- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Anita Rani, Giles Yeo, Valentine Warner, Alice Temperley –
In his celebratory 20th year of River Cottage, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall throws open the farm gates once again for a very special River Cottage Festival. The renowned annual event, held at River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders over the August Bank Holiday weekend, promises to be a brilliant mix of food, live music and special guests.
The predominant themes of the weekend’s discussions and presentations are perennials for Hugh and River Cottage: conservation, sustainability and well-being. Joining Hugh on stage is the TV presenter Anita Rani, Hugh’s co-presenter in their new BBC1 series War On Plastic, due to air shortly. Another TV favourite, Steph McGovern will also be appearing, talking with Hugh about health and well-being, and the new series on that subject that she and Hugh are filming over the summer. Joining them to address the issue of how we can all look after ourselves better will be Giles Yeo, geneticist, author and BBC presenter, also seen recently on Hugh’s Fat Fight.
Food is central to life at River Cottage so a highlight of the event will be the food demonstrations at The Fire Pit, hosted by River Cottage author and tutor, Steven Lamb. He will be welcoming food writer Valentine Warner, chef and food writer Claire Thomson (5 o’clock Apron) and River Café’s Joe Trivelli amongst others. River Cottage contributor favourites John Wright, Rachel de Thample and Naomi Devlin will be leading a full schedule of masterclasses around cocktail making, fermentation, foraging and gut health.
Festival goers can opt for a Long Table Lunch in the 18th century threshing barn, with a 2 course menu of dishes made using fresh, homegrown ingredients from the kitchen garden. River Cottage street food will join forces with local producers including Thali Café, Good Game and Assembelly. There is a fully licensed bar serving local ciders, craft beers and organic wines and the unmissable River Cottage Cocktail Bar. Evening Feasts Over Fire, are led by guest chefs, the incredible Welsh Persian chef Leyli Joon & Co and the brilliant team from Roth Bar & Grill.
The Festival Gigs are back by popular demand and the team are thrilled to announce two headlining DJ sets; Belle & Sebastian’s Richard Colburn and Happy Monday’s Bez. The curated list of diverse talent including Honeyfeet, The Luck and Rum Buffalo, makes it the most exciting line-up yet, stretching from lunchtime to after dark.
To make this anniversary extra memorable, we are introducing a new element to the event, an ethical fashion panel featuring Georgina Wilson-Powell, founder of Pebble magazine who will be in discussion with famed British designer Alice Temperley and Maria Chenoweth (CEO of Traid).
Kids under 16 are free and there is plenty to keep them occupied. ‘The Little Theatre’ space features Tallulah Swirls Puppet Theatre, puppet making workshops, circus performance and skills, storytelling and musical sessions. Elsewhere they can get stuck in to bushcraft, felting, art, forest skills, woodcraft and headdress making. There is a fantastic array of workshops for the grown-ups too venturing into artisan crafts like willow making, watercolour botanicals, paper art and pottery. This year, to reflect the River Cottage emphasis on well-being, the Calm Corner offers massage, reiki treatments and yoga classes (plus family yoga sessions).
With a friendly relaxed atmosphere, the whole family is welcome to stay for the weekend. The grounds are open to campers, either to bring their own tent or to enjoy a glamping experience by booking a stay in a luxury bell tent. Arrive on the Friday for an exclusive campers’ party with food, drink and live music to kick off the weekend.
Visitors can choose from a variety of tickets including Weekend, Daytime or Luxury Camping, all available from the River Cottage website. Children under the age of 16 go free.
For more information and to book event and masterclass tickets, please visit www.rivercottage.net/festival