With well-loved people’s chef Jamie Oliver and Alex James, former bassist with Brit band Blur (turned gourmet cheese maker), as your amiable hosts for the weekend, expect a menu of fine food and great music for all the family
Both Jamie and Alex are family men, with nine children between them (Jamie has three daughters and one son, while Alex has three sons and two daughters), so there’s plenty of child-friendly fun to keep kids entertained and happy, too.
Musician-turned-country gent cheese maker, Alex James lends his 200-acre farm in the picturesque Cotswolds as the venue for this end-of-summer festival, while Jamie Oliver lends his culinary clout to gather an impressive roster of chefs who perform cooking wizardry to tantalise tastebuds
Now in its fourth year, this is a festival with heart, too: a percentage of proceeds go to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, which focuses on teaching essential food skills to help people make food choices for a healthier life.
Musical Maestros As if the top-notch food weren’t enough to make you happy, the highlights on stage include Fatboy Slim, Jamie Callum, Kelis, Laura Mvula, Norman Jay, The Cuban Brothers, De La Soul, Stornoway, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, and Jack Savoretti.
Featured Fun The focus is a funky fusion of great food meets great music, with a roster of superstar chefs putting on their own theatrical performances (of the culinary variety) on stage. Visiting illuminati include Gennaro Contaldo, Monica Galetti, Nathan Outlaw, Gizzi Erskine, Rachel Khoo, Martin Morales, Mark Hix and Emily Watkins. There’s also plenty to savour by way of tasting sessions and demos, chef Q&As and lively food-related debate and discussion. While there are big name headliners on Saturday (Fatboy Slim) and Sunday (Jamie Callum), tribute bands Bjorn Again and Fleetwood Mac are sure to bring a happy hands-in-the-air sway to the crowds on Friday evening, and tots will doubltless be bopping to Justin Fletcher.
The Zones AEG Big Kitchen; AEG Family Kitchen; Little Dudes’ Den; Cotswold Park Farm; Vintage Funfair; The Cheese Hub; The Potato Patch; Street Food Alley; Lifestyle Market; Food and Drink Markets.
- The dedicated area for little foodie festivallers is Little Dudes’ Den, housed in a brand-new Big Top, featuring village fete games, a vintage funfair, facepainting, storytelling, dance lesson and jam sessions
- Forgot your fancy dress or blew all your bubbles? Stock up on covetable festival goodies at Little Dude’s Shopping Village, where you can buy fashion (including Jools Oliver’s cute retro Little Bird collection for Mothercare) or funky boots at Joules, healthy snacks from Organix, Happy Monkey Drinks and Bear Nibbles, as well as books, toys and games, including Lego and Sylvanian Families
- Meet and greet friendly farm animals – of the feathered, furry and fluffy varieties – from Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park team. Feed and cuddle rabbits, guinea pigs, chicks, lambs and piglets in the Touch Barn, as well as learning about best practices in farming and food production
- Families are invited to get digging and harvesting at the Potato Patch, where you can grow vegetables, pick herbs and dig up potatoes before rustling up a field to plate dish, all under the expert guidance of the Royal Agricultural University and Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project
- Festival stalwart and favourite headliner for the preschool set, Justin Fletcher aka Mr Tumble contiunues his festival tour, promising a Saturday afternoon performance with all his greatest sing-along hits!
- Mr Bloom, from CBeebie’s Mr Bloom’s Nursery, will also be entertaining budding gardeners with a live show
Dining Tables Food definitely takes equal headline billing at this festival, where the chefs rustling up exciting cuisines are rightfully treated like rock stars! There are all manner of world foods represented here – from Goa to Mexico and everywhere in between – all under the unifying edict that they must be simply delicious. Choose from pies, paellas, pizzas and pasta, street food and artisans produce and local wares, including Alex James showcasing his selection of cheeses at the Cheese Hub. There are 32 different eateries in total, so you can dine out handsomely from dawn till twilight, including dishes from restaurateur Jamie’s own mighty empire with stalls from Barbecoa, Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Fabulous Feasts and Union Jacks.
Happy Campers Alongside standard and family camping, there is a variety of boutique camping options from Bedouin abodes to magnificent bell tents, provided by Yurtel. The Glamping Field also offers a range of up-scale amenities, including a reception area and 24-hour concierge service; bar and chill out area serving snacks, cocktails and fresh early morning pastries, kid’s cinema tent, pamper parlour, luxury showers and loos.
The Price Tag
Full Weekend Adult £115 (£140 with camping) | Teen (13–17 years) £60 (£70 with camping) | 12 and under, free. Day Pass Adult £30 (Friday), £65 (Saturday); £55 (Sunday) | Teen £15, £35, £30 | 12 and under, Free.
Photography Credits: The Big Feastival
See more family friendly Festivals in the UK for 2014