Famous faces, a brand new venue and world class food

The largest food and drink festival of its kind in the UK is now in its 17th year. The 2022 Bolton Food & Drink Festival will take over venues across the town from Friday 26 - Monday 29 August. 

Due to an online festival in 2020 and a reduced capacity event last year, both due to the pandemic, this year’s festival will be the first full capacity event since 2019 and organisers are hoping for bumper numbers. Last year the festival attracted over 400,000 visitors to the town. This year they’re hoping for more.

People At Bolton Food Festival
The biggest food festival of its kind in the UK Image: Bolton Food & Drink Festival

Huge headliners set for Bolton foodie weekender

First things first, it’s worth noting the big guns are coming to Bolton. Ever heard of a bloke called Ainsley Harriott? Of course you have. Food TV legend Harriott will be treating crowds to three cooking demonstrations on Sunday 28 August, dishing out expert tips, anecdotes and a few dance moves to boot in the majestic confines of the Albert Halls.

A certain hairy biker is pencilled in too. Si King, fresh from recent BBC series The Hair Bikers Go North - which dedicated an episode to Lancashire - will be partaking in three live demonstrations on Saturday 27 August. Presenter Jenny Powell will be quizzing Si on all things food and biker, with plenty of tips, tricks and foodie advice to glean from one half of TV’s favourite motorised cooking duo.

Not one, not two, but three celebrity headliners will be appearing at the festival with James Martin appearing on Friday with three demonstration slots. Martin will be making his long-awaited return to the festival and as well as the demonstrations there’ll be masterclasses throughout the weekend in association with James Martin’s London Dry Gin.

Happy People At Bolton Food Festival
Over a hundred food vendors will be serving the foodie crowds Image: Bolton Food & Drink Festival

Regional chef demonstrations will also be taking place across the weekend with a stellar line-up. Watch the likes of Robert Owen Brown, Simon Wood and Bolton’s very own Bake Off star Makbul Patel guide you through amazing dishes. No doubt lucky audience members will get a chance to taste the results.

Bolton Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Hilary Fairclough, said:

“The live cookery demonstrations are such a big part of the festival, and we are looking forward to having a full programme for the first time since 2019.”

“It shows how highly regarded the festival is that we continue to attract some of the best chefs in the country to show off their skills right in the heart of Bolton.”

Bolton Food And Drink Festival Night Time
Over 400,000 visitors last year Image: Bolton Food & Drink Festival

Faulty towers dining, celeb afternoon tea and sustainable lunches

All those demonstrations will no doubt leave you salivating. Thankfully there’s plenty to get stuck into on the food front too. Like a 3 course meal with added humour? The Faulty Towers Dining Experience will be touching down in Bolton bringing with it an immersive show of classic comic chaos thanks to Basil, Sybil and Manuel.

Elsewhere there’s the chance to have afternoon tea with Bury-born TV favourite Lisa Riley. Lisa will be hosting a very special Indian streetfood-inspired event with special takes on the classics designed by award-winning chef Sushma Solanki. From edible spoons with cream cheese and salmon to chicken tikka sandwiches. The Emmerdale and Strictly Come Dancing star will be on hand throughout the meal with tales of the biz and plenty of foodie chat.

There’ll also be an opportunity to get your traditional afternoon tea fix with a special collaborative edition between RHS Bridgewater and the Field to Fork Project at Rumworth School. Scones, jam and desserts will be courtesy of the Kitchen Garden at RHS Bridgewater whilst mini kebabs and feta and spinach parcels will be made from seasonal produce from Field to Fork.

Elsewhere Ainsley Harriott and guest chefs will be partaking in a Caribbean cook-off, taking part in a one-of-a-kind race against time to create a show-stopping Caribbean meal. If you’ve ever watched a little show called Ready, Steady Cook you’ll know how fun a bit of timed cooking can be. That energy, but in an interactive cook-off.

A Band At Bolton Food Fest
Rock out with your wok out Image: Bolton Food & Drink Festival

Hairy Biker band and over a hundred food stalls

If all that wasn’t enough, this year’s edition of the festival will see over 180 market stalls ranging from local produce to artisan food traders spread across the town centre. As ever, the market will showcase the region’s finest produce and ingredients as well highlighting local delicacies and artisans. As ever, visitors can expect familiar faces with local regulars on the roster including What’s Your Beef, Definitely Maybe, Dutch Fishman, Istanbul Kitchen and Churtopia with something for everyone.

It wouldn’t be a festival without music, right? Who more fitting to headline the music offering than Hairy Biker Si King himself? He’s going to be a busy lad. Si’s band The King Cush Band (excellent name) will be headlining one of the festival’s two music stages on Saturday night giving those in attendance a chance to boogie to a mix of rock, disco and soul tunes.

Hairy Biker Si King said:

“We are really excited to be playing at the Bolton Food & Drink Festival this year, it’s always such a laugh and being able to play at the amazing Albert Halls is an honour, everyone in King Cush is really looking forward to it, it’s going to be an absolute blast”

A Pirate Entertaining Children At Bolton Food Fest
Something for all the family, including pirate relatives Image: Bolton Food & Drink Festival

There’ll be plenty of music throughout the weekend as well as kids and family activities, live entertainment and a range of associated events taking place across venues in the town. Get yourself a festival wrist band for £2 and you can make the most of deals at participating restaurants, pubs and cafés throughout the whole of August and September.

Councillor Hilary Fairclough, Cabinet member for Culture said:

“This years Food & Drink Festival is so exciting the sheer variety of events and shows on offer is incredible.”

“Everyone involved has worked really hard to offer something for everyone, the festival is a real cultural highlight for Bolton and I for one cannot wait to welcome everyone to the festivities in August.”

Bolton Food & Drink Festival runs from Friday 26 - Monday 29 August 2022. General entry is free but tickets may be required for special events.

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