Travel Vegan festivals

UK Vegan Campout 2017

July 11, 2017

I just got back from the first UK Vegan Campout and it was the most incredible weekend. Sure, there were a few hiccups (which you’ll see below), but overall the entire event was so positive and fun and generally just a good time. For those who are just hearing about this event for the first time, the campout was organized as a weekend for connecting with likeminded people, listening to famous vegan activists and eating some delicious food. It was held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, and was a sold-out event with over 2,000 people attending. Here’s a quick review of the various elements of the campout weekend.


Food


As always, I’m going to start with the food ๐Ÿ˜‰

Queues for food on day one at the UK Vegan Campout

I was really looking forward to drowning in good vegan food all weekend. However, as we got closer to the event date I noticed there were probably half a dozen confirmed food vendors, and that was it. Doing a little bit of quick math in my head, I realized that there was no way they were going to be able to feed everyone all weekend, and I was right. The queues for food were about an hour long on the first night, and they did not let up until Sunday afternoon when people started to head home.

We cooked some vegan sausages at our tent

We also made some burgers and had a ton of snacks with us

Our new friends cooking up some vegan sausages

Luckily we brought our own cooking equipment and some vegan burgers so we were ok for the weekend. Although we did have to stock up at Morrisons on Saturday.

What the Pitta had huge queues all weekend, and for good reason

On Sunday I did manage to get a kebab from What The Pitta as the queue was only about 10 minutes long, and boy am I glad. I follow these guys on Instagram and their drool-worthy wraps make me want to lick my iphone. And the real thing did not disappoint. I was blown away by how “meaty” and succulent their kebabs were, and the flavours were seriously on point. The other food vendors at the event included local favourite Mex It Up, Battered (tofish and chips), Vegan Pizza Co, Clemies (vegan cakes) and I think a couple other burger stalls rocked up on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately Yorica who do soft-serve vegan ice cream had to pull out.

So yeah, a bit disappointing on the food front, but the organizers did say they’ve learned their mistake ๐Ÿ™‚


Speakers


Had a chance to meet the lovely James Aspey and purchase one of his t-shirts

We watched Keegan Kuhn from Cowspiracy talk about the environmental impact of consuming animal products

Had a really nice long chat with Matt Letten of the Vegan Bros – they have some exciting projects coming up!

Joey Carbstrong was camping right next to us, so he came and hung out with us on the third day. I promise it was NOT this cold!

Saying farewell to Joey Carbstrong and my new vegan friend Sinead

The line up of speakers was truly impressive. There were some big international vegan names including James Aspey, Joey Carbstrong, Keegan Kuhn, Germany’s Strongest Man, Tim Shieff and the Vegan Bros. Unfortunately I only managed to see Keegan, James and the Vegan Bros but kind of wish I’d seen them all now in retrospect! All of the speeches were really good and truly inspiring. Although, the Vegan Bros did a Q&A which got very heated. A lot of people don’t like them or their message, which was made evident by some rather angry hecklers, which was frustrating, because I couldn’t hear a lot of their responses.

On both nights after all the speeches were done there was a dance party in the main marquee from about 9-11pm. It was quite an eclectic mix of music, but really good fun and people really seemed to be enjoying themselves. I do hope there are some more live music acts next year as well.


Campsite


The campsite on day two in Nottingham

We lucked out with some really beautiful, really HOT weather

The campsite was really pretty, but had some major drawbacks. The first of which was the parking lot was about a 15-20 minute walk away, making it difficult for people to schlep all there stuff to the campsite. There was a gate next to one of the fields where you could dump your stuff, but apparently security were hassling people on Friday about not parking on the grass. However, that seemed to have subsided by the time we arrived. That said, anyone who left their car there overnight was ticketed the next day (they were warned!).

The other field at the campsite

Another downside, maybe not necessarily related to the campsite itself, was the noise. The first night we were woken up around 2am by someone DRUMMING. And I’m not talking bongos, I’m talking like a full on drumset with people singing along and music blasting. That was fun. And then the second night people discovered there was a lake nearby, accessible via a very dodgy looking fallen tree RIGHT behind our tents. People were coming and going all night until about 5am, so even with earplugs I think I managed just an hour or two of sleep. Oh, and some guy falling into the ravine at 4:30am with all his bottles certainly didn’t help, nor the girl who was yelling at him to go see the paramedics (he was fine in the end). Moral of the story? Be very careful when choosing where to pitch your tent!


So that was it! As you can see, some ups and downs, but mostly it was a really incredible experience. The next one will be held in Nottingham but at a different location, and information is already up on Facebook.

Did anyone else go? What did you think?

Be sure to check out my video of the UK Vegan Campout below!

  • Plumes July 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I went with my Sister-in-law, met some fab people. We brought our own food as well but got battered sausage and chips on Fri night after an hour and a half. We split up on Sat to queue for pizza and kebabs at the same time and got them in about an hour! I really enjoyed the talks and saw your sofa which I was very jealous of! The noise got to us as well, i’ve suggested to the organisers they have a quiet zone for those who enjoy sleep next year!

    • lindsay July 11, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Glad to hear you had a good experience (mostly!). Yeah, queuing for an hour is just something I really cannot stand, so I was happy to eat our own food instead. I agree about having a quiet zone – that would be nice!! Where were you guys camped out? I’m guessing the noise was bad no matter where you set up camp.

  • Lynsey Clayton July 11, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I think you may have been in the same field as us! We were kept awake by rowdy truth or dare and ended up moving to the family field on Saturday! Other than that, we made some lovely new friends and had a great weekend!

    • lindsay July 12, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Good idea – wish we’d have moved to the family field! Although that said, we wouldn’t have met our lovely neighbors and made some new friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jo Lotoczko July 12, 2017 at 6:59 am

    I went with my friend and her 15 year old son. It was a great weekend but we seem to have missed out on the parties! We stayed up very late on Friday and didn’t hear a thing – we were camped close to the marquee and it was really quiet. The organisers did say on Saturday, that anyone could move to the family campsite if they wanted to avoid the noise so I figured there must have been some complaints. The food queues were ridiculous, but hopefully that will be rectified next year. All in all it was fab!

    • lindsay July 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Oh man – you lucked out then! The noise was unbearable where we were. I didn’t realize they had opened up the family section to people wanting some quiet, otherwise I probably would have moved!

  • Jojo July 16, 2017 at 3:28 am

    I’ve been waiting to hear some reviews of the fest’ as I wasn’t sure how it’d be. Shame about the food vendors but I guess little glitches like that are to be expected in the first year of something like this. I thought that the speaker lineup looked overwhelmingly male which given the demographics of veganism didn’t seem great so I probably wouldn’t attend unless that changed.

    • lindsay July 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

      I think (and I could be wrong) that most of the big names in vegan activism are predominately male which is why the speaker line up ended up that way. I’m sure next year it will be a different set of speakers, so we’ll see. I wouldn’t let that stop you though – they’re still incredibly inspirational regardless of their gender.

      • Jojo July 17, 2017 at 4:05 am

        The line up (as well as recent media coverage of veganism) would definitely make people think that most vegan activists are male and it may indeed be the case that the bigger names right now are but that’s due to people giving men more of a platform, taking what men are saying more seriously etc. Amazing female vegan activists have been around and doing hard work for the vegan cause for years. I would love to see people like Carol J Adams, Breeze Harper, Lauren Toyota, Ginny Messina, Lauren Ornelas and Patrice Jones (to name a few) on the line up next time.

        • lindsay July 17, 2017 at 8:50 am

          Why don’t you get in touch with the organiser and suggest it? ๐Ÿ™‚