North East Vegan Festival returns to Sunderland - after sparking wave of successful events

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Thousands of veggies are set to descend on Sunderland as the city once again plays host to the North East Vegan Festival (NEVFEST).

The event, which takes place at the Stadium of Light on Sunday May 15, will see the scores of stalls laden with animal-free food and drink, as well as stands from groups and organisations.

Founder Gareth Edwards

Founder Gareth Edwards

NEVFEST is organised by North East animal charity Farplace Animal Rescue as a way of celebrating the vegan lifestyle, encouraging others to try cutting out meat, dairy and eggs from their diet, as well as raising funds.

Founder Gareth Edwards said the runaway success of NEVFEST has led to a string of events in other cities, as well as other fundraising ventures.

'Sunderland inspired us to run the first Irish Vegan Festival in Belfast this year last month with over 2400 people attending," he said.

"We are in London in June, Newcastle Metro Arena in July, Cumbria in August, Cardiff in September and Edinburgh in October before returning to the magnificent Stadium of Light, our original home for November to complete a busy season of events."

The first NEVFEST took place in November 2013 and Gareth said this year Farplace was organising a total of eight vegan festivals.

"We now have a dedicated vegan events manager in post and a vegan store in Clayton Street, Newcastle. Sunderland paved the way for this expansion," he said.

"(In Sunderland) this year we have lots more great live music, three great films and a controversial photography exhibition for adults only to highlight in a challenging way the cruelty inherent in the meat and dairy industries - Heidi Mary Porter, the campaigner and subject of the photography, is travelling up to Sunderland for the exhibition.

He added: "This year we have extensive support from the largest Meetup Group, North East Veggie Socials."

The event on Sunday May 15 runs from 10.30am to 5pm.

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