By Joshua Walton
The vegan festival Vegfest returns to the Brighton Centre for a two-day event at the end of the month after 12,000 visitors attended last year.
The event has been running since 2009, moving to the Brighton Centre last year after the closure of its former home, Hove Town Hall.
Vegfest founder and organiser Tim Barford said: “We are finding that a lot of people are coming to Vegfest UK and in either a small way, or a dramatic way, people are making changes to their diet.
“For some it’s a life-changing experience. For others it’s just a really good day out.”
Turnout figures at the event in Brighton have more than doubled since 2012 and similar festivals are now organised in cities across the country.
Mr Barford said: “The aim of organising the events is to help people go vegan, help vegans teach vegan and have a good time while doing so.”
The event hosts a vibrant mix of activities and 230 stalls to attract a family-oriented crowd, admitting children under the age of 16 for free.
Activities will include the UK Vegan Comedy Festival, Food Village, with 18 caterers, a hemp expo, lifestyle and nutrition talks, live music, cookery demonstrations and even a cinema.
Among new additions to the line-up this year are the Animal Rights Activism Area, to encourage debate, a Teachers Vegan Summit and a Mature Zone, providing health and nutrition advice for older visitors.
Mr Barford said: “The FxEctive Factor is the latest brainwave. It challenges vegan activists to present both creative material and also grassroots activism to a panel of judges.
“We want to encourage creative vegan education.”
Mr Barford is based in Bristol and has been vegan for just over 30 years, deciding to give up animal and dairy products when he turned 21. He is also founder of the Bristol Vegan Fayre, which started in 2003.
He said: “It’s incredible to watch the explosion of all things vegan in the UK right now. Exceptional.”
The event takes place on Saturday 27 February and Sunday 28 February, opening on Saturday at 11am. Tickets are £7 a day or £10 for the weekend.
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