7 Food Festivals to attend in 2019
A food lover’s paradise is anywhere one can enjoy fancy fast food, see Michelin star chefs at work and sample the newest culinary curiosities. While London’s street food has been thriving, it isn’t only those in the capital with a taste for new flavours.
There are now hundreds of food festivals each year, taking place across the country, from touring and flash in the pan weekend events to week long extravaganzas. Most take place around the summer months, starting in May and finishing in September.
For food businesses, pubs and restaurants, choosing the right events to partake in is key to making the most of these brand awareness opportunities. We’ve compiled a list of the best food festivals for 2019 in the UK, in chronological order, with all the important details you need to take part.
Pub in the Park
- Location: Various locations
- Date: Fridays to Sundays between May and September 2019
- Vendor costs: You’ll need to enquire about availability and pricing.
British fusion and Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge brings his touring food festival to Marlow, Roundhay, Knutsford, Bath, Warwick, Tunbridge Wells, Chiswick and St Albans in 2019. You’ll enjoy a beautiful countryside backdrop and a soundtrack of live bands (with the likes of Gabrielle, Tom Odell and Texas performing in 2018) while you cater to the flocks of visitors.
Although the festival isn’t open to hot food catering, there are plenty of opportunities to dazzle with you pop-ups and exhibition kitchens.
Clitheroe Food Festival
- Location: Clitheroe in Lancashire
- Date: 10th August 2019
- Vendor costs: Between £90 and £420
- Date for applications: Applications are now open and close on 5th April 2019
Clitheroe Food Festival is a one day event and has been hailed as one of the best by Conde Nast Traveller and Eventbrite. The catch for any hopeful vendors looking to be included in that is that: “All producers wishing to apply MUST clearly demonstrate their products Lancashire provenance of raw ingredients.”
Depending on the size of your space, you can expect to pay anything from £90 to £420 (plus VAT). Smaller market stands of 1.4m by 3m are on the lower end of that scale at £90, with 3x3m marquees and gazebos from £180 to £330. All applications are dealt with through EventOwl, not their main website.
River Cottage Festival
- Location: Riverside Cottage HQ in Axminster
- Date: 23rd to 26th August 2019
- Vendor costs: You can find out more about the prices and space sizes by applying through the River Cottage Festival site.
Described as a ‘weekend of music, food and fun on the farm’, River Cottage Festival comes to salivating taste buds from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s company. Held in Axminster, this country food festival encourages overnight camping for visitors who spend their days wandering the stalls and fields working up a hearty appetite.
There are some restrictions on the quality of the products vendors should be supplying, as one would expect from the cook who advocates locally sourced meats and high quality vegetables.
Nantwich Food Festival
- Location: Nantwich, Cheshire
- Date: 30th August to 1st September 2019
- Vendor costs: £260 per space (plus extras)
- Date for applications: Applications are open now and places are allocated from 31st March 2019.
A three day food event, Nantwich Food Festival has a monumental 40,000 visitors, in part because it is one of the few free food festivals for visitors. Additionally, it has already secured celebrity chef Rosemary Shrager, with more celebrity chefs to be announced.
As one of the most popular food festivals in England, spaces book up quickly so if you are thinking of being one of the lucky few then there is no time like the present. Space is at a premium in Nantwich with a price tag of £130 per metre of stand space, a minimum of two metres required, and an expectation that you might need to book more.
- Location: Tobacco Dock in London
- Date: 30th August to Sun 1st September 2019
- Vendor costs: Contact the team at Meatopia if you would like to take a stand or stall space. They can supply costings based on your needs
Are you a vegan or vegetarian? This is not the food festival for you. Going into its seventh year, Meatopia is championing high quality and ethically sourced ingredients, namely, meat. In 2018, numerous renowned chefs exhibited including Yotam Ottolenghi, Sam Bryant of Coal Rooms, Matt Thompson from Patty & Bun and Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi.
London is a hub for foodies and food startups so you need to be getting involved with this food festival if you can. You’ll also need to find the right place to have your prep kitchen if you are going to take part.
York Food & Drink Festival
- Location: Parliament Street in York
- Date: 20th to 29th September 2019
- Vendor costs: Between £1000 and £2100
- Date for applications: Applications are now open and spaces are allocated from 13th May onwards
Some 450,000 visitors are expected for this 10 day food and drink event so places are competitive. Take-home producers, cookware suppliers and street food vendors are the bread and butter of this event. Priority is given to York based food and drinks brands, which aims to be a celebration of locally sourced and regional food. However, they are open to companies that have a unique offering not available locally.
You can find a detailed list of prices in the application form for the York Food & Drink Festival, with about a £1000 difference depending on the location of your stand. All prices are based on a single 3m pitch.
Abergavenny Food Festival
- Location: Abergavenny in Wales
- Date: 21st & 22nd September 2019
- Vendor costs: £105 to £500 depending on stall location
- Date for applications: Application open Wednesday 30th January and close Friday 15th March 2019
Last but not least and heading into its 22nd year, Abergavenny Food Festival. Hosted across the town of Abergavenny, this food festival encourages visitors to walk around and watch chefs cooking up a storm, rather than sitting at exhibition stands. It also has a focus on local Welsh cuisine, producers and brands, so if you’re local then this is definitely one to get involved in.
Prices vary widely based on how many days you plan to show at this food festival, stall locations (as there are numerous sites across the market town) and based on your table and power needs. To secure your place, you will need a £50 deposit, with the rest of your payments made in installments before the festival takes place.
These festivals will not only provide opportunity to promote your work and find inspiration, but also give you a clue to the latest food trends…all important to a food business that is looking to excite its customers and thrive in a competitive environment.