Thursday 20 July 2017

Making a song and dance about our Carboot

Sweet music at the Sunday Carboot
The Sunday Carboot at the Wholesale Market had another reprieve this week - it's to stay open into the new year, which Friction Arts celebrated at the Carboot on Sunday.

We joined the queue with the other stall holders 6am on Sunday hoping for a good pitch at what is the largest regular Carboot in the West Midlands, with over 300 pitches.

Our pitch was a little different from the others.  We had some assorted goodies to sell as you'd expect, from brain jelly mould to crystal ball  but we'd also brought our front room, rug, sofas, standard lamp, pictures and all.  We also had a couple of musicians, a photographer and a couple of oral historians.  We were interested in the trade, the traders and the trading on what is the most historic trading site in Birmingham, with over 900 years as a Market area.

The Carboot is a relative newcomer, although it's really not clear when exactly it started, and who by.  We chat and make music with some of the punters, run a small antique roadshow, take some photos, and where better to do that than in our own front room?  The 'carboot community' is warm and welcoming although traders are heads down on the business for much of the the time, and the punters need a little enticing to lift their eyes up from the goods.

You'd be surprised who you'd meet at the Carboot and most importantly, the opportunity it opens for punters and traders alike.  Birmingham Council itself makes around £70,000 a month from it - there's some risks and costs involved too, but basically everyone's a winner at the carboot - it makes money for everyone involved, and when it comes to enterprise the Carboot's the place to go.

The Carboot will close once the Wholesale Market moves to Witton, and there are no plans to replace it.  The over-riding feeling from the Carbooters?
'It makes no sense - why would they do that?'
The carboot has been saved for a short time, but who is planning for it's future?  As for us at Friction, we'll be back next week, and this time maybe we'll shift the jelly brain and the crystal ball.

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