‘Yes, yes, yes it’s the summer festival, the truly detestable summer festival’ – Scottish singer Edwyn Collins wrote these lyrics 17 years ago, when the festival scene wasn’t nearly as bloated as it is today. But surprisingly, with organic this and sustainable that, festivals have changed for the better, and much of the detestable is now pleasantly digestible.
As there are more summer festivals these days then there are good bands to play at them, it’s not a bad idea to narrow your choices down by what else is on offer beyond music and (hopefully) sunshine. We’re talking food… of course.
Not only is food something to think about, if you’re planning on camping for three days in the middle of nowhere, you want to make sure you avoid a situation like what happened at the Sasquatch Music Festival, in the US, in 2010 – there was a salmonella outbreak! Salmonella and portaloos, need I say more.
If that thought has scared you into wanting nothing but top food quality, then Bestival really takes the cake. The festival which takes place in the beginning of September, on the Isle of Wight, has made food a big priority.
Look out for the Young British Foodies Tent, which will be made up of food stalls hosted by – as the name suggests – Britain’s best young foodies. They conducted a nationwide search to find who would be the most worthy chefs, street food vendors, bakers, distillers, coffee roasters and baristas to set up shop (or kitchen).
Not only will you find high quality meals and snacks, you can also enjoy your food at a nice table, participate in bread making classes, or perhaps even listen to talks by the fine foodies themselves and some of the celebrity judges.
Reading Festival isn’t going to this much trouble, but they do take standard and affordability into account. Every food trader at the festival is inspected and monitored by Reading Borough Council Environmental Health Officers. The stalls will also be awarded an Alfresco Award star rating, so you can see which food has the highest food safety rating. Five’s the highest and zero the lowest.
The food prices are also regulated, so unless you want something like top notch organic meat, then prices will more or less be the same across the board.
If you want to go really cheap, then drop into one of the on-site supermarkets for a loaf of bread and cheese, or take Reading up on their offer to provide all ticket holders with a free burger and beer on the Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re into more boutique festivals, then Secret Garden Party is where you’ll get served up something different. Perhaps drawing on the jungle-like surroundings, they’re known to have hog roasts, lamb tagines and steak and stilton pies. Don’t worry vegetarians, there’s also an abundance of options to suit your tastes – hot globe artichokes, classic mac and cheese, and organic stir-fried veggies.
It looks like it’s safe to say that due to evolution, gone are the days where your only option was a soggy festival hamburger. Tell us, which festival has exceeded your food expectations?
Top image by Fussy Onion: http://bit.ly/N0KSxC