GASTRONOMIC gurus will lead a three-day celebration of food this summer.
A spin-off from the hugely successful food tent at last year’s Split music festival, the Split Feastival Village will take place at Herrington Country Park in June.
The free event promises the cream of the region’s food and drink from about 100 stalls.
Barry Hyde, one of the Split Festival committee members who will be curating the food village, said: “The food tent at the Split Festival – an annual music event held at Ashbrooke Sports Ground – went down a treat.
“Food is often an afterthought at festivals, as the rest of The Futureheads and I have often found. There’s so much to be organised that you end up at festivals with just burger vans and fish and chip vans.
“We realised that if we could create something local, offering exceptionally good food at a good price, we could create a niche, and people loved it.”
The Split Feastival will be part of a number of events being staged which are expected to attract 50,000 Wearsiders to the park over the course of the weekend of June 15-17.
Highlights are set to include a vast array of savoury, sweet, local and international foods, specialist stalls, a farmers market, cooking demonstrations, family attractions and micro-breweries.
Barry added: “The businesses who took part last year, like Juniper’s Pantry (a deli in Barnes), are all so passionate and so well-trained in what they do. They offer things you just can’t get anywhere else in Sunderland.
“The carbon footprint of exporting food is horrendous but there is so much you can buy right on your doorstep. It’s all part of a renaissance of British food at the minute. The celebrity chef-obsessed culture we have now is a great thing because it encourages people to think about what they eat.”
In research for the event, organisers have been attending food festivals around the country in the hope that they can make Sunderland’s version a regular calendar date.
Martyn McFadden from Split said: “First and foremost we want to focus on Sunderland businesses and food but we’ve also had interest from businesses from Northumberland and further afield.”
l Anyone interested in exhibiting at the event can email firstname.lastname@example.org