Food is an essential part of life, but for too long the food on offer at music festivals has been an afterthought. Reactions to experiences of festival food range from “God, chip on a stick is SHIT” and “Corn dogs are the dirtiest shit ever”, to “The worst ever HSP”. In recent years, however, festivals are catching up with food demands, and now it is expected that festivals will include a smorgasbord of events, activities and culinary opportunities, all interwoven with the festival’s theme. Curated menus and gastronomical partnerships are a key part of what makes music festivals the institutions they are today, and unexpected joint ventures are often where the most exciting food is born. Below five music festival feeds from 2018 and beyond that are raising the bar.
Upcoming: Download Festival 2019
This year Download Festival’s culinary set up is as star-studded as the line-up. After listening to Slayer roar out their set on their final world tour, you can head over to the aptly named Hell’s Kitchen – curated by Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham of Mary’s in Newtown. Hell’s Kitchen will bring award winning chefs from around Australia together for the culinary version of an extended guitar solo. Just two of the esteemed chefs joining Smyth and Graham are Paul Carmichael from Momofuku Seiobo and Trisha Greentree from 10 William Street. This is sure to be like no other festival food village, and we can’t wait to see the festival specials the chefs come up with.
Upcoming: Secret Garden 2019
Food has always played a pivotal role in enhancing the creativity of this free form event. The creators don’t announce the line up before ticket purchases to ensure the crowds come for the entire experience – music, food and art – not for the draw of one performer. This year the food at Secret Garden comes in the form of an enormous banquet, curated by Tasmanian Chef Ned Long. Despite being set in a forest sanctuary, the banquet remains in earshot of the music and surrounded by artistic accents.
Lost Picnic 2018
Last year, Lost Picnic transcended expectations, both in line up and menu. Without rejecting or embracing typical festival feeds, Food Village combined restaurant specialties and finger food. Alternative takes on festival favourites were served by the likes of The Dolphin Hotel and Bianco Kitchen, with Milky Lane on dessert duty. Rolling Schnitzel, Emmy’s Turkish Gozleme and healthy bites from Agape Organic Food Truck kept those in search of the quick and greasy satisfied. The variety of choices that were spread across each festival goer’s tartan rug reflected the trend towards healthy eating, ensuring there were options for every conceivable dietary requirement, and ensured that wicker baskets were suitably stuffed.
Lost Paradise 2018/9
Lost Paradise’s 2018/9 music line up was overrun with icons, so it was only fitting that there were hordes of food stalls ready to feed the masses. Lost Village intermingled creative clothes stalls, Bacardi bars, main meals and sweet treats, and the menu was as much a part of the festival as Arcadia stage. Drinks options included The Smoothie Co, Craft Beer Container Bars, Bacardi’s Tropical Danceteria, Pull & Shots and Sacred Taste – quenching thirst at all hours of the day. Joining the drinks were Milky Lane burgers, Dr Hoffman’s Woodfire Pizza, Papermill’s fresh Asian bites, Soothsayer, Eat Art, Two Fat Indians, Sol Y Luna, Sofrito Paella, Tsuru’s delicious baos, Berlin Bangers, Pacific BBQ and many, many more. Lost Paradise celebrated everything colourful and cultural, and the menu was as memorable and multicultural as the festival itself.
Splendour in the Grass 2018
In six months, our news feeds will once again be clogged with scenes from Splendour in the Grass, and if last year was any guide, there will be a high-end menu to remember too. In 2018 chef Matt Moran from Chiswick in Woollahra joined festival goers, delivering an 80-seat pop-up restaurant inspired by Chiswick’s chic Australiana offering. The sought-after menu included “spanner crab and avocado tacos, Moran Family lamb shoulder, eggplant and red pepper chutney with flat bread, roasted beer can chicken, baby corn and pine nuts.” Augmenting the exquisite menu were ‘Splendour-coladas,’ and a unique concoction of Smirnoff vodka, elderflower, grapefruit and basil oil – named King’s Dead Tonic. With only six sittings across Splendour’s three days it was crucial to book, and proved that festivals can be a decadent and bougie affair.