Food Festival History

Matt and Terry

After 20 years organising church flower festivals in the north Herefordshire village of Shobdon, father and son team Terry and Matt Teale thought it was time to try something different. After a glass or two of red wine, they decided to combine two of their great loves and organise a food & drink festival to be held anually on the last full weekend in June. The ethos was laid out right from the beginning: to celebrate Herefordshire gastronomy and support local producers over a weekend that the whole family could enjoy with any profits donated to predominantly local charities and good causes.

Held in 2005, the first Shobdon Food & Drink Festival barely broke even but by 2007 word had started to spread that Shobdon was an event worth being at. By 2011, the Shobdon Food Festival was attracting nearly 3,000 visitors and over 70 food and craft exhibitors from Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and across the border into Wales as well as selected guest producers from further afield. As the reputation of the festival continues to grow, so does the interest from potential exhibitors, so much so that we accept only the finest quality produce to form the most tempting combination of flavours imaginable.

The number of attractions has expanded greatly over the years too with bespoke arts and crafts, cooking demonstrations by top local chefs, live music and family entertainment all now firm fixtures across the weekend.

After a challenging 2012 when the festival took place during one of the wettest summers on record, it was decided that if it was to continue to grow, the Shobdon Food Festival would have to leave it’s spiritual home in the grounds of Shobdon church. Organisers joined forces with Herefordshire Aero Club’s popular Aviation Weekend held at the nearby Shobdon Airfield and the Shobdon Food & Flying Festival was formed.  The success of the inaugural joint event in 2013 took everyone by surprise. Almost 5,000 visitors flocked to the village to enjoy everything from parachute displays and classic aircraft to the best mix yet of Herefordshire’s finest food and drink. Prince Charles Pic Matt 2

In 2014, the Food Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary and the event was given a massive boost when Prince Charles met organisers at Shobdon Church as he inspected renovation work that has taken over ten years to complete. He took great interest in hearing about how the event has grown over the years and was pleased to learn that the vast majority of producers who attend are local. He even commented that he really ought to come down and see us, which we are taking as an unofficial Royal Seal of Approval!

Our eleventh Festival in 2015 was the best yet with more attractions, more exhibitors and the largest attendance we’ve ever seen: over 6,000.

Amid the many changes to the event over the years, some things remain the same, including our commitment to providing our visitors with the best selection of local food and drink available to sample and buy. So, from succulent local meats, seasonal fruit and vegetables,  crisp local ciders and the finest ales to the creamiest cheeses, the most tempting desserts and the most satisfying confectionery, we know we’ll have all bases covered again in in 2016. Why not come and find out? You may find the future King is sampling some of the delights next to you!

To give you a taste of what you’ll experience, click here to see some photos from recent Shobdon Food & Flying Festivals.

If you have any comments, queries or questions about any aspect of the festival, don’t hesitate to get in touch at shobdonfoodfestival@gmail.com.