My Visit to the Bristol Vegan Fayre Spring Event

15th May 2024

 

Amelia Rose on her recent visit to the Bristol Vegan Fayre in the Spring

 

Last month, VegfestUK kindly invited me back to their annual Bristol Vegan Fayre, after attending their 2-day event last spring. Like last year, their event took place at Document, a former industrial space turned creative arts venue in St Jude’s that welcomes live music and events like the Bristol Vegan Fayre.

The Bristol Vegan Fayre is a chance for vegan vendors, comedians, musicians, and activists from all over the UK to come together and showcase the best of the UK vegan scene. The day boasts over 80 stalls, each different to the next, from Veafy, a vegan ready meal service, selling African inspired cuisine, to Karmaceuticals, a company offering socially enhancing herbal elixirs that mimic the effects of alcohol.

There truly is something for everyone, even those who aren’t vegan. According to VegfestUK, around a third of attendees each year are non-vegan, with many reporting how eager they are to try the vegan diet.

All the stallholders were incredibly friendly and open to chat about themselves or their products. Suma were even happy to answer a few questions about their brand-new range of sparling kombuchas. Suma are a vegetarian cooperative who have been selling responsibly sourced wholefoods and household products since 1977.

Most famous for their range of cupboard essentials and spices, Suma recently launched two new flavours of their organic kombucha, packed with cultures great for your gut health. My personal favourite is the Lychee and Lemongrass, with flavours so sharp and refreshing. The Elderflower and Lemon kombucha is a close second, with bursts of lemon zest that cut straight through the more floral and powdery notes of elderflower. Suma recently triumphed at the 2023 Veggie Awards winning gold for their peach and turmeric flavour filled with heat and a tang of ginseng. Lucy from Suma’s design team kindly talked me through the branding of their tins which includes bold, faded colours behind fun cut-out shapes. I definitely grabbed a few tins to give me a natural caffeine boost throughout the day.

Among the other vendors were Karmaceuticals, who I briefly mentioned earlier. Karma, their founder, gave a brief introduction to their 5 herbal concoctions before letting me choose which I would like to try for myself! After placing a full pipette of ‘Sharp Wit’ underneath my tongue, I was promised better focus and verbal fluency. The key ingredients of Ginseng, Ginkgo and Rosemary help improve cognitive function and mental clarity. Admittedly, after 30 minutes I felt wide awake and found it easier to concentrate on my surroundings. My sober curious friend bought themselves a bottle of ‘Social Fluency’, described as a social lubricant and notably good for occasions where you want to feel more relaxed and confident. Karmaceuticals also offer an energising elixir called ‘Turbo Tonic’ as well as ‘All Night-Long’ to help heighten feelings of empathy and euphoria.

Alongside the vendors, Vegfest also offer an impressive curation of talks, comedy sets and panel discussions. The Running Faster by Running on Plants talk between Tom Pickering and Paul Youd was top of my list to attend. Tom is a plant-based runner and filmmaker who recently released his first feature length film, I Could Never Go Vegan, a sentence often spoken by non-vegans during debates as to why they ‘could never go vegan.’ The film is Toms’ effort to dissect and debunk some of the most common myths about veganism.

Paul Youd is a 58-year-old ultra marathon runner who went vegetarian in the early 2000s to avoid mad cow disease! Since then, Paul has learnt more about the cruelty of the dairy and egg industries and has become vegan. Raised on a traditional diet of meat and dairy, Paul says the vegan diet has relieved him of his osteoarthritis symptoms almost entirely.

With 11 ultramarathons under his belt, Paul defies many harmful stereotypes that suggest someone of his age cannot be vegan or encourage others to be even half as active as himself. VegfestUK clearly understand how important it is for speakers, like Paul, to take up space within the vegan community and encourage an older demographic to listen and get involved.

Vegfest are the longest running vegan events company in the UK, hosting annual festivals in major cities, such as London, Brighton and, of course, Bristol. Vegfest return to Document, Bristol for the second time this year on Saturday 24 August 2024. Tickets are available now for only £5. If you didn’t get the chance to go this spring, make sure to grab yourself a ticket.