Person handing over a street food sandwich

With the lockdowns now behind us, the UK is hosting food festivals in person again. Food festivals can be a great way for food businesses to get their names out there, make sales and become acquainted with some excellent cuisines.

While London’s street food scene has been thriving, it isn’t only those in the capital who have a taste for new flavours. There are now hundreds of food festivals taking place across the country each year, 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.

If you are a food vendor looking to set up a stand or stall at a food festival, you will typically need to apply six months in advance. So while you are unlikely to get places for the food festivals in 2022, you can start thinking about where you want to be in 2023.

We’ve compiled a list of the best food festivals for 2022 and 2023 for vendors.

Pub in the Park 2022/23

 

British fusion and Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge’s touring food festival, Pub in the Park, takes place around the UK, including: Dulwich, Bath, Warwick, Tunbridge Wells, Marlow, Wimbledon, Brighton, St Albans and Chiswick. Returning after the pandemic, Pub in the Park 2021 hosted 130,000 people at 8 locations. There were 9 locations scheduled for 2022, with the remaining 3 to take place in September 2022.

Attendees enjoy a beautiful countryside backdrop and a soundtrack of live bands while you cater to the flocks of visitors. Performers for 2022 include: Rag’n’Bone Man, Kaiser Chiefs, Sister Sledge and more.

Although the festival isn’t open to hot food catering, as food is served by the event’s chosen pubs and restaurants, there are plenty of opportunities to dazzle with your pop-up and exhibition kitchens. This would be a good event for anyone with prepared cold foods, sauces, condiments and other similar food products.

Nantwich Food Festival 2022/23

 

  • Location: Nantwich, Cheshire
  • Dates: 2-4th September 2022
  • Vendor costs: £260 per space (plus extras)
  • Date for applications: Applications open in March and decisions are made in April

A three-day food event, Nantwich Food Festival has a monumental 40,000 visitors. This is in part because it is one of the few free food festivals for visitors, but also because it attracts numerous local and prestigious food brands.

Set out over three sites, you can expect to be part of a diverse range of producers and brands offering live cooking demonstrations and stalls, set against a soundtrack from one of the two live music stages.

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 it’s worth keeping an eye out for when applications open for 2023 in April next year.

Spaces are limited but the festival is keen to have local producers as well as brands that bring unique cuisines or food to the event.

Meatopia 2022/23

 

  • Location: Tobacco Dock in London
  • Dates: 2-4 September 2022
  • Vendor costs: Costs based on area needs
  • Date for applications: Get in touch to apply and get deadlines
Meat display in a butchers

Meatopia is championing high-quality and ethically sourced ingredients. Namely, meat. The event prides itself on responsibly sourced and sustainable materials, from the wood for the open fires to the meat and vegetables that renowned cooks and chefs prepare their dishes with.

Over 60 chefs are featured at Meatopia. Numerous renowned chefs have exhibited previously, including: Yotam Ottolenghi, Sam Bryant of Coal Rooms, Matt Thompson from Patty & Bun and Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi.

Contact the team at Meatopia if you would like to take a stand or stall space.

Abergavenny Food Festival 2022/23

 

  • Location: Abergavenny in Wales
  • Date: 17-18 September 2022
  • Vendor costs: £175 to £500 depending on stall location
  • Date for applications: Applications open in January and close in March each year
Mushroom poutine in a takeaway box

Abergavenny Food Festival is put on at 6 venues across the centre of the market town. A special note for this event is that this is an accessible festival. Over 150 producers and exhibitors are featured at the food festival, along with chef demonstrations, talks and family entertainment.

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 deposit, with the rest of your payments made in instalments before the festival takes place.

York Food & Drink Festival 2022/23

 

  • Location: Parliament Street in York
  • Date: 23rd September to 2nd October 2022
  • Vendor costs: Between £1000 and £2200
  • Date for applications: Applications open early in the year and first confirmations will arrive by end of April 2022

The main festival is the York Food & Drink Festival. There is also a companion York Chocolate Festival earlier in the year. The September Programme has yet to be confirmed.

450,000 visitors are expected over this 10-day food and drink event. This makes places at the festival 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, with the aim of celebrating locally sourced and regional food. However, they are also open to companies who 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.

The Big Feastival 2022/23

 

  • Location: Alex James’ farm in the Cotswolds
  • Date: 26-28 August 2022, 2023 dates to be announced
  • Vendor costs: Get in touch to find out vendor prices
  • Date for applications: Accepting applications for 2022

The Big Feastival is a 3 day event of ‘good food, good music and good times for all the family’. Expecting 64,000 attendees across the trio of days, there is plenty of opportunity to rustle up some tasty grub for a lot of people.

For the food element of the Big Feastival, there are bars, street food stalls and events with chefs – 2022 is set to host Ravneet Gill, James Cochran, Ching He Huang MBE and more. Your food business can sit alongside with a produce stand or hot food stall.

Few details are available online about application requirements or costs, so get in touch with the Big Feastival to find out more.

Clitheroe Food Festival 2023

 

  • Location: Clitheroe in Lancashire
  • Dates: Saturday 30th July 2022. 2023 dates have not yet been announced.
  • Vendor costs: Between £90 and £420
  • Date for applications: Applications for new traders open in April each year, with confirmation at the end of the month if your application is successful.
Lancashire cheese wedge

Clitheroe Food Festival is a one-day event and has been hailed as one of the best by Condé Nast Traveller and Eventbrite. It is a free-to-attend event for food lovers, making it a popular food festival and well worthwhile for food brands.

It is worth noting that for this food festival:

“Priority is given to food and drink producers from Ribble Valley and Lancashire; however exhibitors from further afield may be considered where the product on offer is not produced locally and/or where the business/product has won recent food awards.”

Stalls are priced by size of plot. In previous years, costs have ranged from £90 to £420 (plus VAT). Smaller market stands are typically 1.4m by 3m, with larger spaces for marquees and gazebos at 3m by 3m. All applications are dealt with through EventOwl, not their main website.

Bigfoot Festival 2023 – Rescheduled 2022

 

  • Location: Claydon Estate, Buckinghamshire
  • Date: 1-3 September 2023 – TBC
  • Vendor costs: Contact the team to find out more
  • Date for applications: Available on request

Bigfoot Festival is one of the newest around, attempting to launch in 2020 but due to the pandemic it was postponed to 2021. This event went ahead in the summer of 2021 over 3 days with a celebration of music, food, drink and entertainment. It is an interesting and somewhat experimental event, which in 2021 featured Blackout Dining, a sustainable vegetarian dining experience prepared without electricity, presided over by Douglas McMaster of Silo and Matt Orlando of Amass.

The Bigfoot Festival 2022 was due to go ahead in June 2022 but was postponed due to ‘the cost of living crisis and ongoing COVID ramifications’. Provisional dates have been provided for 2023 with tickets rolling over to the next year. As this event is being reorganised, there are limited details about applications, with the best bet being to get in touch if you wish to be a vendor.

This festival may be a good one for food businesses to keep an eye out for. As a new food festival, it could be a chance to join the ranks of regular vendors early – food festivals often prioritise places for repeat sellers.

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