The Big Feastival 3rd July 2011
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 Lastminute.com making it £38 (including booking fee) for 2 of us.
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.
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.
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.
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
All dishes got a big double thumbs up.
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.
As well as the cocktail bars there was also a regular bar which served wine, beer and pear cider.
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.
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.
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!