I always look forward to The Big Feastival. I have watched it grow since 2012 when Razorlight and Texas were topping the bill, Jamie Oliver and Valentine Warner were doing cooking demos , and Peppa Pig was the highlight in the Little Dude's Den.
Eight festivals on and all of the original foundations are still there. It's just got bigger and a whole lot better and this year was by far and away the best yet.
They got lucky with the weather. It was over 25 degrees all weekend and no matter what anyone says, it makes a massive difference. They also got a little bit lucky with Lewis Capaldi. When he was announced on the line-up he was nowhere near as big is he is today. I think many people there on Friday were purely there to see him.
In keeping with tradition, Friday was brought to a close with a DJ set. This year saw Rudimental turn Alex James' Farm into Ibiza Rocks with their 75-minute set.
Lucy May Walker was the highlight from The Udder Stage which BBC Introducing took over each afternoon showcasing some rising talent from the UK.
Dodgy and The Zutons both played the main stage on Saturday before Jess Glynne brought the evening to a close.
The sun was beating down again on Sunday afternoon where Barns Courtney produced one of the best sets of the weekend. He was followed by Alex James' Orchestra and an awesome DJ Set by Jonas Blue that would probably have been suited being on a little later than his 4.30pm slot, but nobody seemed to mind. The sad loss of Jade Bird to illness meant that she was replaced by Abba Tribute Björn Again which is never a good thing, and triggered a quick escape back to the Cheese Hub.
Jack Savoretti is riding the wave of success from his hugely successful "Singing to Strangers" album and was perfect as the sun was setting behind the main stag, before Elbow, who I feel were lost on a lot of the younger generation, brought the Feastival 2019 to a close with a customary flawless set that concluded with Grounds For Divorce and One Day Like This from their number one album, The Seldom Seen Kid.
As the name of the festival suggests, food is a huge part of the weekend. You need more that 3 days to sample all of the incredible street food on offer and without doubt the best food ant any festival I have ever been to. The brisket bun, pickled red chilli from Smokstak and the steak from Carcass were both incredibly good. As was the meat from DJ BBQ where you can sing along to some classic rock with T-Bone Chops, not his real name, on air shovel. The fried chicken from Only Jerkin' and Burger and Beyond burgers were both exceptional, and the queue for Souvlaki Street suggests their amazing looking Greek wraps were hugely popular. Sadly I couldn't fit anymore in and have already noted them down for next year.
The Collaboration Kitchen returned for a second year serving up some special edition dishes from most innovative names on the UK street food scene. I tasted my first ever mac 'n' cheese pie thanks to My Pie x Anna Maes (Mac Not Crack) which was ridiculously good.
The NEFF Big Kitchen again played host to an array of demonstrations and Q&A sessions from some of the biggest names in food including Raymond Blanc, Mark Hix, Prue Leith and Gennaro Contaldo.
The thing I love is that the Feastival isn't trying to be edgy or cool in the slightest. In all fairness it would actually struggle if it was when Dick and Dom introduce Lewis Capaldi to the stage following a quick game of "Bogey".
It is just brilliantly British with outstanding food, heaps for families to see and do (under 12's go free) and music which is the aural equivalent of comfort eating.
Timings for the main stage and The Big Kitchen at The big Feastival have been released.
The 3-day festival takes place at Alex James' Farm in Kingham, Oxfordshire from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August 2019 and sees Lewis Capaldi, Elbow, Jess Glynne and Rudimental all headline.
There is just a month to go until The Big Festival returns to Alex james' farm here in the Cotswolds for another year.
There will be awesome music, incredible chefs and mighty fine food and drink from Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th August 2019.
Here are how the 3 days look. Who are you looking forward to seeing?
There is a month to go until The Cotswolds Distillery will be bringing together some great live music, delicious food and their award-winning Outstanding Natural Spirits and a large range of beers from Hook Norton Brewery for one day at the distillery on Saturday 17th August.
From 12pm – 8pm you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a day filled with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including the legendary Kenny Young who will be performing his hit song 'Under The Boardwalk' with 1970's rock band Yellow Dog, swing, rhythm & blues band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
Anyone who buys a ticket will be automatically entered into a special Cotswolds getaway competition with the winner announced on the day of the festival. One lucky person and their plus one will win a trip to the Cotswolds Distillery for a Gin or Whisky Blending Masterclass, followed by dinner in The Back Garden and an overnight stay at Dormy House nearby in the Cotswolds. On top of that, breakfast will be included the next morning and full use of the House Spa facilities!
