The Torquay Cowrie Market started up in the late 1990s with live music being one of its features and drawcard. Supporting local artists and musicians has always been on the radar of market organisers and the supporting committee Surf Coast Arts Inc.
At the very start, local artist Mark Trinham’s band Moonah would perform for the day. This soon led to other bands knocking on the door and Mark became stage manager, sound engineer and programme booker. 20 years on and he’s still in the job.
On the third Sunday of the month from September to April, Mark hosts five acts on the South Stage, each with 45-minute sets, ranging from soloists to large bands, whilst providing the PA and doing the mixing. Hundreds of musicians, local and touring, have performed on the stage, from beginners and emerging talent to seasoned and experienced musicians.
The live music creates an atmosphere that makes the ‘Cowrie’ vibe. As we have seen many music venues disappear or cease to support live music, demand on the Cowrie programme has increased. One of the young performers and composer showed an interest in sound engineering and took on the job to create a second stage at the north end of the market. Callum Watson has been running his stage for seven years.
This Sunday, Mark will be performing with Lucy and the Night Sky, an eight-piece original band which includes the original members of Moonah, 20 years on. The Cowrie has given them the opportunity to perform and keep the bands going strong. Weather permitting, the team guarantees large and appreciative audiences who gather to enjoy live music on both stages.
The market is free to the public, but bring some cash to throw into the guitar case.
This Sunday, January 19th, the market will feature One Spirit Africa, Immy Owusu, Fredland, Lucy and the Night Sky, Inked Factor, Krazy Koala Puppet Show, Kinnon, Lukey Luke, Paige and Harrison, Carlo Muncey and Julia Winkler.
Come along and enjoy all on offer including over 200 stalls with quality art and craft, food, produce and more.
Band bookings for next season are now open via firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re keen on joining in on the fun.
The Cowrie Market pops up every third Sunday of the month, 10am to 3pm, September to April at the Torquay Esplanade.