On Saturday 28 March I took my favourite vegetarian boots to Brighton for the latest VegfestUK event. I love the sea, even on cold, wet, windy March days, so I had to take a little detour via the beach. After getting my fill of salty air I headed over the road to the Brighton Centre.
I was really excited to browse the 160 stalls, particularly the foodie ones. I tried a lot of products, and of course bought quite a few as well. Some of these were things I already know and love, like Hoots multigrain snacks and Ombar raw chocolate. My top discovery of the day was the crumbly vanilla fudge from Scoff – as I gushingly told the woman on the stall I’ve been craving fudge pretty much constantly since I went vegan, and this really hit the spot.
After my first visit to the stalls I had a good sit down in the cinema and watched a couple of short films from Animal Aid, one about animal testing and another about intensively-reared chickens. They were both interesting, if a little hard-hitting, and served as a good reminder of why we were all there.
After a second trip around the main exhibition and a bit more shopping, it was time to go to the food village for a spot of lunch. I’m so SO bad at deciding what to eat when I’m given a choice, and here I was with an overwhelming amount of choice that vegans aren’t normally used to. I think I changed my mind no fewer than six times before I went for some pad thai with vegetables and tofu, which was delicious.
Then it was time to head upstairs to the UK’s first ever Vegan Comedy Festival. For me, stand-up comedy and beer go hand-in-hand, so I got a pint of bitter from Pitfield Brewery. The comedy was brilliant. The comedians didn’t talk exclusively about being vegan, but I think a comedian who shares your interests and values is bound to be funnier than one you have nothing in common with. My favourite was Jake Yapp, who talked about the different types of vegans (apparently I’m a level 4 because I love tempeh), sang a song that made me cry, and did a live version of this:
I had just enough time after this to head back down and pick up a couple of refrigerated items before the stalls closed at 5pm. I was limited by the size of my cool bag, but I bought some Dee’s sausages (gorgeous, but not the easiest to cook), and some vegan coleslaw and egg mayo from Badger’s.
I had a fantastic time, as I knew I would. I’m moving house this week, so I only really had time to go for the day. I wish I had been able to go for the whole weekend; I don’t feel I got to do everything I wanted and I would have loved to have seen more of the comedy festival. Also, I’d never been to Brighton before, and I’d like to see and experience it properly. Next time I’m definitely going to make a long weekend of it.
http://brighton.vegfest.co.uk/ – VegfestUK Brighton.
http://vegfest.co.uk/ – other VegfestUK events around the country.