A flavour of Shaftesbury Feastival


Under Jules Bradburn’s guidance, Shaftesbury’s first Feastival is set to be a packed community feast of food, culture and artisan market

When Shaftesbury Food & Drink Festival committee stepped down last year, the town council didn’t need to look far for a new organiser. Jules Bradburn has been running the popular monthly Shaftesbury Market for a year as part of her growing empire of Dorset artisan markets. A one day community festival was soon planned for 5th May, 10am to 5pm.
‘I was excited at the thought of a Shaftesbury Feastival,’ says Jules. ‘As soon as we started to talk about it, it grew and grew. It’s going to be such a special day – a literal feast of events and traders.
‘We’ve been lucky to be sponsored by Gritchie Brewing Co, who will be unveiling a new travelling bar at the event.
‘There will be amazing workshops with celebrity chefs all day in the Grosvenor Arms. Chef, writer and TV judge Philippa Davis will be cooking with local produce, and there be three Cookery Hands On with Lesley Waters and Steve James workshops, focused on using products from the artisan traders. Visitors can spend time with Torie True as she chats about Indian food and cooks recipes from her book Chilli & Mint. Local chef Sunny Sin will be sharing a Thai cooking demo, and Lucy Parr, the Friendly Baker, will be offering tasters and advice on allergy-friendly baking. Mat Follas is running a guided foraging walk, but that’s already fully booked!

‘Excitingly, we’ve been working with Shaftesbury Refugee Group, and we also have a Ukrainian fermentation workshop – the bread is amazing! And we are sponsoring two Syrian refugee families to have stalls at Feastival. Imad and his wife Bayan started Kababji Syrian Cuisine four years ago in Gillingham, and Ammar and Samar’s business, The Hammouds’ Kitchen, is based in Shaftesbury.’
See here for further talks and workshop details – Booking is advisable as spaces are limited. All events are FREE, but when you book Jules is asking for a donation (in lieu of a set ticket fee) to The Vale Pantry, North Dorset’s social supermarket.
Outside, there will be more than 150 carefully selected artisan market traders on the High Street and Park Walk, says Jules: ‘There will be a choice of international hot food available, including Thai, Ukrainian and Indian, as well as street burgers, loaded fries, raclette and roundbelly rice. We’ve made sure there will be affordable options across the Feastival, so that there’s something for everybody. There will also be plenty of stalls with cheese, preserves, savoury foods, honey, cakes, baked goods, cider …’
Away from the main market, the historic Byzant Ceremony will process to the well at Enmore Green – an ancient custom unique to Shaftesbury, in which the hilltop town’s right to draw water required ceremonial payment.
Shaftesbury Abbey will be hosting Tuzzy Muzzy workshops – a medieval term for a traditional nosegay of flowers – and will welcome the choral community choir. There will be more live music on Park Walk all day.
A highlight of the event will of course be the famous Gold Hill Cheese Run. Unlike familiar cheese-rolling contests, in Shaftesbury competitors race up the incredibly steep, cobbled Gold Hill, carrying locally-made truckles of cheese. If you think you’re strong enough, registration is on the day outside the Guildhall, and heats begin at 1pm.
All profits from book signings, talks and celebrity chef events will go to the Vale Pantry social supermarket.
‘The Feastival will be a brilliant day for coming together,’ says Jules. ‘Food is friendship. It’s chatting, sharing, caring, meeting and educating. Food is community.’

Shaftesbury Feastival is on Sunday 5th May from 10am to 5pm


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