Sizzling food, drink and music festival with more than 20 of the world’s top tribute acts.
The Midlands’ favourite family get-together, the Sausage and Cider Festival is returning to Catton Park, Derbyshire, for four days in June. The event centres around top notch food and music from many of the globe’s best tribute acts. We speak to Richard Halpin.
Describe your event and how many people it attracts
The Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival is the UK’s largest tribute festival and a huge celebration of UK sausages and cider! The event was the first of its kind and takes place at Catton Park in South Derbyshire – this year it will run across four days from 23-26 June 2022. This year marks the seventh year of the festival which attracts a wide range of people but mostly families with a passion for music, good food and the outdoors.
Explain a bit about your venue and its history
The festival will take place at Catton Park, which has a long and rich history of hosting festivals. The likes of Breaded Theory and Bloodstock Festival have taken place on the grounds over the years. Catton Park is in a beautiful location in the middle of the National Forest and is a very popular location for a whole host of outdoor activities.
What is the event’s history and what made you decide to run it?
The festival was created by James Dean Events, who wanted to give people the chance to experience a large scale festival but who couldn’t necessarily afford the high ticket prices of places such as Glastonbury. Also, what’s not to love about sausages and cider!? It’s a winning combination and the event is a fun way to celebrate these two British culinary delights.
How does the relationship work with the venue you hold the event at?
I live in Swadlincote which is where the site is. I’ve been here for 12 years and the landowner is like family to me. I respect the land as if it was my own, and we have a mutually respectful relationship. Everyone works together really well and wants the best for the local area.
How did you find applying for permission to run the event?
The licence was already in place before Covid, but we have worked alongside the local authorities to create a safe environment for all those attending and working at the site.
How have you planned the layout of the event?
The layout of the event has been planned taking into account crowd safety, the flow of people around the site, and the practicality of what fits best and where. This year we will be sharing stage set up with Back 2 Festival which takes place the following weekend at the same site.
What entertainment do you offer and how did you choose and source it?
Every year we offer a wide range of musical and alternative entertainment. We have acts of all styles of music from pop, rock and indie, including The Bootleg Beatles, Whitney Houston Tribute – Belinda Davids, Take That Rule the World and Kings of Lyon. The festival is always a big weekend in the Derbyshire calendar for foodies and music lovers alike.
Attendees can look forward to a large selection of food stalls and excellent street food including the very best sausages as well as an array of drink stands with over 20 varieties of cider to sample. There will also be the return of fantastic fairground rides, some for little ones but some for the adults too – so guests simply need to make sure they’re not too full of sausage and cider to get involved!
What provisions do you make for power, lights and sound?
With it being the height of summer, lighting tends to not be a major factor, because it usually remains light enough until 10.30pm.
Power has made a tectonic shift this year and unequivocally will be the largest single increase in costs for all festival organisers. This is due to the government enforcing festival organisers to use white diesel and not red.
How do you manage admissions and visitor safety?
We tend to stagger arrival times by sending emails to ticket holders in different postcodes. This ensures a shorter queuing time, more space and distancing and helps keep local roads clear and any traffic moving steadily.
Please detail the measures you have taken specifically for Covid-19
During the 2021 event, we asked all our guests to provide a negative LFT on arrival and we will determine nearer the time if we do the same this year. We will of course do everything we can to protect the health and safety of everyone on site.
Last year we also had testing facilities at the gates for anyone who failed to do their LFT ahead of arrival. Festivalgoers could only access the site with a negative LFT. We also purchased five million millilitres of sanitiser which was distributed all over the site.
What ground protection do you use for cars and footfall?
This is exceptionally important to the landowner and most people assume the solution is to bring in lorries and machinery to put metal trackway around the site. However, this can have a detrimental effect on the ground and the habitat if not done correctly. We also alter the runways, i.e. we will move the entrances for lorries each day of the festival so that we alleviate any damage to the grounds.
How do you publicise the event?
The event has built up a strong following locally and we get a lot of return customers. Word of mouth has played a big part in returning guests bringing additional friends and family with them each year. We do a lot of social media marketing and have recently taken on a PR company, Plaster Communications.
What challenges have you faced?
Like a lot of people in the live events industry we have faced many challenges during the pandemic. We had a lot of contractor, vendor and supply issues over the summer of 2021, as many festivals did. Our saving grace was the fact we own a lot of our own infrastructure and we have very good relationships with local suppliers around Derbyshire that kept the show running!
How have you financed the event?
Blood sweat and tears!
What are your plans for next year?
We want to expand the camping areas and increase the number of guests staying on site. Every year we book bigger and better entertainment, and this will continue into 2023. We always listen to our customers and the feedback we get each year and that helps shape the future of the festival. So we will see what they have to say after this year’s event!
What advice could you give to someone coming into the outdoor event industry?
Don’t do it!
Trend Marquees www.trendmarquees.co.uk
Craft House Creations www.crafthousecreations.co.uk
STAGES & LIGHTING
LD Light Design www.lightdesignltd.co.uk
HEAT & POWER
Flying Hire www.flyinghireevents.co.uk
James Dean Events www.jamesdeanevents.com
FLOORING & GROUND PROTECTION
Sun Belt Rentals www.sunbeltrentals.co.uk
On Tick www.ontick.co.uk
Event Insurance Services www.events-insurance.co.uk
Derbyshire Sausage and Cider Festival
23-26 June 2022
Derbyshire DE12 8LN