Festival food has come a long way from burgers resembling cardboard in stale rolls with soggy, half-cooked chips. These days you can find almost any cuisine you desire, and there are some food vendors that are so good I have genuinely dreamt about them. I’ve listed my ultimate favourites below, I hope you’ll be able to track some of them down and sample their amazing flavours! Let me know in the comments if you do!
The best brisket I have ever tasted. End of discussion. These guys are the masters of meat. They can usually be found in Shoreditch, East London, but in the summer they take their show on the road. Options are pulled pork or brisket buns. Now, no offence to their pulled pork, because it is also pretty damn tasty, but the melt in your mouth brisket with pickled chilli in toasted brioche is so out-of-this-world incredible that choosing anything else is a wasted opportunity. My friends and I have a cult-like obsession. #smokestak4lyf
Find them at: Secret Garden Party, Wilderness
“Fat boxes of healthy stuff” is their motto, and I must say at first I wasn’t convinced to try. But on day 3 of a festival you start to crave something wholesome, and wow does Fat Salad deliver. It’s so delicious you won’t even realise it’s healthy! Their slaw is to die for, and their African stew is filling and warms from within. This is serious festival fuel that will nourish you and keep you dancing. It’s all veggie, and mostly vegan too!
The Quack Shack – @thequackshack1
I stumbled across these guys at Glastonbury last year whilst on the hunt for some cheap yet filling munch. They had a huge queue but I soon realised why… they were selling duck wraps and burgers for £5 each. I had their wrap with hoisin, cucumber and spring onion and it was awesome! Huge cheap munch, what more could you want?
Find them at: Glastonbury
We first tasted Guerrilla Kitchen at Secret Garden Party in 2015, their Bao buns were absolutely spectacular; huge fluffy clouds filled with Japanese-inspired deliciousness. My favourite was the Fat Hen – karage fried chicken with jalapeño, and the Classic with pork belly, cucumber and hoisin was a close second. It was our favourite food of the festival. In 2016 they returned to SGP and we stumbled across them one morning, surprised and delighted to discover they’d added breakfast to their festival menu. I am currently drooling thinking about their thick cut bacon, cream cheese, avocado and pico de gallo baos.
One hungover morning at Glastonbury a few years ago I emerged from my tent in Big Ground, heading up the hill in search of bacon. The breakfast stall had a queue a mile long, so I walked a little further along, and spotted the bright yellow Cheese Truck. Normally I’m not one for a cheese toastie at 8am, but the smell was so enticing, and I watched one being served to a waiting cheese lover and it looked magnificent. I took the plunge, ordered a mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil toastie, and I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that was the greatest decision of my life. Toasties for breakfast are the new tradition in my group and I promise this will be the best grilled cheese you’ve ever had. The goats cheese, pear and walnut is also quite wonderful.
Find them at: Field Day, Demon Days, Glastonbury, Barn on the Farm, 2000 Trees, Farr Festival, Port Eliot, Wilderness, Greenman, Lost Village, Big Feastival, EOTR, Festival No 6, Bestival
The queues for this stall are testament enough to its tastiness. Whether you’re vegan or not, Happy Maki is definitely worth a visit. Giant sushi wraps filled with avocado, sweet potato wedges, pepper, and options of veggie “chicken” and “duck”. I’d known of these guys for a while before I decided to try them because they’re the price of a main meal and I foolishly thought they were similar to an Itsu handroll and wouldn’t fill me up… Last summer I finally went for it and realised how wrong I’d been. They are beautifully fresh and filling, worth every penny.
Find them at: Download, Field Day, Glastonbury, BST, Latitude, Secret Garden Party, Camp Bestival, Wilderness, Boomtown Fair, Green Man, Shambala, EOTR, Bestival.
“Thali” refers to the way meals are eaten in India – a selection of dishes served together on one plate. A little bit of everything… Indian tapas you might say! Whenever I’m in the Park area at Glastonbury I make sure that I pay them a visit. Their dahl is something of a game changer, and the cafe started as purely vegetarian, so most dishes still are. If you live near Bristol I’m genuinely jealous that you have 5 Thali Cafe’s in your city that you can visit whenever you want!
Find them at: Glastonbury and Shambala
Sometimes you just need some good roast chicken, and these guys are the gurus. They do incredible chicken rolls with salad, and beautifully cooked half or whole chickens with the most delicious garlic butter new potatoes. Sometimes in the mornings at festivals I’m feeling a little, shall we say, delicate, so I need something stodgy yet delicious yet simple. I regularly get these soft potatoes and ask for a spoon of stuffing with them as a great way to fill the void. One of my festival must-haves!
Find them at: Download, Glastonbury, Blue Dot, Kendal Calling, Carfest North & South, Green Man, EOTR, Boomtown Fair
For the pure genius of the name alone these guys grabbed my attention at a Boomtown a few years ago. They immediately became a firm favourite after sampling their Bad Boy! What more do you want than chicken, bacon, chorizo, halloumi and slaw in a flatbread wrap? The staff are always super lovely and have some great tunes playing.
Find them at: Gottwood, Glastonbury, Love Supreme, Wireless, LoveBox, Citadel, Secret Garden Party, Rambling Man, Boomtown Fair, Victorious and Tokyo World
Strumpets With Crumpets – SWC Facebook
By far the best dressed vendors on the circuits! These gals bring glamour to tea time. And breakfast time. Basically any time! Crumpets are a staple bread product of England, but until now, no one would have said they were glamorous. Strumpets serve lots of savoury and sweet combinations, jazzing up the humble crumpet with delights such as Nutella and honeycomb, or camembert and red onion marmalade. All served by beauties in corsets, false lashes and glitter.
Find them at: Glastonbury, Kendal Calling, Boomtown Fair, Green Man, Shambala
This little yellow veggie tea and toast van has kept me going at festivals ever since Download 2010. I’d gone to the festival with less than £40 cash and I pretty much lived for 5 days on their toast! They do a fantastic range of toppings, the best for me being their mushroom pâté. Their Gourmet Veggie “Bacon” Roll is famous amongst vegetarians and meat eaters alike, with sun-dried tomato, mozzarella and “bacon”, and they now have the option of halloumi and “chorizo” rolls on their menu too. For cheap eats and a bangin’ cup of brew, these guys will always make your morning.
Find them at: Glastonbury, Nozstock, Camp Bestival, Campo Sancho, Boomtown Fair, Greenman and Shambala
If you hadn’t gathered by now I’m a big fan of wraps, especially at festivals as they’re easily eaten with one hand! Chapati Man has been a huge hit at Glastonbury for years; serving delicious curries, sundries, raita and salad in a flatbread wrap. If you’re a spice lover like me you can ask for added green chillies too! The Keema Aloo (beef and potato) is particularly spectacular, and the Chana Aloo is a yummy chickpea curry wrap for veggies (suitable for vegans without the raita).
Have you eaten at any of these places before? Are there any you’re now dying to try? Let me know in the comments!
Check out my WHAT TO PACK guide if you’re heading to a festival this summer!