Two weeks ago I went to my first Vegfest, it had moved to the Brighton Centre and was apparently bigger than ever! There were 160 stalls over two floors, and 15 caterers serving hot food. I bought my tickets a couple of months in advance and got two weekend tickets for only £8 as it was buy one get one free. I definitely recommend checking their website and getting the early-bird deals. One of the biggest aims of Vegfest, is to provide helpful information for those thinking about going vegan, and if that doesn’t do it then the array of vegan sausages, cakes and chocolates surely will! As I am already vegan, I was going with a view to widen my knowledge of available vegan brands and products, it certainly did that.
On the saturday, I was surprised at the long queue to get into the venue, but luckily it only took about 10 minutes to get in.
It was busy. It was loud. It was hectic.
There was a bit of crowding around stalls, more than once I had to snake a hand through small gaps to grab a small taster sample. In fact, we concentrated on eating as many free tasters as we could, and most of it was chocolate! After a while of this my appetite for lunch was almost ruined, but luckily it was soon regained in the queue for a delicious Jamaican meal of chickpea curry and coconut rice. SCRUMMY. There was even actual blobs of coconut flesh in the rice, making it oh-so-creamy.
I didn’t get round to seeing/hearing any talks. There was a small section in the main lobby with someone trying to shout over the general hubbub of the crowds, which didn’t seem very appealing. I was vaguely interested in seeing some comedy, but it wasn’t signposted very clearly and I think was tucked away somewhere. If it had been more obvious I probably would have stopped to listen, but the food court and shiny new product stalls were too much of a draw for me. I think the layout in general was a bit confusing actually, there was so many doors to wings and flights of stairs, that I could never remember how to get back to a stall I’d seen earlier. Even the layout of the stalls wasn’t great, everyone was milling around going in every-which direction and blocking up the walkways as they gathered around or queued at stalls. I’ve always been really impressed with how the Tiger store in Brighton is laid out in a way that, quite simply, forces you around the whole shop, past every product, to the tills, and finally back out the door. No choice in the matter. I reckon Vegfest would have benefited from a layout such as that!
Sunday was a little quieter, no queue, and there wasn’t so much elbowing going on around the stalls. On this day I wore my feeling vegan t-shirt, and put on my best smile to try and get some goodies from my favourite stalls to review for this blog.
It worked! I came back with a good haul and have been taste-testing them for you all week before I start writing individual product reviews.
So would I recommend going to Vegfest Brighton 2016?
No, if you want a relaxed day out with the family.
No, if you hate crowds, lots of noise, and queuing for 15 minutes for your lunch.
Yes, if you’re thinking about going vegan as there is lots of information and organisations to talk to.
Yes, if you want to cram your mouth with as many tasters as possible, like me!
Next up, I’ll be reviewing my favourite products from Vegfest (see my haul above for spoilers!) and telling you how you can get your hands on them.