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FAMfest: discover your community the Emporium Way

Steve Scoles at the food and art festival regenerating an overlooked corner of Northampton

There are parts of Northampton that have a bit of their own special magic and Emporium Way is one of them.

Yes, I can see the pictures. I have not gone completely bonkers. It is a pretty brutal concrete underpass, even adorned with its FAMfest artwork.

FAMfest in Emporium Way

(You should have seen it before they got to work – have a look at the picture below).

But this is Northampton magic we are talking about – not Disneyland.

Emporium Way is named for the much loved Victorian arcade that was lost when the Grosvenor Centre and Greyfriars Bus Station modernised  the town centre.

Champagne Bubble performing spoken word

The demolition of the bus station leaves Emporium Way revealed like a badly healed scar teaching us not to do something again.

FAMfest produced street art to decorate the area

But the FAMfest festival of art, music, food and poetry also teaches us that scars can be celebrated, even decorated.

Organisers Sherene Ingram of Caribbean caterers BoxFood and journalist Kate Stanton wanted to bring the community together.

Good times occurring

Kate said: “We wanted to celebrate Northampton and bring people into the town centre again, perhaps it’s not as popular as it was. Also it’s a cool space, it doesnt get used so much since the bus station went. We’ve have music, DJs, African drummers. We wanted it to represent the community and hopefully we’ll get even better at reaching out to different aspects of the community.

Kate Stanton

“We were hoping to do one of these every couple of months, so we’ll get this one sorted out and maybe we’ll do it again.”

On a sunny Saturday a steady flow of people filtered through the vibrant art market place and the circle of food stalls and wagons at the event.

Kardi Somerfield of Fridge Street and UoN

You could not help but feel the lively social atmosphere is how the marketplace should feel, just a few hundred yards away.

Tre Ventour, Northampton poet

FAMfest is on Facebook. Hopefully there will be much more of this kind of thing on the Way.

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1 Comment on FAMfest: discover your community the Emporium Way

  1. Sue Biddle // March 31, 2019 at 8:04 am // Reply

    We went to see them setting up. What a brilliant idea. Such hard work. Congratulations to everyone involved. For having such courage,vision,love and belief in our town.

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