folks who organise them say, these markets are a present for the community, with love. And I think it shows.
PS: Oh, and I nearly forgot to say, there's also an area at the markets where kids can play and do low-key creative crafty-type things.
Hey folks, a quick update: with the bad weather predicted for this weekend, Scotty from the twilight markets has just told us that the markets won't be held this Saturday 28 January. But they should be back the following week -- 4 February.