Tag Archives: festival

Love Cooking Festival, Bristol

Whenever I brag and rave about Bristol, I tend to mention the festivals that are such a huge part of life here. Sometimes there’s one every weekend, I say and what I really mean is that they’re all the same, pick one and go to it and you’ll find the same stands, the same crafts, the same people wandering in and then leaving again. Some charge and some don’t and occasionally that seems to be the biggest difference.

With this thought in mind, there wasn’t much surprise when reading about the Love Cooking Festival although its location at Colston Hall was an interesting twist. However, who would want to go see people cooking on stage at around £20 a ticket? A visit seemed to be a good idea.

Richard Allen was the first chef I saw and she was announced on stage by Nigel Barden, the food and drink presenter for BBC London TV, Radio and Online.

Nigel did not just do the presenting and introductions but stayed on to help Rachel with the banter and consistency. She had been up since 2.30am to make her way to Bristol and my heart sank a little at the potential half-hearted performance. The show proceeded at a steady pace and Nigel filled in with chat for about half of it.

Rachel cooked a three course menu of Scallops with Brussel Sprouts, Bacon and Orange; Roast Duck Legs; Lentils with Red Wine and a Treacle Tart. Her commentary was consistent, her manner professional and by the end I thought I would try out the recipe. I couldn’t help but be distracted throughout the session, however, with crying babies, half empty rows of seats – it was held at 2pm – and general thoughts of ‘this would be just as good on TV’.

All the slight detachment disappeared when Ainsley came out to play. Ainsley Harriot was on between 4 and 5pm and he was magical. A well seasoned TV presenter who has hosted various TV shows and food specials and is probably best known to daytime viewers as the host of Ready, Steady, Cook for 20 seasons. His ease and charm with everyone in the room meant that Nigel’s role quickly became redundant as he sat back and also enjoyed the show.

Ainsley danced and cooked and sweated and told us all about his life. In the early 1990s he was part of the musical act Calypso Twins with schoolfriend Paul Boross and released a hit record in the early 1990s, “World Party”. We were treated to various renditions of calypso music throughout the show which accompanied his dishes. The chilli cornbread muffins were prepared as a side to Peppy’s Ackee And Salt Fish In De Pan which brought with it stories of his mum. The Chargrilled Jerk-Slashed Chicken brought up opportunities for banter with the audience and he even promised some food to a woman a few seats in front of me.

Ainsley stepped out into the crowd, joyfully hugged a woman celebrating her birthday, interviewed the catering college students from the City of Bristol College who helped out with the preparations, and brought to the stage an audience member tasked with tasting the wine and the food.

He put on a show and I would pay to see him again but I must confess it was Rachel’s duck dish for which I passed by a supermarket and bought the ingredients. The Love Cooking Festival in Bristol was a great example of how not all festivals are alike and there was not a Pieminister pie in sight.

Love Cooking Festival sessions: London, 2 November. Harrogate, 5 December. Tickets are still available.

Dot to Dot: the high, and low, lights

Dot to Dot was a week ago and it’s all started to fade away. My more vivid memories are of Eurovision later that night. Giorgo Alkaio singing OPA and the little German chick, who ultimately won, saying she was ‘freaking out’ in her amazing English.

It would be a shame, however, not to mention the actual event so here are some of my highlights:

  • Blood Red Shoes gig (Academy): a guy submitted to the band’s encouragement to crowd surf. A slow shaky start saw him fall after passing by three people.
  • The Wild Beasts were the tightest performance and the last act we saw. Very good.
  • Kill Cassidy were in the Academy 2 room and had a great sound a la Lost Prophets. Some lovely use of the wawa pedal by this local band from Montpellier. One complaint, theirs, about the mis-spelling of their name – they were listed as Kill Kassidy. I personally prefer the ‘K’ version.
  • The sound at the Academy was really impressive this time around, not sure what happened when I went to see Passion Pit. I wouldn’t mind going back for an event that draws a smaller crowd perhaps.

Some low lights although they had little to do with the bands:

  • The prices at the Academy are ridiculous with £3.80 for a pint of Carlsberg. My pint of lime and soda was £1.50 so it wasn’t too bad but the woman next to me paid £18 for three ciders and a double Malibu and coke.
  • No drinks allowed in the Academy so our water bottles were taken from us. Bags were searched and our wristbands were individually checked for looseness. I think it would have been nicer had we been able to share the ticket price. I couldn’t stay up for Zane Lowe at 1am but I know others who would have. Would have been much friendlier to be able to let him use my ticket. Not possible though.

Blood Red Shoes and Wild Beasts had the venue packed out and it was shoulder to shoulder standing room only. I thought BRS were good but not as great as at Thekla.

Stokes Croft Streetfest Photos

Some more pictures



Bristol Photography Festival: Bristol Central Library

image

The North Somerset Photo Competition asked the young people of its region aged 0-19: do you have a good eye for a photo?

The results are displayed in the library’s foyer and the answer is a definite yes.

One beautifully captured example is the Under 11 Judges Favourite ‘Lining Up’ by Jacob Brown age 5.

image

Bath, coffee festival

A two day outdoor festival will be held in the City of Bath this weekend to celebrate coffee and to help charity. This will be the UK’s first coffee festival which is surprising as it is such a great idea. Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May 2010 will find a whole host of exhibitors showcasing their wares at the Recreation Ground just near the train station.

On Saturday the festival will be on between 10am and 5pm and on Sunday it starts and finishes an hour earlier at 11am to 4pm. Unlike the Affordable Art Fair there is no entry fee. What will be there, according to the organisers, is a great variety of activities from celebrity chef, Martin Blunos, demonstrating how to flavour foods with coffee to Samba classes on Sunday.

My favourite event so far is the Turkish coffee event which takes place between 1:15pm and 1:45pm. A close second is Jean Pierre Auge’s session from 12pm to 12:30pm which mentions coffee martinis. Maybe they’ll even have carajillos somewhere? I can only hope.

http://www.bathcoffeefestival.co.uk/

Stokes Croft Streetfest

The urban cultural area of Bristol, better known for graffiti and Tesco protests, is set to become even livelier next week. A few days ago, a friend from Cheltenham asked if I was going and at that point I hadn’t even heard of it. The flyers are starting to appear around Bristol however or it could be that I’ve only just now had the time to notice the publicity.

The event is the Stokes Croft Streetfest and it takes place around most of that area on Saturday 22 May. Following a public consultation in February, the one day festival was organised in the hope of bringing together the many people who live, work and play there. The aim is to help raise the profile of Stokes Croft’s positive aspects: the art and creativity, inclusivity and diversity.

Activities, described as an ‘eclectic mix’, are arranged over two periods of time: day and evening. During the day, from 12pm to 6pm, there is no entry fee for performances, street theatre, art installations, indoor and outdoor markets which will take place in open areas such as King’s Square and the ‘Bear Pit’.

Events at night, from 6pm to 6am, are accessible with the purchase of one wristband at £5 in advance or £7 on the door. Just Jack at Lakota, the Ten Pound Suit Band at Leftbank and Brazilian Beatz at the Croft are just a small sample of the many acts taking part.

image

For more information visit www.stokescroftstreetfest.org.uk. Tickets are available from the Bristol Ticket Shop, Rooted Records, Canteen and all usual outlets.