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.
As always, I’m going to start with the food 😉
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!).
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!