Recently, the food options at festivals have been reaching for the headline act.
Whether it be a one day sprint like Listen Out or Field Day, or a three day marathon event like Falls Festival or Splendour in the Grass, one thing is certain – you need to stay hydrated and nourished to get you to the final act at the end of the night.
Back in the day, festival food consisted of hot chips, a dagwood dog, maybe a hamburger if you were lucky (or brave) enough. Fast forward to the last few years, and food has created its own special stage on the line up. Now festival punters are spoilt for choice; what cuisine do I want? Do I want to try and be healthy, or do I want the full-blown dude-food experience? Do I or don’t I want chips with it? (Trick question – you always get chips).
The food van trend has well and truly cemented its place into a viable dining option with the surge of night markets, food festivals and growing night culture around the country – music festivals were just the next step. Here’s a few reasons why we think the food at festivals is stealing the show.
Nobody at a festival wants to be the one that’s trying too hard. Too much bum showing in your cut off shorts, too many bindi’s stuck to your forehead, too much fake tan – we want none of it, thank you. Same goes for food; we don’t want to try the Foie Gras entrée whilst eating from a plastic plate with our hands. We want something quick and delicious, so we can get back to the dancing and hour-long line up for the toilet. Festival food is always user-friendly; the best of the bunch only requires one hand, leaving you with one free to enduce snapchat envy on those not at the event, or perhaps hit up tinder to see what kind of talent you’ve got nearby. See? Casual, easy food is necessary.
When you go to a restaurant in town, whether you’re served at your seat or order at the counter, it’s not often you’ll interact with the same person that’s putting your food together. When you head to a food truck at a festival, you meet the waiter, the manager, the cook, even the dish pig – because they do it all! They’re also super hyped on the atmosphere of the event, and there’s enough going on to make small talk. You can form great bonds with people working in the food trucks at festivals, especially if you’re there for a few days and make it your new ‘local’ for the time of the festival. This can also lead to some sweet discounts or maybe a free serve of chips (see above) thrown in just for being an awesome customer.
Hats off to anyone that can make a gourmet burger in the back of a truck just as well as someone in the back of a cool Melbourne café. Hats off and a standing ovation to those that can make gourmet, delicious healthy options for eating in the back of a van, for those of us that need our five a day. The lack of space and resources in event catering is a real contrast to the kinds of food you can get at said events these days. Food vendors have become more creative in what they want to offer, and how best to deliver it. Anyone can chuck some chips in a fryer and put them in a bucket or bag, but when you’re getting restaurant quality Korean fried chicken with fresh slaw from a tiny shack on wheels – you know these guys mean business.
Food trucks are the must-see act in this year’s festival season, and we don’t mind it one bit!