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About the festival
The Festival was created in 1999 by two local farmers in response to the BSE crisis and the lack of confidence in British farmed foods. With the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001 the difficulties worsened and the Festival wanted more than ever to show what wonderful food we have on offer locally and the passion of the people who make it.
We cherish our history and remain committed to offering a genuine market experience in the rural setting of our beautiful medieval market town, Abergavenny.
In 1999 about 3,000 visitors came, a handful of volunteers ran it and it rained. Now over 30,000 people visit the Festival to celebrate the best in British (and international) food and drink.
Who are we?
We are a local, not for profit company run by a small part time team of seven under the direction of a board of ten local unpaid directors. Between us we have three local producers, a yoga swami, a BBC correspondent, a food writer, a chef, two hoteliers, a town planner, a landscape gardener, an avid golfer, a local farmer and a farmer’s daughter and the Master Baker of Pentyrch.
All in all, we are bunch of local people who want to celebrate food and celebrate our town- nothing more, nothing less.
What’s our purpose?
To bring people who love food to Abergavenny.
We aim to showcase all that is fabulous about Welsh, British and World food and drink.
We want to give visitors the chance to try new foods, chat to passionate producers, get new food inspiration and meet the chefs pushing the boundaries of food.
We host the biggest names in the business: Raymond Blanc, Rick Stein Hugh Fearnley-Whitigstall and Monica Galetti to name just a few. In fact over the last 18 years you’d be hard pushed to find a top chef who hasn’t been.
We eat, drink, chat and debate all the amazing innovations and ideas consuming the food world.
We support local businesses, extend the tourist season and put Abergavenny on the food map.
But most of all, we think Abergavenny is the most wonderful place and want to create something as unique and magnificent as our beautiful town.
How much does it cost and where does the money go?
It costs £420,000 per year to put on the Festival. If we are lucky and the sun shines, we earn enough to keep making the Festival happening. Any surplus we make gets reinvested straight back into making the event bigger and better for next year.
Our prices are carefully set to ensure we can keep putting on the best Festival possible. If we reduced the prices, the Festival just wouldn’t be possible. It’s as simple as that.
What does the Festival do for Abergavenny?
Here’s some of the stuff we do which you might not know:
- We commission and pay for the Market Hall decorations each year, supporting 50 crafty volunteers
- We employ over 120 local young people to steward, wash up, chop & slice food, recycle and clean the festival. For many it is their first paid work
- We have helped young people from Job Centre Wales and Melin Homes secure employment
- We have supported 20 Coleg Gwent Level 2 catering students to gain work experience
- We have helped local sports clubs and community groups fundraise over £22,000 since 2013
- We offer locals 10% Discounts on wristbands for people in NP7, a saving of 30% of ‘on the gate’ wristband prices
- 320 children, as young as four years old learned to cook in the free sessions at the Food Academy
- We support local musicians e.g. Gwent Youth Orchestra, The Borough Band, The Abergavenny Rock Choir, Nidus Children’s Choir and local schools
- We support retailers in town to run promotions or events linked to the festival
- We promote a Fringe programme of local events linked to food
- We were the Winner of the Monmouthshire Business Award in 2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility