Last year saw the first ever Bath Chilli Festival held on campus at the University Of Bath. Without going into too much detail, the event quite simply fell flat on its face. Not so this year!
Organisers Pete and Rich pulled out all the stops in the run up to this year’s event and I’m pleased to say that it was a huge success. Setting off to go and set up I was only 5 miles out of Stroud, just getting onto the A46 heading south, when I saw a sign post advertising the festival which is some 30 miles away. A good omen I thought!
The University is easy to find and access for set up was hassle free and straight forward. The first thing I noticed was that the show layout this year was far more structured. No great expanses of ground for tumbleweed to roll through! Once it filled up with visitors (and it did) this show had the feel of a summer fete – except with hot sauce, chilli, beer, cider…and sunshine! Yes the weather was kind, which is always a huge advantage.
There was a good selection of vendors from hot sauce companies to curry sauce companies, spice vendors, drinks, chilli plants and seeds, spicy sausages – all the usual, but not so many stands that the product offerings were duplicated. Entertainment was laid on in the main tent with local bands and performers, talks on chilli science, a curry cook-off and later the chilli eating competition run by the Clifton Chilli Club. For full details visit the website: http://www.bathchillifestival.com/index.html
Like a lot of other companies selling there I’m sure, I was too busy to have a proper look around! The show was extremely well attended and what impressed me was the number of “chilli virgins” who came just to see what it was all about. These are the life blood of any show. I always get a buzz from the sheer enthusiasm (and wide-eyed terror when being introduced to the hottest of the hot) that newbies bring to these events. Lots of visitors praised the show without being prompted and many stayed and made a day of it. The queues for the food vendors suggested that they all did good business.
The day seemed to absolutely fly by and breaking down after the show was made all the more easy by the fact that most of us had almost sold out of stock! Luckily my wife was coming to the show so after the first hour I was able to call to tell her to bring more stock and even then I sold out of many product lines. Happy days!
Organising, running and promoting a successful show is far from easy and I think Rich, Pete and all the staff that helped make the show such a success should be congratulated. I certainly hope they do it again next year.