Burton upon Trent Food and Drink Festival: A community-boosting tradition

Burton Upon Trent Market Place on Saturday morning.
Burton Upon Trent Market Place on Saturday morning as the food and drink festival begun. Credit: Lucy Copeland

The Market Square in Burton upon Trent came alive this weekend as the town welcomed its annual Food and Drink Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 11 and 12.

Market Square, usually a quiet spot, was abuzz with activity, thanks to the festival which drew in crowds from all around, creating a lively atmosphere that reverberated throughout the town. 

Crowds gathering at the festival.
Locals gathering to enjoy the occasion. Photo Credit: Lucy Copeland

Jon Arrosmith, managing director of Cockahoot Creative and the driving force behind the event, emphasised the crucial role of such festivals in supporting local businesses and revitalising the town centre. He highlighted the collaborative efforts with East Staffordshire Borough Council to organise free activities, and said: “We’ve been working with East Staffordshire Borough Council on increasing footfall into the towns at a time when local businesses, shops, and restaurants need support.” 

Jon continued, explaining the strategy behind such festivals: “One of the ways that we found works in a highly effective manner is to put on festivals as such, whether it be a food and drink festival, a plant festival, a music festival, and especially because they’re free in this time of cost-of-living crisis.”

He stressed the importance of free activities in attracting visitors and supporting local businesses, a sentiment echoed by many attendees. 

 

Katie Pinson, who is in the RAF, attended the festival during a weekend home and praised the vibrant atmosphere and variety of offerings. She said: “The weather was perfect, and the festival was bustling with people. It was great to see so many options for food and drink – definitely made for a fantastic day out.” 

Stuart, a regular attendee who has witnessed the festival’s growth over the years, remarked, “I’ve been coming to the Burton upon Trent Food and Drink Festival every year, and I must say, it keeps getting busier and attracting more people each time.” 

The festival, situated in the heart of Market Square, showcased the best of local cuisine and culture, drawing visitors with its diverse offerings and live music performances. Stuart noted the enduring appeal of the festival’s lively atmosphere and said: “Despite the crowds, there’s always a great atmosphere, and it’s wonderful to see so many people coming together to enjoy good food and drink.” 

Looking ahead, Jon hinted at exciting upcoming events, such as the outdoor cinema in Chetwynd Deer Park, saying: “This year, we’re doing some open-air cinemas at Chetwynd Deer Park, which is a beautiful National Park right on top of the hill. People are going to sit down and watch a couple of films in the night-time.” 

Market Place
Market Place on Sunday morning ready for the second day of the festival. Photo Credit: Lucy Copeland

The Burton upon Trent Food and Drink Festival proved to be a resounding success, not only providing attendees with a memorable experience but also offering vital support to local businesses.

Jon’s vision of using free festivals to boost community spirit and support small enterprises was realised, as Market Square buzzed with energy and excitement.

As the event came to a close, attendees eagerly looked forward to next year’s festivities, ensuring that the tradition continues to thrive and benefit the town for years to come.