VegFest 2013

All aboard! VegFest 2013

On 24May 2013 with a sense of foreboding we cycled across London to Paddington Station to board the 11.30am train to Bristol Temple Meads Station. A temperature of 11C and lashing wind and rain brought murkiness to what should have been a beautiful spring day. “Ugh! This weather is going to ruin VegFest”, I thought.

Seated in the cosy confines of our First Great Western booth we tried to forget about the weather. To the left and to the right we passed field upon field of shocking yellow oilseed rape. Is rape the only thing that will grow well in this weather?

As we stopped at each station I couldn’t help noticing the passengers wearing puffa jackets, a lady wearing sheepskin gloves and men with hats pulled down so low as to almost cover their eyes. But I needn’t have worried because by the time we got down to Bristol the storm had passed.

Vegfest is Europe’s and perhaps the world’s biggest vegan lifestyle event of the year. On the second bank holiday weekend in May the veggie and the veggie curious descend on Bristol’s Harbourside for a weekend of music, speakers, comedy, demos, food stalls workshops and films.

We first attended VegFest when it was known as The Vegan Fayre. So it was great to be back for the 10th year anniversary and to be on the other side of the stall at the Fry’s stand. Some of you might remember that we attended Animal Aid’s Xmas Fayre with Fay Gay Vegan and Josh as Pat and Lisa Drummy had to make a trip to South Africa during this time and couldn’t attend. Prior to working at the fayre we were asked to do a bit of recipe development to illustrate how you could prepare Fry’s products in fun and festive ways in the run up to the holiday party season. It was lovely to hang out with the Fry’s team and get the full-on experience of cooking up and handing out samples for an entire weekend. It was fun, but it sure was thirsty work.

 

 Food Producers

 

Fry's UK

Fry’s UK

 As it was a working weekend for us we spent most of our time under the big tent (the main marquee). Tim, VegFest show founder and organiser, has done a great job. This year’s event was bigger and better than ever. Lots of food producers were on hand to give out samples and special offers. Fry’s, Vegusto, Natural Balance, Goodlife Foods, Moo Free Chocolate Company, Goody Good Stuff, Good Hemp, Ms. Cupcake, The Cat and the Cream, Sheese, Gusto Organic, Samuel Smith Brewery, Koko Dairy Free, Riverford Organic, Razzle Dazzle Ices, Pulsin’, The Chocolatier, The Heavenly Cake Company, Wheaty, Yaoh just to name a few.

Before the show kicked off and it started to get really busy, I took the opportunity to take some photos of some of the people behind the brands you know and love.

 

Nakd

Nakd

 Happy Cow

 

 As I was making the rounds I bumped into the Happy Cow, yes the purple Happy Cow of internet fame. Well, a very tall person dressed in a purple cow costume, very hard to miss. Happy Cows are also one of the most helpful cows you’ll ever hope to meet. When you have a trip planned to say Bratislava, Happy Cow is the first port of call to find out where all the good veggie and vegan cafés, restaurants and health food stores are.

Huge surges of attendees were now crowding the isles and by the time I thought about getting a photo the Happy Cow had moved on. And I had to get back to the stall. So I missed my photo opportunity.

To see more photos check out the gallery.

 

The Vegan Lifestyle Isn’t All About Food

 

It wasn’t all about the food. Wills Vegan Shoes, Ecotricity, Fresh Therapies, Lush, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Living Naturally, Jason, Ethical Investors, Sea Shepherd UK, Animal Aid, BUAV, and many, many other exhibiters were on hand to sell their products or promote their mission.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity

 

Entertainment

 

The exhibition floor was buzzing and when I did a quick whiz around the demo, talk, and workshop areas they were well attended too. The energy from the day’s program couldn’t help, but carry over into the evening’s entertainment.  And what an impressive music lineup it was. The musical talent included The Happy Mondays, Caravan Palace, The Farm, 808 State, Peter Hook, club Yeyo, The Abyssinians, Macka B, Kitten and the Hip and the Boxettes.

The VegFest team clearly demonstrated that they have a talent for organizing multifaceted events.

 

Attendance

 

Here are the stats from the VegFest Bristol homepage.  I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the best-attended event yet.

 

20,000 visit VegfestUK Bristol 2013

Massive thank you to all our visitors to this years event – once gain we were blessed by the weather for the weekend, although Friday was little challenging.

Here’s the approx breakdown for your info

Friday evening 2,800

Saturday Daytime 5,100

Saturday evening 3,600

Sunday Daytime 7,400

Big thanks to all our stallholders and sponsors, speakers and entertainers, all our contractors and all our volunteers and supporters, as well as the authorities – you have been sublime.”

 

If you have never attended a VegFest before I hope this post intrigued you enough to want to attend the next one. If it’s been a while since you last attended, it’s a great time to return as the festival gets bigger and better every year. The first ever London show will take place in October so you don’t want to miss it.

We’ll see you there.

Ms Cupcake

Ms Cupcake

Broad Quay

Broad Quay

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