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Food and Drink Festivals

Andy Robertson

Taking a different angle to the traditional music festival there has been a rise in recent years of festivals that focus on food and drink as their theme but with the addition of live music and other attractions to broaden the appeal. The popular format is similar to a music festivals but rather than multiple stages and performance artists the focus is on consumption of food and drink.

Event organisers have expanded their coverage of these specialist events because they generate great revenues and are particularly attractive to food and drink related sponsors. There are over 100 such festivals in the UK each year (2020 excepted) with in excess of 26m visitors which compares to just over 10m visitors that attended music festivals.

To see just how popular food festivals are becoming look no further than Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park that has a top line-up of chefs and performers touring round the country with over 250,000 visitors in 2019. The mix of the line-up for their event in 2021 includes chefs Marcus Wareing, Paul Ainsworth and Angela Hartnett plus live music performances from the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs, Craig David and James Blunt. Although this is probably one of the largest food related festivals there are many that specialise in specific genres of food and drink.

Of course, the traditional beer festivals have been going for years but look out for specialist events that focus on wine, coffee, cocktails, garlic, chilli or even oysters for example. In countries with wine vineyards many wine producers have started wine focused festivals that take advantage of their location with wide open spaces for music performance stages along with room for visitor camping plus a multitude of wine related vendors.

This mix of food, cooking and music seems to be a perfect formula for success and the food and drink related festivals are going to become more and more popular. This has not gone unnoticed by the big corporate sponsors too who have started committing to substantial sponsorship deals with the more popular food and drink related festivals. Diageo for example is the major sponsor of the popular annual ‘Taste’ festival that attracts over 500,000 visitors each year. Other major sponsors include Anheuser-Busch InBev who are also increasing sponsorship of food related festivals such is the importance of this growing sector.

Although there has not been much activity in the food and drink related festival sector in 2020 expect the trend of these festivals to continue rising in 2021 with growing attendance numbers and perhaps a wider audience demographic than say a music festival for example the popularity is on an upward trend. Key topic trends for food festival organisers are also driving demand including organic food production and sustainability related issues.

For any food and drink related festival using an event software management platform like FestivalPro users get all the functionality they need to manage vendors, sponsors and visitor ticketing. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has built in features that organisers can use to manage both personality chefs and music artists with dynamic scheduling and planning capabilities.   

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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