... and Grooves and munch much more.
If you’re thinking of cool events, Chesterfield isn’t typically the first place you’d think to look but Laura Ashby and Richard Alsop from Walton have been working hard to put on events that change this perception. They are staging the Food & Drink Festival at Queen’s Park and the Street Food & Grooves Festival in New Square, Chesterfield.
This year sees them run both events again, with more stallholders, more bands and more music. They are also responsible for organising the Bolsover Food Drink Festival and the Matlock Summer Food & Drink Festival. A very busy pair.
“We started Edge Events in 2014” says Laura “offering live music packages, weddings and corporate events in and around the area, hosting events at venues like Casa, Proact and Peak Edge Hotel.”
“I came on board in 2017” explains Richard, “my background was much more festivals and music. I’d worked as a 3rd party promoter, initially at The Grapes in Sheffield and Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow when I was a student, getting people into venues that hold 30 to 40 people but later managing 2000 capacity venues like SWX in Bristol.
"Alongside 3rd party promoting, I also toured with many big bands names, including The Kings of Leon, The Jacksons, Chemical Brothers, Missy Elliott, The Cure, Stone Roses, Sam Smith to name a few...
"My role was a in hospitality, making sure they were comfortable and get them to stage on time, not always an easy task!”
Working together, now Laura and Richard have the necessary skills and drive to create unique events in the area to showcase local producers and performers, and offer a safe and family friendly space in which to enjoy the experience.
Why Chesterfield, I asked? “We’ve been travelling around the UK working on all the major UK festivals for many years and all the time wanting to put on our own events and create a buzz in our home town” says Richard.
“We were tempted to put on a music event but with Tramlines in Sheffield, Y Not in the Peaks and so much in the cities that surround us we decided music plus food would offer something different and appeal to the local interest,” outlines Richard.
The idea was sparked when the pair went to see Gregory Porter perform in Slovenia, while there they visited a huge street food event in the city centre where thousands of people gathered to soak up the atmosphere whilst local producers opened up pop up stalls offering food and drink, it made it really inclusive and appealed to all ages from a few years old to senior members of the family.
Street Food & Grooves (SF&G) was born from this experience. SF&G kicks off on the night of Friday 10 May with a Launch Party from 6pm in New Square, Saturday 11 May from 9am to 10pm and Sunday 12 May from 9am to 8pm. The Square will be full of life with street food from around the world all from local businesses. For more details, visit edgeeventsfestivals.co.uk.
The Food & Drink Festival at Queens’s Park (2nd to 4th August) in its third year has seen attendance grow each year as the variety of food available increases and word spreads. This year it will feature over 80 regional traders, more details at the web site above.
And in the spirit of inclusivity, all four festivals Laura and Richard organise are free, which is great for attendees and shows the commitment the pair have for the area. “Putting on free festivals opens them up to everyone” says Richard, “it is a risk if the weather is poor, people might not turn up and traders really feel it when footfall drops, however, this hasn’t been the case. Attendance has been good, and I hope the people who enjoyed the day will make a date for this year.”
“Last year at Queen’s Park we had quite a large contingent of Steam Punk attendees to see the band Victor and the Bully” says Laura. “The evening finished with them leading the audience on a Hoki Coki around Queen’s Park, a brilliant end to a great weekend, let’s hope they do the same this year.”
If you’ve not made it along to either the Street Food & Grooves or the Queen’s Park Food & Drink Festivals, please put the date on the calendar and get down, support the traders, and enjoy some great food and quality music.