Think Abergavenny and there’s a chance you’ll also think of amazing food. Great places to eat, a thriving market and regular street food events and of course, biggest of all, the ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL. Now celebrating 20+ years, its reputation has grown along with the event itself. Not only with the thousands who attend each year but as a place for chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers to come together.

It’s seems after going virtual last year, it’s virtually impossible to stop the festival going ahead this September (fingers crossed). All they need is similar weather to 2019 and the event will be beyond perfect.

We went out first thing in the morning two years ago to talk to some of the traders as they were setting up for what proved to be a hectic weekend. Take a look at what they had to say on our YouTube channel FESTIVAL

The organisers have said about this year…….

We are going full steam ahead to bring you a live Festival over the weekend of 18th and 19th September 2021. It will be wonderful to get back to some proper fun and feasting on the Welsh Borders, albeit in a carefully managed environment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Having experimented with virtual events by necessity last year, we’ve decided to include some in the mix again this time round.

Abergavenny Food Festival enjoys an exceptional reputation as a place for chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers to come together. They are known for being an inclusive and welcoming event, delivering a delicious opportunity for people from all walks of life to explore and learn about food

The Festival is a place to explore and learn about food, and eat a little mre than you think you can. There’s a huge programme of activities, including tastings, masterclasses, hands-on cookery lessons and debates and there is so much for the kids’ to see and do. If it’s food related you can bet Abergavenny has it all.

As the festival weekend finally begins, thousands of us will wander through town over the two days. There is so much more than you could ever imagine at the festival. When people arrive, they inevitably stay for the day, and sometimes well into the evening. With cookery demonstrations, the fringe festival and events at the Castle, why wouldn’t you?

After Hours the Festival party continues. In fact you’ll love the buzz around town in the evening with the night market, a little tipple or two, so much live entertainment, Saturday Night Party at the Castle and of course the legendary firework display.

What we particularly love about the festival is the emphasis it pays on our children. The festival is all about getting them growing, cooking and tasting new things. With that in mind, they run a kids’ cookery school, with lots of free cookery classes for the little ones throughout the weekend. Beyond cooking there is plenty to keep them busy and entertained too.

If you’ve never been to this festival before, don’t for one minute think it’s a load of stalls selling delicious food – well, it is that, but so much more. Through their outstanding programme of activities, including product tastings, kids’ activities, masterclasses, hands-on cookery lessons and topical debates, the ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL provides the inside track on food issues, offer new ideas about the future of our food and showcase rising stars emerging from the industry.

The Festival prides itself on transforming the way we all think about our food; challenging and promoting new ideas, pushing the boundaries of current thinking and encouraging us to look differently at where our food comes from.

(Neil White)

The SOUTH WALES LIFE team have worked on some of the biggest food & drink shows around the country for a long time. We worked out it must be in excess of 20 years. We’ve done everything from Taste in London to BBC Good Food alongside some of our biggest named chef’s (Ramsey, Oliver, Martin, Stein etc). In fact one day we’ll tell you the about the time Mary Berry made us breakfast.

We mention that because we can honestly say that Abergavenny has something very special where food is concerned. It’s about community too. It’s a place where people come together not only to try and watch great food being made, but talk and listen to what experts have to say.

We spoke to Jack Stein (Ricks’ Son) in 2019, he was parked next to us and was running a little behind schedule. As one of the guest chefs he was thrilled to be taking part in such a prestigious event. He said…

‘Abergavennys’ food reputation is well known and respected everywhere.’

Jack Stein

Over the years, the festival has presented some of our best known names in food: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Monica Galetti, Jane Baxter, Jose Pizarro and Valentine Warner, to name but a few. This year we’re sure you’ll get the chance to see some star chefs in action, to taste incredible food but more importantly, have fun with the whole family.

Matt Tebbutt & Freddy Bird (Neil White)

So what about this year? It’s a little early to reveal who is appearing and when, what we can tell you is that the tickets will go really fast, especially after the year we’ve all been through. They are also doing things a little differently, as you can imagine.

You’ll need to buy an entry wristband in advance (no walk-up). They’re restricting visitors to just five thousand a day so you can safely join stallholders, performers, and all manner of culinary movers and shakers for a much anticipated return to proper fun and feasting on the Welsh Borders.

Wristbands will be available to purchase online now – the box office is live.

Party at the Castle (Neil White)

ABERGAVENNY FOOD FESTIVAL is over this weekend, the 18th and 19th of September. As you can imagine it will be busy, as the festival is spread all across town and up to the Castle. It’s really worth a visit anytime (as long as you pre-buy your wristband). For more details CLICK HERE and if you want to check out the 2019 full guide and programme, to get a flavour (sorry) of what went on, just do the same HERE.


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