Story by Ben Anderson
On Saturday I made what was a daunting trip across London to Clapham Common, to go to Jamie Oliver's Big Feastival. I know what your thinking – why choose a weekend in Clapham with Jamie Oliver and co over Hyde Park's very own Wireless? But the Feastival struck me as a very refreshing option, and as a food lover myself I thought I should investigate… The formula was simple, and genius – Festival + Good Food = Feastival. In fact I'm pretty sure this was an idea that Jamie Oliver plucked out of my very own brain as I was standing in the queue for an under dressed and overpriced veggie burger at Reading festival a couple of years back and one which I feel is well overdue in many of the UK's leading festivals.
In terms of the music, I was gutted I missed Soul II Soul and the legend himself Roots Manuva on the Friday, and while I was on a mission to eat one of everything in the food area, I did find time to catch The Mystery Jets perform “Two Doors Down” and The Charlatans headline, (although granted, by then I was too full to remember their set). Now this wasn't a money maker for Jamie Oliver himself, all proceeds of the Feastival went to The Jamie Oliver Foundation – a charity which aims to “Empower, educate and engage as many people as possible to love and enjoy good food” and the Princes Trust.
The mission is genuine and one which spans across almost everything Jamie Oliver does in and out of the public eye – the mission was also pretty fitting given that other than the Gourmet Burger I had when I walked through the gates – everything that I ate there was tasty, pretty affordable and new to me – the one thing that stood out to me was The crumpet stall which revolutionised the way I will eat/look at crumpets from now on – with Banoffee Pie and All Day Breakfast only two of the toppings on their crumpet menu! Anyway – I could go on, and on, about what was definitely one of the tastiest of festival experiences, the culinary bar that this has set for my next festival outing and even the guessing game of what Jamie Oliver will do next”¦ but to save you all a bit of time – check out my top 5 highlights of The Big Feastival below:
“¢The live cooking demonstrations were cool – although hustling for a view of Jamie's demonstration was harder than getting to the front of ANY gig I have been to previously – the crowd in front of me was vigilant, the only thing it was lacking was a crowd surfer and moshpit.
“¢The WI (Women’s Institute) Tent has to be a highlight – partly because of the sewing, craft and knitting masterclasses.. .but mainly because of the cake competition – Some of the cakes were amazing – with my personal favourites being the Huge cake cheeseburger, the cake pie and mash and the cake spaghetti and meatballs which were all amazing.
“¢The rides – They missed a trick by not having dodgems but I'm a sucker for anything that goes high, fast or spinning. There was even Gypsy fortune tellers, although I was far too paranoid to get one.Sad, but winning a box of Dorset Cereal – in what was the most innocent spin the bottle I have ever been a part of.
“¢Last but definitely not least- has to be my hero Levi Roots – representing with his very own Reggae Reggae sauce stand – and wow- they have some amazing new products coming out – from the all new Caribbean Cooler juice to Reggae Reggae cashew nuts (but I'm told I am late on the nuts!)
(Special shout outs to the sun, which managed to stay out for the whole day too).
About the author: Ben Anderson is a London based writer. He works as the Community Manager for MTV Staying Alive