Girl in Bristol attends VegFest for the first time on the 25th May 2014
Being a new(ish) Bristolian, the novelty of festivals happening EVERYWHERE in Bristol has not worn off yet. So, I have made it my mission to hit up as many as possible. Admittedly I didn’t had the monies to justify going to Love Saves the Day (which sounded amazing – might I add) but I did saunter over to VegFest after work. Twice.
VegFest is a festival geared towards vegetarians and vegans in Europe; Bristol’s Vegfest falling on the three-day bank holiday in May each year. The event is inclusive of food fairs, cookery demos, nutrition/health talks, child activities and live music which continue throughout the day until 6pm when the venue transforms into an outdoor music gig for the evening. The main evening acts of 2014 being Abba Gold (Friday 23rd), Goldblade (Saturday 24th) and Zion Train (Sunday 25th).
Sadly, I didn’t get to attend the daytime events this year but I did manage to have a quick look around the extensive Vegfest food fair at 5pm with a £1 entry fee on the Saturday before returning the following day after work for some reggae with Black Roots and Zion Train for £5 entry.
Before 6pm, there were a multitude of stalls to visit and sample foods at, each selling veggie alternatives of animal products from vegan-friendly red velvet cookie sandwiches to flavoured coconut milk. The vegan-friendly chocolate was also pretty good, rich in flavour and high in coca content starting at 70%. There were also an ungodly amount of Naked Bar samples to try. My housemate and I ensured we sampled all 25 … Purely for research purposes you understand.
Although some of the foods available weren’t for the feint-hearted. Dared by my housemate following his experiences from the previous year, I did sample a cheese made from nuts which was pretty hard to swallow! Although the soya-made ‘Scheese’ I could have continued eating all evening. Teamed with some crackers and chutney it was ruddy delish! The red Leicester was certainly a favourite of mine and their soft cheese is also part of the Tesco ‘free-from’ range.
Outside, there were also a number of hot-food stands situated near the amphitheatre which served all sorts of yummy foods including vegetarian stews, vegan hot dogs, vegan flapjacks, juices and fried plantain for desert. The latter was a highlight for me, tasting a little like fried banana but far more delicious and sweet costing only £1.50. Alternatively, the guys went for a veggie style mushroom Thai dish which went down a treat also. I recommend you steer clear of the chilli topping in future though, the three of us remained red-faced for a good hour or so after – that stuff is hot!
To wash it all down we headed straight for the popular Bristol Cider Shop stall before the reggae vibes got into full swing which offered a selection of locally brewed booze by the milk-carton full. Without doubt, that cider had to be some of the most delicious (and strong) I’ve had to date. The Butford Organic Cider (I think that’s the one we had) being so delicious we went back for seconds and thirds, and – well you get the idea.
As for the music, Zion Train were all they were made out to be and more. Their rhythm started out slow as they spoke of unity and equality whilst the audience swayed to the sumptuous beat with cider in hand. Then, the beats intensified and the rhythm progressively increased before it climaxed with full-blown, fast-paced dub reggae beats for the final songs. Everyone in the crowd whether they were young or old, hopped, skipped and jumped to their hearts content. All of us shaking our hips vigorously to Zion Train’s infectious music before the evening came to a somewhat abrupt end.
We had a great evening dancing, singing and drinking away at Vegfest. And although the evening ended pretty early at 10pm, drinks at the Hillgrove on the way home followed by a trip dressed in onesies to Millie’s on Gloucester Road were a suitable end to the night for us.
Check out Zion Train’s set here.