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Issue 295 – New-look Frome Festival Feast

Frome Festival’s free outdoor food and music event relaunches this year with a new name in a new location. The renamed Frome Festival Feast moves to Market Yard and takes place on Saturday 10th July.

Creative director Martin Dimery said Market Yard offered the event more space for less money. “Relocating halves our operating costs and provides lots of room for more food stalls and more entertainment,” he explained. “That enables the festival to spread its limited resources further and bring in more high quality performers.”
Frome Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2010, with more than 180 community arts events held over 10 days from Friday 9th to Sunday 18th July.
Nicky Hillman, former owner of Sagebury Cheese and a prominent member of Frome Slow Food, returns to co-ordinate this year’s food feast. She wants to attract stalls run by food and drink producers based in the Frome and Mendip region.
“I want Frome to taste what’s grown, reared and fermented within a few miles of its front door,” she said. Nicky has enlisted the help of Stephen Scammell, a newcomer to Frome, with experience in event organisation. Just Vans, one of Frome’s biggest employers, will loan a taut-liner truck with a 45ft portable stage to host the band stage. The truck will be located to the left of the Cheese & Grain, with the stage facing towards the car park.
Bruton country rockers The Johnsons and support act Back before Breakfast will headline. The festival also hopes to invite back the BBC Somerset Bus to run an acoustic stage. Special guests and a compere will also keep the festivities moving along.
Three food and drink areas will include stylish gazebos loaned from St Catherine’s Hill artisan market. An area for children’s activities, including face-painting, and seating for families and older visitors will be set up near Frome Canoe Club.
Festival directors agreed to move the food feast by a unanimous vote, with one abstention, at a board meeting in January. Chairman Bob Morris said, “It’s always a wrench to break with tradition but the board looked carefully into the pros and cons before it reached its decision.
“Saving money is the lesser consideration; we are confident that we shall have an even better food feast, with the Cheese & Grain as back-up in case bad weather intervenes.”
In past years, the festival staged the event as the World Food Feast in the centre of town by closing off the road. In 2009, however, it made a £4,000 loss and needed profits from other events to cover the shortfall. Traders also complained the road closure lost them business.
Anyone interested in taking part or running a stall at the new look food feast should contact Nicky Hillman by emailing the festival office at office@fromefestival. co.uk. For all other festival news, go to www.fromefestival.co.uk.

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