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Soul Sante or Souless Sante?

Did Pune’s first Soul Sante have some soul in it?

Last Sunday, Pune saw the first Sunday Soul Sante, a flea market of sorts at the lawns right next to Hard Rock Café in Koregoan Park. A hit in Bangalore, the Pune edition had its own set of Mother Nature troubles last month courtesy the freak 3-day downpour period. But, this month, the weather was helpful and Soul Sante was under way. It had its ups and downs though…
Entrance fee and number of stalls:
I have always been a big fan of flea markets because they’re a good way to get some quirky tidbits for your home, see what the the art world is up to, eat some interesting food and generally have a fun afternoon of shopping! The entrance fee was just Rs. 200 (sadly no cover because there was a bar). Looking at the number of stalls, I expected it to be bigger somehow- there must have been about 50 stalls and about 10-12 food stalls in total. No biggie and not something that you have to specially leave the comfort of your own laziness on a Sunday for.
Stalls and pricing:
The stalls varied from chic magnets for your table to clothes to organic food to superhero t-shirts to even so called “vintage” clothing. There was plenty of quirky art on display and some rather nice clothes, but nothing out of the ordinary. There was a stall which was selling pop art of all the popular shows now like Breaking Bad, The Big Bang Theory etc.; this was the only stall I actually bought something from. And this is because these flea markets and pop up stores are a blatant reason for these supposedly arty small time business to just rip people off! The prices were just crazy! A small jacket which barely covers me and takes all of 1 metre in clothing was priced at Rs. 900! Anything you touched which remotely had a misshapen half face of sequins on it , would cost you Rs. 1000. A keychain was Rs. 200! Not worth it at all.
We went around 5:30 pm and the crowd was just about there. Not many people and the stalls were just about getting some business. Can’t say much about crowd management…
Usually, flea markets have funky food, which you wouldn’t normally get at a restaurant near you. Well, Soul Sante food was meh. It had about 10 food stalls ( panipuri, pizza, Faaso’s etc.); no great shakes. Pizza was being sold by the slice at Rs. 200/slice! Seriously? Also, half the stalls looked like they really didn’t want to be there, so guess what I felt like! Let down by the food quotient- completely.
There was a live band on stage when I arrived and they were pretty good. The stage had a decent sound system and overall a fun vibe. There was a talent contest right at the start of the day with a whopping “50 entries” (feel the sarcasm) and beer being served at the bar. Again, nothing great or whopper to talk about. Music was there. Yay. Nice.
Soul Sante was a massive disappointment and did not live up to its expectations at all. Pricey stalls, pricey food (wasn’t even that great- we ended up eating Faaso’s!) and overall a so-so vibe for a great, crisp Sunday evening. I wouldn’t go the next time around unless there a serious change of scenery. Soul Sante was rather Soul- Less Sante for me!