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Muddy meets royalty! Peter Phillips epic new festival

There's a hot new festival coming to Glos and it has a fabulously royal stamp. Muddy chats to Peter Phillips (son of HRH Princess Anne) about his new 'baby' - a food and drink festival with a sustainable twist. Want to know the royal MC's plans (and his own favourite foodie spots in the county?! ). Read on.

Rolling out a whole new festival in the middle of a global pandemic doesn’t sound like the easiest of rides. But when Glos’s popular Festival of Eventing was cancelled again this year, director Peter Phillips – the Queen’s eldest grandchild and son to HRH Princess Anne and Mark Phillips – saw it as a lightbulb moment.

Fair to say most of us in a similar situation would have flung our arms in the air, retreated to a massive glass of wine and prayed for better times ahead.

But Phillips – a self-confessed foodie it turns out – sat down at his kitchen table in the Cotswolds and set about creating a cool new festival that could catapult Glos onto the map of Britain’s great ‘n good gastro gatherings.

Taking place between 30th July and 1st August at Gatcombe Park in Minchinhampton (Princess Anne’s own personal estate) the Gatcombe Festival of Food & Drink is all about putting local artisans centre stage with the very 2021 twist of educating people at the same time about where their food comes from.

What’s planned sounds like a brilliant two days of family fun. Delicious street food stalls will be mingling with rural craft workshops, wellness sessions, live culinary classes, live music and a Champagne Bar for the grown ups (we’re in that queue already), along with gifts to browse and produce to stock up on from award-winning local breweries and vineyards.

We tracked down the entrepreneurial royal to find out more. Want to know whether there’ll be any ‘special’ HRH guests popping in? And where Phillips’ own favourite foodie spot is in Glos? Read on …

Pic: Courtesy of Matt Bigwood / Stroud Times

Hello Peter. We are hugely excited about Gatcombe Park’s first ever Food & Drink Festival … why now?

I have always had a passion for food & drink, especially locally sourced food & drink. I have always wanted to do something like this at Gatcombe but with the Festival of British Eventing taking place each year, we have not really had the opportunity.

Sadly we had to cancel the horse trials this year again and it seemed a perfect excuse to put a fun food & drink event on and encourage people to get back out to start attending outdoor events again. We live in an area which has some amazing food & drink producers so it only seems right that we celebrate it.

Is this a personal dream of yours?

Absolutely, I have always loved my food and drink. Like everything in life, if you are able to celebrate something you are passionate about, it makes it a lot of fun to organise.

What stalls in particular will you be making a beeline for?

We have been extremely lucky as a year one event to be supported by some amazing local businesses. We have Stroud Brewery, one of the leading organic breweries in the UK, Severn Cider and Woodchester Valley Vineyard who all have stands. We have also teamed up with the Glorious Edit who are moving from their virtual market place to their first ever physical market with over 50 craft traders which is really exciting.

Sounds good … what else can we do there?

We have around 20 street food outlets, including the Crispy Duck Rotisserie and Wood Fired Pizza, there will also be four main bars, including a Pimms Bar a Champagne Piaff garden. There will be demonstrations from leading local chefs, butchers and mixologists.

We will have more than 60 craft traders and a large children’s entertainment area so there really is something for everyone. We also have live entertainment with local band Duke and DJ Dom Makin coming on Saturday afternoon and other live acts for Sunday to be announced very shortly.

Peter lived in Asia for two and a half years – and brings his love of Asian food to the festival

There will also be a Wellness Area, hosted by Soul Simple Retreats. Based in Woodchester in Gloucestershire, they will be running drop in classes (breathe, movement and maybe some yoga) and also massages. The retreat will be in a lovely peaceful setting for people to visit to unwind and relax.

But what about the sport? We’re guessing you’re a fan too!

Yes, just in case people are worried about missing out on supporting Team GB or the British and Irish Lions, do not worry, we will have both being played on TVs in the main marquee in the street food market.

The trend (and demand) for sustainable, local and organic produce is really gathering pace. Is it something you champion?

The provenance of our food is so important and I think the last 18 months has only accelerated this in people’s minds. We’ve had time to stop and think about where our food is coming from and are starting to understand more about why it is important to buy local and know where you food has come from.

Gloucestershire has always been a food producing county and that is shown by the number of local producers there are in our area. We need to support these businesses and encourage in any way we can consumers to support them as well.

It’s not going to happen overnight but there is already a movement about people being conscious about the provenance of their food. Let’s keep pushing the fact that on this small island we are able to produce such great quality food.

It’s been an incredibly difficult year for small businesses, and people in general, how do you hope this gives them a boost?

I hope that the Gatcombe Food & Drink Festival will give people an opportunity and the confidence to get back out to events and put a smile back on peoples faces. This is a fun day out for the whole family and we want people to enjoy themselves in a safe outdoor environment where they can shop, eat and drink and generally spend a few hours in a beautiful setting.

What do you love most about living in Gloucestershire?

We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country. The Cotswolds have everything you could want, great scenery, great sporting events, great food & drink producers and it is very easy to get to and move around in.

My parents (HRH Princess Anne and Mark Phillips) moved here when I was 3 days old so I couldn’t consider any other part of the country truly “home”. As such, I have some amazing friends I have grown up with who also still live in the area so there is a real sense of belonging here.

Tell us where we’d find you in your spare time, and share your favourite foodie pitstop in the county?

I think I have probably supported most of the local pubs quite well over the last 30 odd years!

To me there is nothing better than going out to your local for a catch up with friends and enjoying a cold ale and some great locally produced food. We are also lucky that there has been some huge improvements in the quality of pubs over that time which make it all the more difficult to choose a favourite.

That being said, The Crown in Minchinhampton has been a great addition to our options and their Sunday lunch carvery is probably the best I have had anywhere.

Peter Phillips spends Sundays at The Crown, Minchinhampton

Might there be a visit from HRH Princess Anne (or anyone else perhaps!?) We’d love to know if HRH might be popping in

You will just have to wait and see!

Are there plans to hold both the Festival of Eventing and the Food & Drink Festival at Gatcombe Park from now on? (we hope so).

We hope so too. If this year’s event proves a success then we would certainly want to do it again in subsequent years. We have designed the Food & Drink Festival from scratch, it’s unique in that way, and we hope to be able to build the event year on year but ultimately stay focused on celebrating the best of what the Cotswolds has to offer.

Sign us up … how do we get tickets for the festival?

Follow us on social media: @gatcombeparkfestival. Book tickets here or visit Gatcombe Park Food and Drink Festival on Facebook.

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🎉  GIVEAWAY 🎉 

Love the sound of the festival? We’re giving away 4 x Saturday festival tickets (total value £60) PLUS a luxury hamper worth £50 – which will be filled with a tempting selection of sweet and savoury treats for an afternoon picnic tea spread, all beautifully arrange in a wicker picnic basket to keep.

Want to win? Head to our Reader Treats page now to enter.

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