Vegfest London is a bonanza for vegans, with over 300 stalls showcasing plant-based food and products as well as talks, cooking demos and entertainment. Spend a day or the entire weekend at the exhibition and stuff your face with free food samples, listen to inspiring vegan speakers and peruse the latest plant-based products.
What is Vegfest?
Launched in Bristol in 2003, Vegfest has become one of the top events on the vegan calendar in London, attracting around 15,000 visitors. Every autumn, over 325 exhibitors come to London Olympia exhibition centre to promote their products, from tasty food, cosmetics and beauty products to magazines, clothing and footwear. Of course, there’s also a vegan food village featuring around 25 global food caterers, featuring stalls from some top London restaurants.
London Vegfests also host a packed programme of talks and workshops from around 200 vegan lifestyle experts over the weekend. There are documentary screenings, vegan cooking demonstrations and yoga and Qi Gong sessions as well as a Natural Therapy Zone with eco-friendly wellness products. You can also expect live music and entertainment, art exhibitions and even a bodybuilding contest.
View this post on Instagram
The event is produced by Vegfest UK, who have organised some of the biggest vegan festivals in Europe, including 40 across the UK in Brighton, Bristol, London and Glasgow. In addition, the company also hosts the VegfestUK Awards to celebrate the best vegan products on the market and publish an online magazine: The Vegfest Express. Note that all stalls are required to have 100 percent vegan products and all speakers must be vegan.
When and where does Vegfest London take place?
As this official Instagram post below explains, the 2020 London Vegfest will be held online due to the current Covid-19 crisis. Check the official website for Vegfest London tickets (these are free for the online event, you just have to register) and for more information.
View this post on Instagram
With a mixture of both sadness and anticipation, @VegfestUK London will be leaving its current venue at Olympia for our Nov 14-15 event, and moving online to www.vegfest.co.uk/londononline For multiple reasons the decision has been taken to move the event online and restart work on what has become the UK’s biggest vegan event over the last 7 years. As with many events, work came to a grinding halt a few months ago, and with Olympia currently shut for exhibitions, and with no clear timescale as to when the venue may reopen, we have taken an early decision to move online to ensure we can continue to deliver a top quality vegan event for exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and visitors. Although there are some obvious drawbacks to the online environment, there are plenty of benefits too, not least the ability to make the event free to the public to attend, and to reach out beyond the UK across the globe to share the best of the UK vegan way of life with multiple countries and cultures. There are considerable benefits for exhibitors too, whilst the online platform still allows for plenty of live debate, panels, presentations, performance and many of the other aspects associated with our events. We have a highly developed event platform to showcase our exhibitors and presenters, with multiple functions to engage including video links, live stream and chat rooms, and the addition of a dedicated Trade and Media Day on Friday Nov 13 allows for a very focused and potentially very effective platform for exhibitors to present to independent retailers, professional media, hospitality, catering and other business sectors that are looking for new plant based options, with the online platform bringing considerable advantages for both exhibitors and Trade delegates. Meanwhile visitors to the weekend event will be able to browse, shop and engage with stallholders, as well as attend live panel debates, multiple presentations and live Q&As with presenters, as well as enjoy a number of quality entertainers streamed into living rooms and on the go wherever our visitors may be. Registration for the event is free and available from early June from www.vegfest.co.uk/londononline.
The event is usually held at London Olympia Exhibition Centre and has moved into the Grand Hall, which has two floors and a capacity for 10,000 attendees at one time to accommodate the boom in visitors. The centre is in Hammersmith and the nearest train station is Kensington Olympia. The Vegfest hours are 10am to 5pm each day. In 2019, day tickets cost £13.20 for adults and £9.00 for concessions. Weekend passes cost £22.00 for adults and £16.50 for concessions, these can be bought online in advance and include a booking fee. Kids under 16 accompanied by adults are free.
Why attend Vegfest?
I attended Vegfest London 2019 without many expectations and was blown away by the sheer scale of the event. The exhibition hall was packed with rows upon rows of stalls selling vegan goodies and products. We spent most of the day wandering up and down the isles sampling everything from vegan cheeses and meats to curries, tea, protein bars, snacks, ice cream and cake. You definitely get your ticket price back in samples – we were stuffed without having to buy any food from the vendors in the food hall.
It’s not just food on offer either, we bought some great new vegan products such as toothpaste and deodorants, as well as some vegan t-shirts designed by an independent company and of course, some of our favourite food products. As you wander around the stalls you can sign petitions and put your name on mailing lists to get involved with activism through groups like Animal Rebellion and Viva, check out vegan magazines and books and support charities and animal shelters.
As the biggest vegan fest London, you get the chance to learn about all the latest products out there. Since we only visited for the day, we didn’t have time to listen to the many talks or watch the entertainment, which included vegan comedian sets, yoga and music. If you’re visiting over the weekend, check out some of the talks which are split into sections such as health, fitness, lifestyle, creative activism and the environment, cookery demos and an animal rights academy.