On March 22nd, I had the privilege of being a part of a one-of-a-kind event in Tulsa called the Punk Rock Flea Market. It was a very DIY event at a local church that likely – at just $10 per table - had the cheapest tables in town for any flea market type event. There were booths with hand drawn art, knitted trinkets, spray painted pillows, vinyl records, and so much more, as well as booths just selling personal items they no longer need at very low prices. The informal atmosphere and cheap beer made for a unique friendly atmosphere that is rarely seen at any sales event. It encouraged visitors to stick around for hours and have friendly conversation or grab some tacos (or my favorite – Baked Mac n’ Cheese with jerk chicken) from the Mr. Nice Guys food truck parked outside.
I personally had a booth set up selling my Moshing Please tank tops and t-shirts and I was treated so courteously it was as if I had helped put on the event myself.
Here’s what some of the local merchants had to say about it:
“The Punk Rock Flea Market is the cheapest flea market I’ve ever been a part of so needless to say sales were great – and I had a lot of extra money for the beer (laughs). It’s good to see a diverse group of people getting together, helping the music scene and the people. This is about a community picking itself up and not relying on big business to strengthen the local economy.” -Chris (local comic and art dealer)
“I’m 47 years old and I grew up in the punk rock scene. It’s good to see a bunch of like minded people hanging out like this. I haven’t seen anything like this in years!” -Jim (Size Records in Oklahoma City owner)
I also had the privilege of interviewing event organizer Michelle Martin about her intentions for the flea market:
Keith: Michelle, what Inspired you to put on the punk rock flea market?
Michelle: There’s not really any punk rock events in Tulsa, but there is a punk scene, so I decided to put on an event for all punks… and others too (laughs).
Keith: Will this be a reoccurring event?
Michelle: Yes! There are actually a lot of other punk rock flea markets around the United States, which Is where I got the idea originally. Instead of annually, like most of them nationwide are, I would like to put one on every three or four months.
Keith: That’s awesome. How do you see this helping the local community and economy?
Michelle: Well a lot of local individuals make all kinds of different things but they don’t all have the opportunity to sell them in public or online. This gives them an additional opportunity to set up their products for the public.
Keith: You seem to have jump started a lot of local entrepreneurs.
Michelle: Hopefully (laughs). I hope so cause that’s the whole point.
Keith: Do you have any other ideas for events in the near future?
Michelle: My fiance and I actually put on a punk festival here in Tulsa and people from all over the world travel to it and this will be the second year for it. This [flea market] is the first event that I have put on myself and I’ll be trying to come up with more ideas throughout the year.
Keith: Where can people go to find out more about you or your events?
Michelle: We have a punk store in Tulsa called Boulevard Trash and we have a Facebook page and even a MySpace page (laughs). Check us out there to find out more information.