Food festivals are a relatively new concept. Fuelled by the explosion in popularity of street food, these feel-good sun-drenched shindigs combine food, music and of course the odd bevvy to create the perfect summertime event.
There are loads of great food festivals happening up and down the country over the next few months. We had a dig around and found our favourites.
Our top UK food festivals
Manchester Food & Drink Festival
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival was one of the originals and has been running for over 18 years, attracting top chefs the like of Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The event is an urban festival, so it takes place in indoor and outdoor venues across the city centre and Greater Manchester. But there’s a central ‘hub’ at Albert Square where most of the high-profile events take place.
This year’s programme includes a diverse array or events, from a mini chilli and tequila festival, to an experimental ice cream banquet. All musically accompanied by an eclectic mix of local solo artists, rockin' reggae, community choirs and world famous DJs.
Dates: 10/09/2015 to 21/09/2015
Liverpool Food & Drink Festival
We’d have an army of angry Liverpudlian foodies at our doors if we only mentioned the Mancs’ festival.
Although a much newer festival, this foodie affair has gained huge popularity in its 8 short years, attracting celebrity chefs like Paul Hollywood and Tom Kerridge.
For two days the beautiful Sefton Park, in the heart of Liverpool, is transformed into a ‘food heaven’, with the most talented local chefs and acclaimed local producers setting up shop on the lush green lawns.
There’ll be a number of themed ‘foodie zones’ including street food, healthy living and a chocolate garden. This year also features a ‘curry clinic’ hosted by self-proclaimed ‘curry evangelist’ Nisha Katona, as well as celebrity chef demos from Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley of Hemsley & Hemsley.
Dates: 19/09/2015 to 20/09/2015
The Big Feastival
This one’s a food festival on celebrity steroids. Jamie Oliver has teamed up with ex-Blur bassist Alex James to launch this veritable carnival, which combines celebrity chef demos and the UK’s best street food with top music acts from around the country.
Held over three days on Alex James’ own idyllic Cotswolds farm, The Big Feastival is basically Glastonbury for Foodies. The number of events on offer is staggering: from love cookalongs with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc, to food markets, funfairs and banquet events.
Expect live music this year from the likes of electro masters Groove Armada, the eponymous Dizzee Rascal and 2015 Brit Award Winning Paloma Faith. A host of new music acts will also be on show at the Udder and Bandstand stages.
Dates: 28/08/2015 to 30/08/2015
Brighton & Hove Food & Drink Festival
Brighton’s got more to offer than a greasy seaside bag of fish and chips. It’s known for being a city full of foodies, which is probably why this food festival runs no less than four times a year!
There’s plenty of quality on offer, too, with the New York Post rating the festival as one of the world’s leading local food events in 2012.
Sussex is a champion of the local food movement, with a local food supermarket recently opening in Brighton. The festival reflects this, with growers from across the county coming to peddle their wares and encourage more people to buy local.
Expect a showcase of Sussex wines, forgotten cuts of native English meats and a choice selection from the city’s booming music scene.
Dates: 21/08/2015 to 31/08/2015
Grillstock brings the smoked out dives, big BBQ flavours and rowdy, beer-swilling mayhem of the American south to the shores of good old Blighty. The festival was born out of a deep love for the bold flavours of American BBQ, and the even bolder culture that surrounds it.
First appearing in Bristol back in 2010, the festival has expanded to locations in London and Manchester. Grillstock also run a chain of smokehouses across the country, where diners come to get their BBQ kicks any day of the week.
The festival combines mouthwatering, hickory wood, pit smoked meat with a heady mix of dance music and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Expect acts like Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Razorlight and Grandmaster Flash.
Dates: 05/09/2015 to 06/09/2015
Meatopia was accidentally founded by the late great Hamburger aficionado, Josh Ozersky, who decided one year to throw a giant meat and booze fuelled birthday party in New York City. It was such a legendary bash that he spied a business opportunity, and so Meatopia was born.
Meatopia celebrates high quality, ethically sourced meat, cooked by some of the world’s top chefs over ethically sourced wood and charcoal. Chef teams create signature dishes, exploring whole carcasses and cuisines from across the globe.
The UK version of the festival, now in its 3rd year, takes place at the historic Tobacco Dock in London’s East End, now transformed into a stunning contemporary venue with gritty, industrial edge.
Dates: 19/09/2015 to 20/09/2015
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