Story and photos by Vivienne Pearson
A new food event – the Byron Bay Good Vibes Twilight Street Food Market – was held on Saturday at Byron’s Youth Activity Centre (YAC).
The event promised food trucks (it seemed that most would be travelling from the Gold Coast), live music and vintage/handmade stalls.
What eventuated was fewer trucks but more local businesses than expected. The one actual truck was supplemented by caravans, trailers, and a Kombi van, along with many of the usual market marquees. More local businesses featured than expected, including Byron’s Knox & Aya’s vegan icecream, Stokers Siding’s Gunter’s Flammkuchen (it’s not pizza but bears a striking resemblance to it) and Byron’s The Grassy Bowl (the aforementioned Kombi van).
One of the organisers, Matt Whalley, says he and his partner, Kat Creasey (who together run Gold Coast Design Collective), arranged the event as a way of ‘giving back’ to the YAC, where Kat undertook business training as a teenager. Matt says the giving back takes the form of paying generous rent for the event, as well as helping keep the YAC on the radar for young people.
The Byron Youth Service, who run the YAC, are positive about the event. Manager Teeya Blatt says the event was very well organised and attended. ‘It was a very relaxed atmosphere, the punters stayed, the music was good, and it shows that there is a desire for alcohol-free events,’ says Teeya. ‘It’s great to see the YAC being used in such a way – it’s such an underutilised community resource.’
With anything new, especially something bringing businesses in from outside the area, there is understandable concern about the impact on local businesses and markets. Matt and Kat are acutely aware of this. They have great loyalty to the Byron region and stress that they would not do anything to tread on toes. ‘If we came back, it would be a seasonal thing – every couple of months,’ says Matt. ‘We wouldn’t come back so regularly as to damage other markets.’
Their love of the Byron region has been further enhanced by the event. ‘I was so impressed with how polite everyone was,’ says Matt. ‘I had six or seven complete strangers stop me to say thank you as I was collecting rubbish.’
The YAC is a great place to hold such an event – with some undercover space, a gentle grass slope just begging to be dotted with picnic blankets, and a neighbouring open grass area for kids needing to burn off some energy. The vibes were certainly good at the Good Vibes Street Food market.