[Occassional contributor EFG found herself at the first Big Feastival over the weekend. Here’s her report. – AC]
Let me start by saying, thirty dollars for parking, is preposterous. Especially when you’re smack dab in the middle of Oro-Medonte Ontario, where everywhere you turn are beautiful fields… just waiting to be parked on.
As we pulled away from the parking payment booth, I caught myself glaring at it from the rearview mirror, like I was going to beat it up or something. I had to be reminded by my friend, and designated driver “it’s not that big of a deal! Calm down.”
But I was hangry. And luckily for my friend, that booth and the rest of the world, we had arrived at The Big Feastival, a two day festival in Burl’s Creek, that combats itself with its collection of top-class food and chefs and its kick ass live entertainment.
If you call yourself a foodie, a great cook, or just plain clueless in the kitchen, this was the place to be. And If you had some serious culinary chops hidden up your sleeve, there was everything from fancy olive oils, to farm fresh foods, to the hottest of hot sauces to help stock your kitchen arsenal. And for those of you who can’t even make a decent bowl of cereal, their cooking schools ran all day, both Saturday and Sunday from noon-ish till night and were led by some of Canada’s most exciting and game changing chefs. Celebrity chef Chuck Hughes had a hand in picking the lineup, so you might have walked in clueless, but you weren’t leaving that festival without learning a thing or two, whilst listening to Dwayne Gretzky cover Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Show me a man who doesn’t want to be taught how to properly cut a tomato to Blinded By The Light, and I’ll show you a liar.
The great thing about food festivals is, you don’t starve for long. The free samples alone held us over till we found our way around. The first dude who asked me if I wanted a free granola bar looked a little concerned when I said yes as if he asked for my hand in marriage. There was a twinkle in my eye and I had to stop myself from kissing him. But I moved on and got over him once I found the taco guy, and the waffle girls, and the peanut butter kids and then the churro ice cream crew, and then the cheese cave! Yes, you read that correctly. There was, in fact, a cheese cave.
And then something happened, a festival miracle if you will.
We were searching high and low for a place to grab the “we’re of age to drink alcohol” wristbands but were having no such luck. We walked up to a seemingly promising tiny little table, and asked the lady situated at it if we needed drink tickets to purchase beer. Her response, “Yes ladies. But this is a private party for Creemore Springs Brewery. It’s only for staff and VIP.” Just as we were about to accept defeat, turn around and go find more things to eat, she said “But I’m not like that. Here’s some wrist bands, and beer tickets. Come on in and enjoy yourselves.” Woah.
We felt like two lucky groupies, being let backstage at a KISS show, and our eyes bulged out of our heads the appropriate amount too, but not because we spotted enormous sexually charged face painted rock stars, but because we spotted a pig on a spit, sporting the apple-in-the-mouth look! I thought that only existed in Game of Thrones or at Italian family barbecues, but apparently, it’s a for real thing! They had a corn station, a watermelon station, a burger station, beer, private washrooms and, ya I’m going to say it Alan, hot dudes. We had hit the motherland.
But it was all too good! We felt guilty. Don’t get me wrong, we ate, drank and people watched before we let the guilt drag us out of there, we definitely indulged, but there was an entire festival calling our names, one that would have been a shame to have missed. Plus, the lies we had prepared should anyone ask us what we do at Creemore Springs Brewery, were even more preposterous than the price of parking. The jig would have been up as soon as we said: “We’re the beer bookkeepers.”
The Strumbellas, The Beaches, The Elwins, Dragonette, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, OK GO, Weezer, the musical menu alone, could have had you salivating and asking for seconds.
I’m a massive Weezer fan, but it’s hard to remember one of your favorite bands is playing the main stage in a few hours when you’re engorging in your favorite foods. If I hadn’t come up for air from my Bahn Mi Bun and Asian cheese bread, I probably would have missed their set! Highly unlikely tho, and if you’ve ever been to a Weezer show, you know why. Let’s just say, audiences become the opposite of quiet, when they set foot on stage.
Cooking demos, ferris wheels, beer tents and street food, what else would be a better cherry on the cake of an amazing weekend, then Weezer? They’re like that old college buddy that you love bumping into. The one you’d drop everything for just to go grab a beer and catch up. I hadn’t seen them in two years, so that’s exactly what I did. I grabbed my drink, grabbed my buddies and let songs like My Name is Jonas, Surf Wax America, Buddy Holly and Pork and Beans be the last bit of consumption for one weekend. And then my heart stopped, listening to Weezer cover Took A Pill In Ibiza by Mike Posner, fell in love all over again.
As they played their final encore, I looked around at all the lights, the people singing along, the flags, the “SOLD OUT” signs, the eighteen granola bar samples sticking out of my knapsack, and thought to myself, “Ok, this was totally worth the thirty dollars for parking.”
Clearly the hangry had subsided.