Another June, another Streatham Food Festival. I've been working with its director, Pauline Milligan, for three years on the festival - and each year she has produced a little gem of an event that punches well over its weight in quality and reach.
This year (as always) it was crammed with enticing, original foodie events which at least 5,500 peole came to - a triumph on such a small budget. And it was not only the famished and food cognoscenti that benefitted. Local businesses felt an economic uplift in measurable terms: over 4,200 dishes were sold on the food tour, and over 5,000 for the food fair.
People came from far and wide, encouraged by mentions in the Evening Standard and Time Out. I was on the streets during the food tour managing volunteers, and was surprised by the provenance of many festival-goers: not only nearby areas such as Tooting and Clapham but even north London.
So what's the secret behind such success? No secret really, just brilliant ol' fashioned event producing - an auspicious blend of creative programming, positive relationship building, tight organisation, and extremely hard work. If you want the recipe, here it is...
- 1 x festival director with a passion for food
- 1 x local area with lots of food
- 1 x supportive local business network (that also likes food)
- dash of sunshine.
Step 1: Take your festival director and pour into a bowl with all your local eateries and food related organisations. Mix together until a firm consistency and the ingredients have bound together.
Step 2: Add the juice from your local business network and fold into the mixture.
Step 3: Season to taste with creative ideas.
Step 4: This is optional but always produces a better dish: a good slug of sunshine.
Step 5: Stick on a low heat for 5 months, checking regularly.
Step 6: Don't allow to cool, eat fresh!