Ben Pugh, who looks after our Caterers and Traders, gives you some top tips for 2018’s festival
I’m now in my 6th year of looking after Caterers and Traders at Greenbelt (which is also my 28th Greenbelt! (I think?!)). I’ve loved being part of the festival for as long as I can remember, so being able to share some of my passion for Greenbelt with our family of caterers and traders is a real privilege. We work hard as a festival to build a core of traders and caterers that make an annual commitment to Greenbelt – stalls that come back year after year, because they like the event, they like our ethos and most of all they enjoy the weekend serving our Greenbelt Community.
This year is no different. We’ll welcome back many long-standing firm favourites – from La Grande Bouffe to the Tiny Tea Tent, Goan Fish to JohnnyBaghdad’s, the Fruit Salad Bar to the Pudding Wagon… (and many many more in-between). We’ll see the return too of some relative new-comers like Johny Cake with their amazing homespun Caribbean flavours, Northfield Farm from just up the road with their hand-reared and hand-made bacon & sausage, and from slightly further afield Pommarola Pizza Gardens serving up real Italian artisan food made by real Italians who are passionate about pizza!
This regular commitment is great for all of us. It means we know what to expect at every stage from our early planning and discussions through to creating a familiar-feeling festival on site too. It also means that we can start day-dreaming about what we’ll eat over the weekend (… as I type my mind is drifting to masala dosa from Lalita’s.)
We’ve been able to open the doors this year to some new friends in our team of caterers and traders. Long before we get to any details about fees or terms and conditions the very first questions are ‘what do you offer’ and ‘how do you feel you’ll fit with Greenbelt’s ethos’, my hope is that this will filter out the ‘stack-em high and sell-em cheap’ burger vans, but also sets a tone. People have to do their research and think about whether they are a good fit for us.
Some notable new additions this year are:
- Flavours of Africa, a Wellingborough based family business specialising in authentic Nigerian dishes, using recipes passed through the generations of their family. All the dishes are gluten, dairy, soya, sugar, mushroom and palm oil free with options for Vegans and Vegetarians.
- For the cheese fans amongst you look out for Woodburns Raclette – this great French street food uses half rounds of Savoie cheese melted by Raclette melters and a “feu du bois” oven, served onto saucisson in a baguette, or just straight onto some artisan bread.
- Manaish! Are going to be serving up their namesake Palestinian flatbreads made in a traditional wood-fired oven with accompanying sides and salads.
- Keep your eyes open for a cute blue caravan where Kitty’s Kitchen will be offering vegetarian and vegan soups, panini and jacket potatoes.
Incredible Bakery Company is back again selling award-winning gluten-free, vegan and allergen-free bread, cakes, pizzas, burgers and more. In addition to specialists like The Incredible Bakery and Kitty’s Kitchen, of our 30 food and drink stalls 27 are able to offer vegetarian or gluten-free options, 23 can offer nut free options and 25 of the 30 can offer dairy free options too. So with the mix of cuisines from around the world and this attention to dietary requirements, there should almost be something for everyone!
We’re also bringing in a fabulous ‘airstream’ bar to sit alongside our Canopy venue, serving a wide range of beverages – both alcoholic and non-acoholic, including hot drinks! Sadly, this means we’re resting the Blue Nun bar, but with more numbers onsite this year we needed a bigger drinks caterer in that magical spot. And I’m sure when you see The Prairie Rose (as the airstream bar is called), it will be love at first sight.
Part of the experiences at many festivals is being able to meet some independent artists and makers – people who don’t fit on our commercial high streets and shopping centres – Greenbelt is no exception. Many of our regular friends will be back this year, from Kettering based potter Jane Follett with her beautiful hand-thrown stoneware to Mamacha offering alpaca knitwear designed by them and knitted in a women’s cooperative that they support in Peru. (And many others .. too many to mention in one blog!)
We’re delighted to welcome some new additions including The Level Collective who create unisex clothing for adventures in the wild and the city – hand screen printed in Sheffield using water-based inks onto organic, ethically made garments. Et Games selling handmade wooden games by Asha Handicrafts, a long established fair trade non-profit organisation in India. You can try your hand on the stall – the Pucket master will be accepting challengers! Or If you fancy learning something new, Flip Juggling will be sharing their passion for circus skills with an all day drop-in workshop where anyone of any age or ability is welcome to have a go!
This year I’ve had an increasing number of emails from friends of the caterers and traders on site. People who trade themselves have heard about Greenbelt and are keen to come on-board. There is little more than I could hope for, as customers the way we interact with our family of caterers and traders embodies the ethos of what it means to be a Greenbelter, it becomes contagious and everyone wants to be part of it!
And don’t forget our own Greenbelt G-Store selling all the usual goodies plus a few new surprises to tempt you.
Enjoy the festival.