Where do we even begin with The Big Feastival? We had high expectations for this weekend of music and food, yet they were still exceeded!
The Big Feastival is a family-friendly festival packed with food stalls, workshops, cookery lessons, exercise sessions, celebrity chef Q&A’s and, of course, incredible live music. They've even taken steps to keep the festival as green as possible, which is something we can really get on board with. Check out their initiatives here.
Even though we had a completely full weekend schedule, there were still so many activities and acts that we didn’t get the time to do and see. Needless to say, we already have our notifications set for the announcement of the 2020 line up!
What did we get up to?
We found that Day 1 was a great opportunity to get our bearings and explore all the areas of the festival, which took a lot longer than expected. Being completely overwhelmed with sights, smells and sound, we bought our first drink and sat in the sunshine to enjoy some great music on the Bandstand. The first act, Liv Turner, didn't disappoint... she is definitely a rising star (catch her interview in our Autumn issue).
We managed to prize ourselves away from the Bandstand for long enough to grab a seat in the Q&A with Bake Off’s very own Prue Leith! We even got the chance to get a selfie and an autograph. When it was time for lunch, we opted for a mango fried chicken box from Only Jerk, which was absolutely delicious… 10/10 would recommend.
Having booked in for a cooking session later on, we had some spare time to wander around all of the company stalls. We met some lovely people and sampled delicious food and drink from brands like Remedy Drinks, Emily’s Crisps, Little Moons and Joe & Seph’s. Before we knew it, it was time to head to the NEFF cookery tent to learn how to make Japanese bao buns and Hong Kong iced tea with ‘School of Wok’. By the end, we had 6 delicious fluffy buns and a sweet iced tea, plus a trendy denim apron and a kit to make the buns at home!
After feasting on our doughy creations, we strolled toward the Main Stage to secure the front row for Lewis Capaldi and Rudimental. We can confirm that the Scottish Beyoncé does, in fact, live up to his hype… just under an hour of top-quality banter and unbelievable vocals. His performance left the whole audience hyped up and ready to party to Rudimental’s set, which was just as amazing. We even got an adorable 5th member, in the form of Piers’ toddler!
Our first day at The Big Feastival was definitely a success and we went to bed that night buzzing for what the next day had in store for us.
Our first day got us in the mood for trying something new, and that came in the form of laughter yoga. Little did we know that we were in for the strangest 45 minutes of our lives. Laughter yoga is a form of modern exercise involving voluntary laughter while doing different activities like pretending to mow the lawn, make a cocktail or have an argument. Despite feeling particularly awkward throughout, there was a definitive point in time that the fake laughter became very real! We’ve been using laughter since, to diffuse stressful situations.
Having received our daily dose of laughter, we returned to the Bandstand in time to listen to a performance by Katy Hurt, who had an effortlessly beautiful voice and a super cool style. After her set, we were escorted backstage to meet the lovely girls that make up Four of Diamonds. Sitting and chatting with them felt like catching up with old friends- you can find out what was said in our Autumn issue. They soon had to rush off to go and warm up their vocal chords for their performance and we took to the audience to enjoy the show, which was absolutely incredible. Big energy, big smiles and big vocals!
It was then time to pick something for lunch, a.k.a. the best time of the day. A delicious waft of hot dogs made our choice pretty easy. It wasn’t until after we’d eaten that we realised that they were all plant-based, which wasn’t at all obvious from the taste. Would highly recommend Popdogs, if you ever get the chance to try one!
With our stomachs well lined, we decided it was time to join Warner’s for a gin tasting. Sitting down in a small group, we had a talk from Tom Warner about his company and gin production, while sampling different gin flavours. One of our favourites was a Lemon Balm flavour, which we learnt all about the making of. They left us with some seeds to plant our own lemon balm and a voucher for a free G&T at one of their bars.
On the way to watch Nina Nesbitt, we picked up our free G&T to enjoy while we listened. Nina’s stage presence was fantastic, explaining how each song was born, making the songs even more powerful. She even switched between instruments throughout her set to keep it interesting, changing the vibes of each song.
We had a little while before Jess Glynne took to the stage, so we decided we could justify another meal and settled on the gyozas from Rainbo that we’d been eyeing up all day. It was a decision well made and it took all the restraint in the world not to order seconds!
Heading back over to the main stage, you could feel the anticipation in the audience for the arrival of Jess Glynne. Once she’d arrived on stage and got stuck into her performance, she had the crowd at her fingertips and even gave her backup singers the chance to take centre stage. We left completely blown away by her vocal range and how similar she sounds to her recordings… such a talented singer!
Is there a better way to start a Sunday than with a Pina Colada ice lolly, while sitting on hay bales, enjoying a DJ set?! Vic Allen managed to get us straight back into the festival mode, ready for a fun-filled day.
We then went and took our seat in the tipi for a Q&A session with GBBO winner, Candice Brown. It was great to hear all about her childhood, experience on the Bake Off and future plans. After the session ended, we had a wander around the producer’s market, learning about different companies and sampling their wares, before joining the queue to get a selfie and signature from Candice.
Jonas Blue had us all dancing in the sunshine to his fantastic DJ set. He even threw in a White Stripes, Billie Eilish mashup which we didn’t know we needed!
All that dancing made us thirsty, so we headed to the M&S tent to grab a seat at the rosè tasting table. We had a really informative hour with our two lovely hosts, who talked us through each glass and taught us how to drink it properly and what foods to pair it with. The final pairing was a personal favourite… non-alcoholic sparkling rosè and Fizzy Percy Pig Tails… thank you M&S!
After being filled with plenty of wine, it seemed like the right time to enjoy some more food. Even with all the amazing smelling options, we headed back to the gyoza truck to enjoy one last rice box. Despite being full to the brim, on the walk back to the main stage to watch Elbow, the smell of churros crossed our path and it was impossible to resist.
Fuelled with sugar, we took our positions in the audience for Elbow. What a way to finish an unbelievable weekend. They were fantastic and really rounded the festival off nicely.
We couldn’t recommend this festival more highly and will most definitely be returning next year for even more tasty food and drink, talented performers and interview sessions with our favourite chefs! Come at us 2020.