The Foodist: How music festival food found its groove
Goodbye dubious burgers, hello street-food mecca – it's festival season, and if you're hungry, the gettin's mighty good
FOR SOME REASON, I remember the Sunday of Reading festival 2006 like it were yesterday. Hastily-bought food supplies completely gone, I was forced to turn to a group of yellowing white vans with open hatches – salvation in the form of a sub-standard doner kebab. £8. Thanks very much.
It was hellish; the kind of food that would have been terrible value if it were free. But in the last few years, something's changed: that particular breed of food truck – the one with the questionably-textured burgers and the hygiene rating scrawled on blank paper with a Sharpie – thankfully, seems to have been relegated to feeding fans at the football (and, as a season ticket-holder, I can say even that offering's slowly improving). Meanwhile, the festival food scene is absolutely booming.
By the time you read this, east London's Field Day will have been fed by an eclectic line-up of traders curated by the king of London street food, Street Feast. Later in the year, On Blackheath will usher in chefs and restaurant pop-ups to rival some of the capital's biggest food events; Grillstock is a music festival borne out of the food scene, rather than vice versa.
Further afield, Secret Garden Party's part to play in festival food gentrification continues with the launch of Soul Fire, its Italian fine-dining hub that overlooks a massive, tranquil lake; and Festival Number 6 is holding 'long-table banquets' as well as a Welsh Produce Market and a huge bill of delicious, albeit largely pun-led, street food vendors (Piggie Smalls, anyone?).
If your fingers are spending some time in the lasers this summer, chances are they'll be well and truly licked clean. Amen to that. ■
Read more about this summer's music festivals at festivalbaby.com