Brighton Christmas market cancelled after two years

Generic closed Christmas market with food stalls, tables and decorations. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Brighton’s Christmas market has been scrapped after the council’s bid to replace it with a community-led event fell through.

Council bosses have admitted the East Sussex city will not see Christmas markets return this festive season after failing to secure a commercial partner to fund the event.

The move, first reported by the Brighton Argus newspaper, comes as council chiefs said the local authority cannot spend the £70,000 needed to carry out the event as it faces an “enormous funding crisis”.

The coastal city’s Christmas market attraction had been hosted by an independent events company E3 Events for the last two years, but it cut short its three-year contract earlier this year citing difficulties because of Covid, rising costs and supply chain problems.

Following this setback in July, Brighton and Hove City Council called on local artists, craftspeople, performers and more to come together for a new festive event in the city, to create a “new, smaller scale, community-led event”.

But on November 16, the council confirmed that no Christmas market replacement was going ahead in 2023.

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Lead councillor for tourism and culture, Alan Robins, said: “Organising a Christmas Market for the city was always dependent on finding a new commercial partner to help us to fund and co-ordinate the event.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to find a partner willing to commit to the project for a single year.

“Given the enormous funding crisis the council is facing, we cannot commit to spending the £70,000 needed to stage an event.”

Mr Robins added: “We wanted to create a different kind of Christmas Market this year – because in the two years it was staged it was never actually all that popular with the public, and was also expensive for traders who wanted a pitch there.

“We received a fantastic response from community groups, artists and makers in the city keen to be involved in a Christmas event – and we appreciate they will be disappointed.

“However, we will keep in touch and look forward to involving them in future Christmas events in the city.”

The council are continuing with a scheme to put up community Christmas trees across 23 sites across the city for the festive period, with further information to come.