Artisans complain of high cost for spot at Song Festival market

Buying trading rights and a spot at the Song and Dance Festival does not come cheap for local producers and artisans. Although, according to the businesses, Rīga municipality has compromised and reduced the price of trading spots by 25%, it still costs EUR 700 to 800 per week, Latvian Radio reported on July 3.

A man who trades knits said he's already learning another profession – becoming a driver – to earn more, but "when traditional crafts products are replaced by plastic from China on the markets, we'll all realize what we've lost", he said.

Similarly, a lady who sells textile products in Vērmanes Garden said: “Basically crafts are being destroyed in Latvia.”

The Riga City Council intended to require artisans and home producers to market their goods only in grey tents to "fit in with Rīga's aesthetic", but now this requirement has a transitional period; it also appears that the tents are mostly white in Esplanade and Vērmanes Garden.

As for the prices of sales spots, another saleswoman who sells folk costume skirts for children and contemporary products from flax said that it was expensive, but she would not let it harm the fun of the festival. The blow also depends heavily on what the producer sells.

One seller of ornaments, ethnographic and archaeological ornaments said that perhaps the spot was expensive but he had already earned its worth, “the market is good this year”. He said there are a lot of traders who don't benefit from the markets. Since one traditional piece of jewelry can cost several hundred euros, it can quickly cover the cost. But some, who sell, for example, gloves, don't have it that easy. 

Before the municipality discount, which the artisans achieved by writing a joint letter to the Rīga City Council, the trader would have paid €1,000 for a spot in Vērmanes Garden. Now it costs €700.

The cost of space has also affected the price of goods, many traders have said, but at the same time everyone hopes that the influx of guests in the city will prove profitable and they would be able to make money.

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