SAINT JOHN — The Moonlight Bazaar will be returning to uptown Saint John this summer, with a new theme and a hopefully bigger footprint.
The event will be held on Saturday, July 18. While last year’s theme celebrated the anniversary of the first moon landing, this year’s theme will take a different spin, with a focus on “aliens.”
“By aliens, I don’t necessarily mean a throwback to the retro era of aliens, which came about around the same time as the moon landing excitement,” said Jody Kliffer, co-organizer of the Moonlight Bazaar. “More like the question of what’s out there? Is there anything out there and what does it mean to you? That can have any kind of creative outcome. We’ll see how that inspires the creative juices this year.”
For the past three years, the event’s previous sponsor was cannabis media company Civilized. With the company’s future in the city in limbo, Kliffer says they are looking for a new presenting sponsor, along with other levels of sponsorship.
“This year we’re stretching out a little bit more to seek out more sponsorship because as the event has grown and continues to grow, the costs grow,” said Kliffer. “It’s not something we really profit off of. It’s just the cost of getting this off the ground, shutting down the street and implementing some creative pieces.”
The big creative highlight of last year’s event was a permanent mural on the retaining wall at the corner of Canterbury Street and Princess Street by renowned artist Dodo Ose. Though Kliffer is tight-lipped on specifics for this year’s event, he says people can definitely expect the return of the Bazaar’s night market, live performances and DJs.
“We’re kicking around some ideas right now,” he said. “We’re not going to release them yet. But it might include more graffiti or might include other interventions to the built environment.”
With the event attracting more than 20,000 people last year, organizers are also hoping to secure more space, pending city approval.
“We’re going to propose that we close down that block of Prince William Street and the adjacent block of Princess Street to accommodate that flow,” said Kliffer. “We will have to program more things in and around those spaces to make them vibrant, which is part of this challenge.”
Kliffer started Moonlight Bazaar with co-organizer Lauchlan Ough back in 2017 after experiencing a night bazaar in a Brooklyn warehouse while visiting New York. They loved the experience so much that they wanted to create a similar event in Saint John. The first event took place in the Port City Royal parking lot that brought in 3,000 people.
Now with the Moonlight Bazaar going into its fourth year, Kliffer said the community’s support has been beyond what they ever imagined.
“It’s great to see that grow and see the community support it and look forward to it as part of what they plan around in the summertime,” he said. “It’s not going to stay like that forever. Eventually, all events have a sunset component to it and something new comes along and takes its place, but for the meantime, we’re enthused. It’s better than we thought.”