Click HERE for more information and to buy tickets.
I was honoured to be invited to help judge the regional final of the Cotswolds Distillery Cocktail Competition at The Fire Station in Cheltenham yesterday.
Before arriving I didn't really know what standard to expect. It was very high. We had smoke, chewbacca t-shirts, serious competition, great story telling and a lot of fun with Dan Morgan from Koj Restaurant the overall winner.
Participants were asked to make both a Cotswolds Gin and a Cotswolds Whisky cocktail in 8 minutes, and were judged on their presentation while preparing the drinks, their brand knowledge of the Cotswolds Distillery and its products, the appearance of the cocktail as well as its aroma and, of course, taste.
Dan will now go on to compete in the overall final at the Cotswolds Distillery Summer Festival on Saturday 17th August at the Distillery.
For more information about the festival, click the link below.
Cotswolds Distillery Festival
The Cotswolds has announced that their highly anticipated summer festival will take place on Saturday 17th August.
They will be bringing together some of the best live music, delicious food and drink here at their distillery near Shipston on Stour in the beautiful surroundings of the North Cotswolds.
From 12pm – 8pm you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a day filled with incredible blues, jazz, swing and rock music from 7 different acts, including the legendary swing, rhythm & blues band King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, 1970’s rock band Yellow Dog with their hit song ‘Just One More Night’ and Hipkiss fronted by Patsy Gamble and Muddy Manninen (ex. Wishbone Ash).
A number of local food producers from the Cotswolds will be on offer, so whether you’d like pizza, paella, tacos or a BBQ, there will be something to tickle your fancy. The distillery will, of course, be serving their award-winning spirits and ales from Hook Norton Brewery will be available.
Tickets are just £20.
The music line-up day splits have been announced for the 2019 Big Feastival.
Friday will see the Fun Lovin' Criminals, Lewis Capaldi and Rudimental headline, Jess Glynne and The Zutons will draw Saturday to a close while Elbow and the newly announced Jonas Blue will wrap up the festival in style.
The Big Feastival takes place at Alex james' Farm in Kingham from the 23rd -25th August 2019.
The line-up for Barn on the Farm Festival is always one to look out for in the summer. Previous years have seen Ed Sheeran, Bastille, James Bay and Hozier all perform and this year it's no different with Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender and Maggie Rogers attending.
The 10th anniverary of the festival takes place at Over Farm on 4th - 7th July 2019
You can find the full line-up and tickets at www.barnonthefarm.co.uk
Jess Glynne and Elbow will be Saturday and Sunday headliners at this year's Big Feastival alongside Rudimental who will be doing a DJ set to close Friday night.
Lewis Capaldi, The Zutons and Fun Lovin' Criminals are all on the line-up.
Confirmed chefs include Raymond Blanc, Prue Leith and Gennaro Contaldo.
The festival takes place from the 23rd - 25th August on Alex James' Farm in Kingham.
The line-up for Wilderness has been revealed this morning with Bombay Bicycle Club, Tom Odell, Freya Ridings and Tom Grennan all featuring.
The festival takes place at Cornbury Park from Thursday 1st - Sunday 4th August 2019.
The line-up for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been confirmed with some big names on the bill including Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, James Morrison, Sergio Mendes and Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night.
The festival takes place from the 1st - 6th May 2019.
Members tickets go on Sale on 27th February at 10am, 16-25 Members on Sale on March 1st at 10am and General Sale goes live on March 6th at 10am.
Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls will headline the Thursday of this year's 2000 Trees Festival.
The multi-award-winning festival is a 3 day extravaganza set Upcote Farm in the stunning Cotswold Hills.
He joins You Me At Six, Rolo Tomassi and former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and his Future Violents band.
The festival takes place on the 11th, 12th and 13th of July 2019.
The Specials and Keane will join The Beach Boys as headliners of this year's Cornbury Festival that takes place on the 5th/6th/7th July at The Great Tew Park.
The rest of the line up will be announced in March.
