Foodies feast on creative vegan dishes at Wylam Brewery’s ‘Flower Power’ festival

Foodies gathered at the fairgrounds this weekend to celebrate Newcastle’s thriving vegan scene.

The ‘Flower Power Festival’ at Wylam Brewery has brought together an impressive roster of North East food vendors, all eager to show off how creative and tasty plant-based foods can be.

With groovy music in the air, scurrying dogs and hungry visitors sampling a vibrant array of food, the event was fun and wholesome for the whole family.

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The festival, which took place on Friday and Saturday, was organized in conjunction with 44Events, the company responsible for grassroots food fights at the Wylam site.

44Events Co-Director Danny Hughes said: “After a Covid-induced hiatus, we were very pleased to invite people back to this popular event, and Wylam is the perfect space for that.

“It proved very popular on Friday – with lots of young people and families arriving and saying how impressed they were with the food.

“It’s really designed for everyone, yes we all appeal to vegans, but the majority of the audience are foodies and people who are just looking to try some amazing plant-based dishes from some of their favorite restaurants.”

His business partner, Steven Dunn, said: “It’s great to have heavy hitters like Fat Hippo and Scream for Pizza here, as well as smaller companies like Saving Nemo or Fire and Dough.”

Hungry customers swapped tokens for vegan dishes

Upon arriving at this weekend’s festival, diners were asked to pay £4 for tokens that could be redeemed for small plates, or £8 for large plates.

Kyle Lawlor, head chef at Jam Jar in Jesmond, was happy to cook up his ‘Radgie Bhaji’ dish and dirty vegan fries at the event.

He said: “It’s the first time we’ve had a vegan festival, and it’s going well, it’s nice to see so many people trying plant-based dishes.

“We’re looking to incorporate more vegetarian and vegan foods into our menu this year, so it’s good to know there’s a strong market for it.”

Zoe Newman, owner of Gateshead-based Veganatomy, which specializes in vegan sushi, said: “Our dishes are a great way to start reducing your fish intake. We want to encourage people to eat healthy and sustainable foods.

Vegan Sushi from Veganatomy

“All the great flavor and sharp presentation you expect from sushi remains, and we’ve had great feedback from customers today.”

Meanwhile, ‘Saving Nemo’ owner Jessica Goldthorpe was busy creating her faux chip shop-style dishes.

She has been operating in Newcastle for six months, having started her business in Northampton.

She said: “I’m a vegan myself and asked my local community what vegan food they wanted – and it was clearly Britain’s favorite fish and chips.

“People are absolutely excited to try our version of the dish, as well as breaded sausages and prawns, and we try to combine it all with locally made sauces.”

Jack Curnow, 23, went to the festival with his friends and was spotted eating vegan pizza.

Jack Curnow, Sophie Davis and Fraser Beaumont enjoying a day at Wylam Brewery
Jack Curnow, Sophie Davis and Fraser Beaumont enjoying a day at Wylam Brewery

He said: “This is my second dish, I also had a very good burrito earlier.

“I’m not vegan, but I try to eat a lot of vegetarian food, and it’s great to taste good vegan dishes.

“Vendors gave me lots of great ideas to try at home, and I think the tokens are a great idea.”

Father and daughter duo Keith and Tabitha lined their bellies and soaked up Wylam’s “wonderful vibe”.

Families enjoying the Flower power vegan food festival at Wylam Brewery, Newcastle

Keith said: “It was hard to choose with so many good options. Tabitha opted for a lentil dhal and I have a pizza, it tastes as good as a cheese pizza!”.

The festival runs until 11 p.m. on Saturday evening.

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