Leisure, Entertainment & Events

The food festival boom!

Friday, December 2, 2016

In today’s ‘experience economy’, some argue that festivals are holding the Industry’s purse strings… and brands are branching out to embrace this. Just head to Jamie Oliver’s Feastival or Bristol’s Food Connections to see the huge power they yield.

Meat kebabs being cooked on a grill

Roll over music...this is the era of the food festival.

The hottest events these days have one common theme: food. The likes of Bristol’s Food Connections, the epic Foodies Festival and Jamie Oliver’s star studded Feastival now rival even the biggest music festivals in terms of size and scale. 

At these events, food takes centre stage. Chefs are the headline acts and Michelin starred chefs are clamoured after by fans in a way that some of the country’s most seasoned musicians would be unfamiliar with.

However, it is not all about the big boys. The food festival scene is as much about the small scale, local events. Tickets to a talk by Tom Kerridge at the Gloucester Quays Food Festival sold out months in advance, while the Northallerton Homegrown Food Festival is another seeing record numbers of visitors year on year.

So what is this all about?

Festivals are at the heart of today’s ‘experience economy’. And the new tribe of foodies are all about experience. With an ever growing knowledge about food and a shared passion for ‘farm to fork’, they have been unleashed onto the festival scene with money to spend.

The industry is fast catching onto this. With a ready-made captive foodie audience, festivals are hotbeds for upcoming chefs, new ideas and new culinary concepts. But more than this, they are becoming launch pads for bigger brand ventures and more permanent roll outs.

Grillstock, for example, opened its first permanent restaurant in Bristol following the incredible success of its BBQ and music festival concept. Similarly, Spanish restaurant brand Tapas Revolution, opened its first London site following a year-long tour of Britain, during which its chef owner and founder Omar Allibhoy cooked authentic Spanish food at festivals up and down the country, winning a huge fan base in the process.

At the end of the day, as the ‘experience economy’ grows, the food festival scene is only set to get bigger. 

So what’s the next big thing in food?  Grab yourself a ticket to one of the country’s many food festivals and you may well find out.