I love a food festival. There’s something about eating street food al fresco, lazing around in the park and having a drink in the sun that makes it feel like Reading’s gone on holiday. Yes, ok, on the downside there’s also queuing, remembering to pick up cash and balancing unpredictably on hay bales, but with all that good food and drink, who remembers those things?
Well, thanks to loveable local market makers Blue Collar Street Food, food festivals are now a firm fixture of Reading’s summer. Last year, Blue Collar put on four weeks of its Feastival market in Forbury Gardens, a Meat Feast in Reading Abbey and Reading’s first Cheese Feast, which was a storming success with crowds packing the park on the sunniest weekend of the year.
The good news is that Blue Collar Street Food is back for 2019 bringing three more food festival events to Reading alongside their regular weekly markets. There’ll be a return of Cheese Feast, another summer Feastival and a new and exciting Fireworks Night, with a side of street food, naturally. In other exciting news, Blue Collar’s regular Wednesday Market Place and Tuesday TVP markets have also had their contracts extended for another year, so there’ll be lots of opportunity to grab street food in your lunch break.
Glen Dinning, Director of Blue Collar Street Food said: “Running the events last year was such good fun, so it feels great to bring back Cheese Feast and Feastival to Forbury Gardens. They’ll be the perfect place for lunchtimes, after work drinks and boozy weekend days in the sun. Our fireworks night will give us the chance to try something new, alongside our very best food and drink options.”
Read the story behind Blue Collar in our interview with its founder, Glen Dinning.
Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 April, Forbury Gardens
Cheese Feast proved to be Blue Collar’s most popular street food event last year, so it’s great to see it back. The four day festival of dairy will have street food stalls serving up gourmet cheese toasties, halloumi fries, mac’n’cheese, cheesecake, feta souvlaki and more. You can also get new, one-off, cheese-inspired dishes from Blue Collar regulars Peru Sabor and The Massita, amongst others. Alongside the street food there’ll be local cheese suppliers to get products to take home. At night there’ll be DJ sets.
Read our guide to Cheese Feast 2018 – we’ll be updating it to 2019 when all the details are announced.
Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 June, Forbury Gardens
The original Blue Collar Food Festival is now in its fourth year and is set to return with more space and a bigger site than ever. The food line up is still to be announced but will apparently include a highlight reel of the best-loved Blue Collar traders, such as Peru Sabor, John the Greek, the Crispy Squid Guy and Rad Burgers.
There will also be multiple bars this year, where you can buy specially brewed Blue Collar Lager courtesy of Oxford’s Tap Social, as well as summer cocktails, Pimm’s, wine and soft drinks. And it wouldn’t be Feastival without a setting of fire pits, hay bale seating and a big ‘Reading’ sign. Look out for live music and DJ sets in the evenings too.
Weekend of 1-3 November, location TBC
This is the new addition to the Blue Collar calendar, and an exciting Bonfire Night alternative.
Expect to see fireworks set to music alongside a street food market, multiple bars and live entertainment. This will be a ticketed event, so look out for more details later in the year.
Keep an eye on this page for updates about vendors and line ups closer to the event dates.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.