The Big Feastival 3rd July 2011

by hannahb21

Find it, See it, Book it.

On Sunday 3rd July I attended Jamie Oliver’s ‘Big Feastival’ on Clapham Common, London. I stumbled across the event by chance on Twitter. A few days later we had booked our tickets and we were counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until we were at the aptly named Feastival gorging out on all the delightful food. My friend Laura found a ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ deal for our tickets on  making it £38 (including booking fee) for 2 of us.

Having a giggle with the decor

 How it worked

All dishes were £5 and each food stall took tokens rather than cash, you buy these tokens at one of the many token stands. All bars accepted cash. Simple.

Eager to exchange my food cards for Food!

A Feast for all the Senses

As soon as we walked through the gates we were immediately hit with an incredible amalgamation of smells from all the delicious food that was being cooked. We also noticed that a great deal of thought went into the overall Feastival atmosphere; The place was adorned with an array of ‘vintage cool’ items such as bunting, pearls, flowers, miss-matched chairs, coffee tables with doyleys and even the odd antique rug. Next to the food stalls there was a long table for people to sit and eat their meals.

The very long table adorned with pearl necklackes, flowers and silver candle holders

The Food

Over 20 restaurants took part including fifteen & the Michelin starred Benares. We had 4 dishes from 4 different stands. However, we were slightly disappointed with the portion to price ratio. £5 is a good round number and arguably is fairly reasonable for the quality and place but, we both felt that we they could have sold the dishes at about £3.50/£4 for the same sized portion. We agreed that we liked the portion size
as it meant we could try lots of different things.

Cocktails and NZ Lamb. This isnt any festival, this is the BIG Feastival!

Between us Laura and I had:

Lily’s’ House smoked fish with horseradish crème fraiche and sourdough

The Providores NZ Lamb Sam: grilled ciabatta / sourdough filled with roast spicedNew Zealand lamb, minted yoghurt, tomato tamarind gooseberry chutney and salad

Redhook’s Popcorn Shrimp

Benares Chicken Tikka Pie

MangoTree’s Thai Green Curry with Rice

Laura and her Chicken Tikka Pie

My Smoked fish- Delish!

All dishes got a big double thumbs up.

The Drink

After expecting the usual festival style bars which serve warm beer and strong bow, we were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of cocktail bars in the arena! These were run by Peppermint Bars which is a festival bar company. I was told by one of the barmen that all the mixologists come from various bars and clubs in London.  The cocktails cost about £7.50 each again quite pricey but they were delicious my personal favourite was the ‘Great Feastival Cocktail’ sadly I cannot remember all that was in it.

The Mixologists at work

Laura in her favourite place: by the Cocktail Bar

As well as the cocktail bars there was also a regular bar which served wine, beer and pear cider.

The Entertainment

To accompany all the food and drink on offer there were live cooking demonstrations occurring throughout the day in the Big Kitchen with Jay Rayner as the compare. Sadly we missed Jamie but we did get to see Rachel Allen, British Cheese Board (yum) and Willie Harcourt-Cooze (chocolate man, had a series on Channel 4 a few years ago).  As well as cooking demonstrations there was a W.I. Tent which held free craft sessions where you could knit or learn to make a bird shaped pin cushion. It also housed fabulous clothing from Lucy in Disguise and the make up shop for anyone who fancied a bit of a makeover. Laura and I were ready to treat ourselves to a WAH nails make over but sadly for some unknown reason they weren’t there on the Sunday.

Jay Rayner Introducing the next demo
Knitting in the WI Tent

Willie the chocolate man in the WI tent

The entertainment didn’t end there… live music was playing throughout the day including: Levi Roots and his reggae reggae band, The Cuban Brothers, [the fantastic] Guillemots and finally the headliners the incredible Athlete who never fail to disappoint.

Levi Roots and his Reggae band

Some bloke introducing Athlete

Athlete finish the day on a high

The Verdict

The Big Feastival website promised a ‘first class extravaganza of food and music’ and it was exactly that! Laura and I had a really fantastic day. It was the perfect size and had the perfect amount of entertainment available (sadly we ran out of time to go on the free fairground rides). It lovely and relaxed and managed to incorporate good food, good music, good drinks and clean available loo’s: Perfect! I could say so much more about the Feastival and our day there but this is long enough as it is.

The only thing we felt limited us was the price of the food dishes we would have liked to have tried a lot more but sadly our budget would not allow it as we ended up spending about £60 each on the day (excluding our bus tickets from London to Oxford). All that aside we are keeping our eyes peeled for next year already!

Popcorn Prawns seriously Yum yum in my tum

Sign of a successful day!