The Stroud Festival of Food and Drink will return to the town this weekend, with music, guest speakers and masterclasses packed into the three-day event.
Into its second year, the Festival has a host of big names lined up between Friday 19th and Sunday 21st May.
Food campaigner Jack Monroe will be in conversation to open up on Friday evening at The Sub Rooms and Oz Clarke will host a set of wine-tasting masterclasses before a handful of experts will be talking to the crowds about scotch whisky and rum. RSVP Bhangra will also be performing on Saturday night at a subsidised festival rate of £6.
The organisers aim to highlight the Saturday Farmers Market, bars, shops, restaurants, markets and cafes.
This year all of the food demonstrations will be free to attend and will be taking place in Lansdown Hall with local chefs such as Erin Baker, The Circus Chef and Matt Beardshall and Bank Gardens will once again play host to a family festival with dozens of free activities for kids whilst you’re sampling the street food on offer.
Fawkes Place will feature a number of food trucks and The Big Red Bus bar will be back in town on London Road surrounded by even more food trucks and market stalls. A Polo Gin truck can be visited and a Woodchester wine bar will be serving their award-winning wine outside the Sub Rooms. Weber barbecues will provide free lessons and demos in the Five Valleys Centre and Vegan Alley is back along Lansdown with a great selection of plant-based street food and the ever-popular Vegan Market will be on Cornhill on Sunday, May 21st.
Kicking off the festival with a conversation session in The Sub Rooms Ballroom is Jack Monroe, the food writer, journalist, and activist who rose to prominence in their blog ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ (previously titled ‘A Girl Called Jack’) about living on a £10 food budget with their young son, before going on to write several books centred around cooking on a budget, as well as featuring in The Guardian, The Echo, The New Yorker and The New York Times.
The popularity from this has allowed Monroe to become a regular campaigner for a range of causes in the UK, working with Oxfam and The Trussell Trust among others in the fight against poverty and hunger.
World-renowned wine taster Oz Clarke will host two masterclasses on Saturday and is known for his wit and no-nonsense approach, winning him several awards at home and across the pond. Tickets to his sessions will cost £46.50.
RSVP Bhangra will close out Saturday evening in the Ballroom after playing huge stages at Glastonbury in the last 10 years as well as WOMAD and concert venues across the UK and Europe, blending Punjabi Indian music with dance beats and mainstream pop to create their own unique sound.
Local venues The Retreat, Woodruffs Organic Cafe, Star Anise, The Shambles and many others will also be getting involved to create a stunning selection of everything Stroud has to offer.
The public is urged to use public transport to get into the town centre and the entire festival is within easy walking distance and almost entirely wheelchair users and mobility-scooter friendly. However, if parking is required, there are a number of council and private car parks around Stroud and disabled parking is available in the Church Street car park, Stroud Multi-storey car park and the Five Valleys car park.
All the information is on the festival’s website and event tickets are available to purchase online via www.stroudfoodanddrink.com or in person at the Sub Rooms box office.
Ticketed events and times:
Friday 19th – Jack Monroe: In conversation – £13.50
Saturday 20th – Introduction to Scotch – £21
Saturday 20th – Oz Clarke – Wine masterclass – £46.50
Saturday 20th – RSVP Bhangra – £6
Sunday 21st – Jennifer Medhurst FREE