Though a relative newbie, The Big Feastival has fast become a favourite with the family festival crowd and with two super-cool dads Jamie Oliver and Alex James as its poster boys, it promises to be a rock n roll foodie extravaganza with family at its heart.
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 adds his culinary clout to gather an impressive roster of chefs who perform cooking wizardry to tantalise tastebuds.
With super-star chef Jamie Oliver as your host, it’s a given that the foodie offering will be spectacular, but this year’s music line-up is pretty tasty too, with headliners Paloma Faith and hot newcomer Ella Eyre rocking alongside festival fav ravs Example and Dizzee Rascal to get the crowd bobbing
Jamie Oliver and Alex James have nine children between them (Jamie has three daughters and one son, while Alex has three sons and two daughters), so they both understand that a festival needs plenty of child-friendly fun to keep kids entertained and happy.
The Big Feastival has heart and soul, too: a percentage of proceeds go to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project which encourages school children to grow their own produce; Fifteen Appretice Programme for young chefs, and Jamie’s Ministry of Food, which promotes cooking skills.
Musical Maestros This year’s impressive musical offering over the weekend includes Norman Jay MBE, DJ Groove Armada, the Cuban Brothers, Heaven 17 and Flyte on Friday; Dizzee Rascal, Example and DJ Wire, Ella Eyre, Grandmaster Flash and Duke on Saturday, with Paloma Faith, The Feeling, Sophie Ellis-Bextor Roots Manuva and Maxi Jazz on Sunday.
Featured Fun The roster of illustrious chefs joining Jamie to put on their own theatrical performances of culinary wizardry includes Gallic charmer Raymond Blanc, Gennaro Contaldo, Monica Galetti, Nathan Outlaw, Gizzi Erskine, and Mark Hix to name a few. You won’t want to miss the flamboyant Christian Stevenson, aka DJ BBQ who has been cooking up a storm with his culinary showmanship using traditional artisan techniques of the USA’s Deep South (he’s also a presenter on Jamie Oliver’s new FoodTube television channel).
There’s also plenty to savour by way of tasting sessions and demos, including sessions for families and kids, chef Q&As and lively food-related debate and discussion. If you fancy grabbing your moment in the spotlight, the Udder Stage is where you can join workshops and perform.
Also brand new for 2015 is the Healthy Living Zone, which will feature specially curated talks and health food tutorials while The Action Station will re-energise even the sleepiest of heads, with a full program of activities. Health food pioneers Deliciously Ella, Natasha Corrett and Hemsley + Hemsley are among the special guests promoting their unique brands of delicious, nutritious eating and general well-being.
The Zones AEG Big Kitchen; AEG Family Kitchen; Healthy Living Zone, Little Dudes’ Den; The Udder Stage; Cotswold Park Farm; Vintage Funfair; The Cheese Hub; The Wheat Project; The Bandstand; Lifestyle Market; Food and Drink Markets.
- The hotspot for little festivallers is Little Dudes’ Den, housed in the Big Top, featuring traditional village fete games, a vintage funfair with helter-skelter, face painting, storytelling, dance lessons 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 charming retro Little Bird collection for Mothercare), invest in a quirky animal tail from TellTails (a just sitting-up baby with a dino tail is so adorable!) or funky boots and welly wanging at Joules, healthy snacks from Mini Nom Noms, Happy Monkey Drinks, BKD and Bear Nibbles.
- Enjoy a wide array of collection of children’s books from Imagination Adventures.
- Transform your kid’s faces into their favourite super hero, animal or fairy with Cheltenham Face Painting.
- 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 at “The Wheat Project” following from last year’s success with Potato Patch. With the expert guidance of the Royal Agricultural University, pick your own wheat or rye then mill it into flour at the on-site mill with the help of FWP Matthews Millers, before joining the team from Hobbs House Bakery to make their very own dough and produce wonderful flat bread creations. Mmm, we can almost smell that fresh-baked yumminess already!
- The Big Top Tent with Mini nom noms will take little visitors on a big voyage of discovery, with yoga moves, storytelling, jam sessions and dance lessons inspired by travels around the world. Tatty Bumpkin, Mampara Dance and Betty Bloom will be there to teach every some new moves.
Dining Tables Food definitely takes equal headline billing at this festival, with 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. Street Food Alley features the best of the British street food scene, including Mac ‘N’ Cheese at Anna Mae’s, East Asian delights from Dorshi, tasty hotdogs (gluten-free meat or vegetarian) from Popdogs, and a “nose to tail street food menu” from The Cauldron. There’s also a host of festival food stands, including award-winning Cafe Môr for lobster sandwiches and beach beef burgers, Churros Garcia, deliciously buttery sweetcorn at Cotswold Corn Roast Company, Indian cuisine at JoHo Soho, Mexican at Los Churros Amigos, Paellaria, crispy duck wraps at The Duck Truck and The Fabulous Fish Finger Company.
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
Weekend Tickets Adult, £129.50 | Teen (13–17 years), £69.50 | 12 and under, free | Day Pass Adult £47.25 (Friday), £69.50 (Saturday); £69.50 (Sunday) | Teen £21.15, £42.25, £42.25 | 12 and under, Free.
Photography Credits: The Big Feastival
* Want to see more family-friendly festivals for 2015. Check out our 12 We Love… Summer Festivals round-up *