Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Big Feastival 2014

Having grown up in The Cotswolds and only living down the road from Kingham, we are ashamed to say we had never been to local festival The Big Feastival, hosted by Jamie Oliver and Alex James at Alex's Cotswold Farm. Well, 2014 was our year to see what all the fuss has been about. 

10 of us booked our tickets for just Saturday, not needing to camp over as we live so close and excited to eat as much delicious festival grub as possible. 

As the excitement built we kept a close eye on the weather reports and looking at some dark clouds we half expected rain, so we kitted ourselves out in wellies, lots of layers in the car for later and pac-a-mac's at the ready. However, luckily for us the festival Gods were feeling the chilled vibes and we didn't see a drop of rain all day. 

We arrived at midday with bundles of energy and empty stomaches, ready to eat and delighted that the queuing time was kept to a minimum. 

First stop, The Duck Truck. Duck wraps and twice cooked in duck fat chips. Duck wraps stuffed with loads of tender, tasty meat, lashings of hoisan sauce and chunky cucumber and spring onion. The most delicious duck wraps we've ever had! They Went perfectly with our first pint of the day, some of us going for local beers and others for organic ciders. 

After doing a few rounds, getting to grips with both fields full with activities for the kids, bars, stalls, fair ground rides and plenty of food stands. We found a little spot right in front of the main stage. We put down our picnic mats and settled in for the afternoon. 

First up, the amazingly talented trio from Cheltenham, Duke. A beatboxing band who have taken the nation by storm but still play regularly in and around Cheltenham and Gloucestershire. They seriously got the crowed started and we danced throughout the entire set. The only equipment these boys need are three mics and one guitar, their voices do the rest. They are brilliant at involving and capturing their audience with a good mixture of remixed new and old songs that everyone could recognise. We turned around at one point to look at the crowed who were all on their feet dancing! Check out their stuff on their YouTube channel and follow them on Twitter. 

After dancing so much and working up a second appetite, we hit the food stalls again. DELICIOUS Arancini, deep fried risotto balls filled with oozing mozzarella  tomato and Italian sausage perfect with the Italian larger, Birra Moretti being served at the bars. Some of us also had homemade sausage rolls while others  shared some half lobsters and chips... there was every type of food you could be craving and more. So much to chose from but that was all part of the fun. We went for the little and often technique so we could enjoy as many culinary delights as possible. 

Other top performers were to follow Duke; the beautiful Laura Mvula and Kelis who played some of her biggest hits which had everyone singing at full belt. The Cuban Brothers were hilarious but also super talented, again getting everyone up on their feet after a chilled out set from Laura Mvula. They even had guest appearances from Alex on guitar and Jamie on drums, for a grand finale to their set! All warming up for the headlining act for Saturday, FatBoy Slim. 

FatBoy Slim was out of this world!!! We danced and sang throughout the whole set, he looked like he was having the best time on stage and so were we. The staging, lighting and bass made you feel you were live at Glastonbury, it was huge. EAT, SLEEP, RAVE, REPEAT!... But by the time FatBoy Slim finished, that was the end of our Big Feastival experience. We were brilliantly exhausted as we stumbled back to find our taxi, but still time for a little more food. American style hot dogs, with a pile of jalapenos, gherkins, fried onions, mustard and ketchup on top. Or for the sweet tooth amongst us, Spanish Churo's and melted chocolate. A perfect end to a perfect day! 

Only down side was the music clashed with some amazing celebrity chefs giving cooking demonstrations and talking about their cook books on the smaller stage. We would have loved to have seen Rachel Khoo (although she did walk right past us earlier in the day!), Daisy Lowe and Jamie Oliver doing their thing on stage but we all wanted to stick together and we were enjoying the music in our comfy spot in front of the main stage. 
There was a kitchen sponsored and run by AEG where kids could go and learn how to cook and we did check out Adam Henson's Cotswold Farm Park was there with a miniature petting farm. We couldn't resist holding a cute little chick. In addition to this, the rock star come cheese maker influence from Alex was evident, with the acts chosen to perform on two main stages and the Cheese Hub tent. 

The Big Feastival had Jamie Oliver all over it, his relaxed retro style but still very cool yet rustic, not too frilly and with a great sense of humour. The atmosphere was very relaxed, very chilled but without being too hippyish. It's a family focused festival with lots of young families, children and toddlers with animal tails and face paints running round freely. The fair ground rides and activities for children were well thought out to get their creative juices flowing and keeping them entertained. Even we could't resist the fairground swing ride and coconut shy. 

We had a great day, the acts were huge, the food was out of this world, we didn't get rained on and we met Zoe Ball... what else could you want out of a local Cotswold festival just on your door step? We would recommend anyone going in future years, if the performers are as big as they were this year, it is well worth the money. Next year we would like to try out one of the glamping sites or the beautiful log cabins we drove past with hot tubs on the decks. 

Don't forget that a lot of this is helping to raise money for Jamie's Charity, Food Foundation which has three flagship programmes including The Garden Project, Apprenticeship Programmes and Jamie's Ministry of Food. In addition to this there were many food/aid/education charities doing their thing throughout the day giving out lots of freebies and advice.

For the shoppers amongst you take extra cash! With a whole shopping strip of tents including discounted Joules clothing.

We would have loved to have gone on Sunday too and would really like to hear from those if you did! What did we miss? Millie and Meg x

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