Castlefield Food Festival

There has been a rise in the number of events attracting hungry foodies with broad palates in recent years. In recognition of this, their invitation lists include food makers and traders catering to a wide range of tastes. B.Eat Street and Guerrilla Eats are now regular fixtures on the food calendar, with the veteran Manchester Food and Drink Festival ever-popular and the likes of Levy Market playing its part in the suburbs.

These events can give start-up food businesses their first break as a street trader in a populated setting, which is one of the appeals of the first Castlefield Food Festival. On top of this, the Castlefield Bowl-based festival is also offering a demo kitchen experience, with local food bloggers invited to present their signature dish to the watching audience, and some of the city’s restaurants have been tempted to set up outside on the site alongside the various street traders.

The event director Patrick Marmion answered our questions ahead of their inaugural Castlefield Bowl festival from 15 to 17 May.

Manchester has a variety of foodie events these days. In what ways will Castlefield Food Festival add something different?

The Castlefield Food Festival brings together a number of different markets and events to bring you one big free festival. Our local producers will be joined by world specialist traders and our hot food will offer a unique mix of pop-up restaurants and award-winning street food traders. Add live cocktail, wine and cooking demonstrations, a dash of Spanish music, a Quentin Tarantino tribute band and a pinch of salsa, and you have the recipe for an amazing celebration of all things foodie.

What types of food can we expect to find there?

Everything from Robert Owen Brown's British BBQ to 1847 award-winning vegetarian favourites. In addition to food you can eat at the festival, you will find lots of foods to take home, such as local artisan bread and French charcuterie.

From which other events have you taken inspiration?

T3 Events has a number of other festivals, including Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, Festejar (Spanish Festival) and Festwich [in Prestwich], all of which have provided inspiration for Castlefield Food Festival.

What made you decide on Castlefield Bowl as the venue?

Castlefield Bowl is an amazing space. It was literally designed for a festival like this. We also have a very strong partnership with the Castlefield Forum, which has allowed us to forge great links with local businesses and residents to ensure they feel ownership of what is going on on their doorstep.

Is this the first of many?

Too right!

Ian Pennington


Recipe By Robert Owen Brown.

1 large dab, cleaned
100g drycure bacon, cut into thin strips
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp rapeseed oil
Juice of half a lemon
75g Morecambe bay shrimp, cooked and peeled
2 tsp chopped parsley
70g sliced spring onion
2 tbsp plain flour
Salt and pepper

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan and add the oil. Lightly flour the dab and add to the pan, then cook for two minutes without turning the fish. Gently turn.

Add the shrimp, bacon, garlic and butter and cook for two minutes, then add the spring onion, lemon juice and parsley, and baste the dab in the contents of the pan. Season and serve.