Legendary punk band The Stranglers will close the Wychwood Festival on the Sunday evening this summer.
Now in its 15th year, the festival takes place on 31 May – 2 June 2019 at Cheltenham Racecourse and is one of the leading family festivals in the UK.
The Stranglers will join funk and soul DJ Craig Charles, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam band, Scouting For Girls, T'Pau, Toyah +many more across the weekend.
The Stereophonics are the latest band confirmed to play Forest Live this summer.
They will be coming to Westonbirt Arboretum on Thursday 23rd June 2019.
You can find all information here - www.forestryengland.uk/music/stereophonics-westonbirt-arboretum
The Beach Boys have been confirmed as Sunday night headliners at the Cornbury Festival in 2019.
The festival takes place on the 5th, 6th and 7th July at Great Tew Park.
Tears For Fears have been confirmed to play at Blenheim Palace on Saturday 22nd June 2019 as part of the Nocturn Live events.
They will be supported by White Lies & Scritti Politti.
For tickets visit nocturne.seetickets.com/tour/nocturne-live
Paul Weller and Kylie Minogue have both announced dates to play in the Cotswolds in June 2019.
The "Modfather" is playing at Westonbirt Arboretum on the Forest Live tour on Friday 14th June 2019 while Kylie is live at Blenheim Palace as part of their series of summer concerts.
You can find more info on both below.
Paul Weller - www.forestryengland.uk/music
Kylie - www.nocturnelive.com
If you weren't at The Big Feastival this weekend then you were really missing out. As well as some great music and awesome entertainment, it also boasts arguably the best line-up of street foodies at any festival in the UK.
We have scoured Instagram to find you the best food pics from this year's festival that will make your stomach rumble with envy if you missed out!
The renowned food, drink and music festival, The Big Feastival will be home to the Mexican collaboration of the summer: Patrón the Summer x Breddos Tacos Feasts. This unique dining experience from Patrón Tequila and Breddos Tacos, brings together the authentic flavours of Mexico.
Each day from 7pm, festival-goers will be treated to the refreshing taste of Patrón Tequila summer cocktails, perfectly paired with the Mexican culinary delights straight from the Breddos Tacos’ BBQ.
For those who aren’t able to make the feast, The Patrón Tequila airstream will also be hosting margarita masterclasses during the festival.
Check out the awesome menu below.
If you have already purchased festival tickets, please use the following links to book dining experiences. Otherwise, please add them to your booking when you purchase your festival tickets.
‘Please note: This event is for over 18s only.
For the full Big Feastival line-up, please visit thebigfeastival.com
The summer festival announcements are coming thick and fast and the latest to reveal their line-up for 2018 which includes Squeeze, Decon Blue, UB40 and a UK exclusive performance by Alanis Morissette.
The festival will take place at Great Tew Park on JUly 13th/14th/15th and tickets are available now.
The line-up for Wilderness 2018 has been announced this morning with Bastille, Nile Rodgers & Chic and Kamasi Washington all on the bill.
There will also be a DJ set by Groove Armada and top chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be hosting a long table banquet.
The Festival takes place from Thursday 2nd - Sunday 5th August.
The line-up for this year's Cheltenham Jazz Festival has been announced and it includes some star names from all corners of the globe.
The festival runs between 2nd - 7th May 2018 and will see Van Morrison, Imelda May, Kamasi Washington, Courtney Pine and Omar, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rick Astley + many more acts embark on Montpellier Gardens over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Tickets for Cheltenham Jazz Festival go on sale to Members on Wednesday 28 February, from 1pm; Public booking opens on Wednesday 7 March, from 1pm.
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds will play at Blenheim Palace on Friday 15th June in a series of concerts over 4 nights. Tickets will go on general sale on Friday 16th February.
The Nocturne Live Concerts in the Great Court series also include Nile Rodgers & CHIC, plus special guests Soul II Soul, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, plus special guests The Waterboys and Nick Lowe and Gary Barlow (Sold Out).
Visit www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/nocturne-live.html for more information.
Wilderness Festival is one of the most anticipated weekends of the summer and the 2018 programme is being announced on Tuesday 20th February.
While you wait, head over to their website and create your own Wilderness for a chance to win 4 tickets. It's harder than it looks!
The festival held at Cornbury Park will take place from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th August.