Awards success for Derby Market Place

Awards success for Derby Market Place

The partnership behind Derby Market Place has scooped the Excellence in Collaboration award in the Derbyshire Business Awards, organised by East Midlands Chamber.

The title recognises the teamwork which turned an idea into a bright, welcoming and fully operational outdoor dining area in just four weeks in the summer of 2020.

Alfresco dining at Derby Market Place began in response to the Covid pandemic, to make people feel confident about returning to the city centre, while providing an opportunity for hospitality businesses to continue trading when Government restrictions prevented them from opening their own premises.

It brought the public and private sectors together to transform the site. The award celebrates the partnership between project co-ordinators Visit Derby, Derby City Council’s tourism team; Derby LIVE, the Council’s arts and events team, which operates the venue; Derby-based company Katapult which specialises in designing themed attractions and created the award-winning bright and vibrant Derby Market Place experience; inward investment agency Marketing Derby, and Phi Advisory, which built the collaboration.

As Government restrictions eased, the venue began to host events as well as dining. Smooth Radio came on board as media partner in December 2020 for Festive Derby, when the space was transformed into a Christmas market, and this partnership has continued since the relaunch of alfresco dining in April 2021.

In its first year the venue attracted more than 28,600 additional visitors to the city, with full capacity at weekends and 75% of attendance pre-booked. Derby Market Place benefitted at least 30 hospitality businesses, as well as the cultural sector and local makers when it expanded its offer to include outdoor entertainment sessions and markets.

This Spring saw the reopening of Derby Market Place in line with the Government’s roadmap, with the return of afresco dining followed by live outdoor music during selected dining sessions. Summer 2021 saw the arrival of the Derby Loves You temporary venue, providing much-needed opportunities for the local cultural sector which had been badly hit by the pandemic.

Councillor Ross McCristal, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture, Tourism and Wellbeing, said: “This award sums up perfectly Derby Market Place is about – working in partnership to bring vibrancy back to the city centre, giving our hospitality and cultural industries a much-needed boost, and giving people the confidence to come back. It is exactly this can-do attitude that has set the scene for our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

“What is great about Derby Market Place is its flexibility as a space throughout the year, so we’re looking forward to seeing it transformed into a Festive Market, and to family Christmas shows in the indoor Derby Loves You venue.”

Throughout the summer and autumn months the Derby Loves You indoor venue has hosted an eclectic mix of events, including Derby Folk Festival, spoken word, comedy and music.

The spirit of collaboration has continued, with Derby LIVE working with partners such as Derby Folk Festival, Derby Jazz, Derby Theatre, Sinfonia Viva, Artcore and QUAD to programme a wider range of activities. Local amateur companies such as the Kristian Thomas Company and local artists like Andy Quinn have also performed at the venue. And while Derby Market Place was able to host the Beer Sessions to promote local breweries in 2020, this year it hosted a fuller beer festival experience.

Derby’s approach to partnership working has helped pave the way for the city to reach the longlist to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Six more events are happening at the Derby Loves You venue before the end of November, with popular comedian Mike McClean performing a set on Friday 19 November, and one for children on Saturday 20 November. Two free ticketed events take place on Sunday 21 November, with the Alpha Pro Creative full band open mic from 12noon to 6pm followed by the launch of the eagerly-awaited new album by Addictive Philosophy at 7pm.

RatCat Music present Music In The Market Place on Friday 26 November, a free ticketed event featuring live music from Matt Peach, Chloe Ann, Drew Thomas and more. And on Saturday 27 November, acclaimed Adele tribute act Katie Markham brings her show, Someone Like You, to the venue. Details of all shows can be found at the Derby Market Place website.

December sees the start of the Festive Market, and the return of Derby family favourites Babbling Vagabonds with their show The Hungry Troll’s Christmas Dinner, which opens in the Derby Loves You venue on Friday 3 December.  The Lost Boys bring their madcap mayhem to the Derby Love You venue from Friday 10 December with Panto:Impossible, a spy thriller with a panto twist. Street entertainers can also be seen for free at Derby Market Place and Cornmarket on weekends throughout December as part of Festive Derby.


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