You know that story you’ve heard about the guy who had a party in his back garden which morphed into a massive festival? That’s Standon Calling. In 2001 Alex Trenchard had a birthday barbeque. In 2002 he did it again, only bigger. By 2004 he had included a stage with live music. In 2006 that expanded to two stages. Today the party has become a three day festival hosting hundreds of acts and thousands of revellers in the Hertfordshire countryside. What sets Standon Calling apart is its annual theme – a new premise each year that drive visitors to adopt some of the best festival outfits in the UK. This year it’s The Future and Standon Calling will be split into four different areas, each designed around a possible future for mankind. It’s a great idea that gives the whole event a central community feel and a focus.
There are hundreds of festivals we could review each year but because Standon Calling was born from a food and drink session at Alex’s house, we want to see whether good grub remains a solid streak running through the middle of what has become an extremely eclectic event, so in a couple of weeks we are heading down, knife and fork at the ready.
On the face of it, there is little to worry about. Not only is the volume of food stalls outlined on the preview material almost overwhelming but the variety of grub available is in danger of challenging even the Big Feastival for the gold medal for myriad munch. We’ve listed out some of the most interesting and appetising options below that have whetted our appetite ahead of the big event:
1. Patty and Bun Pop Up – www.pattyandbun.co.uk
It’s a known brand but it’s one we love. There is an immense amount of competition for a decent burger these days but it’s hard to beat Patty and Bun. At Standon Calling they are setting up a whole mini festival of their own with boozy cocktails from The Duppy Share, DJs from SlothBoogie, and some of the finest Aberdeen Angus on site. We might have to visit this last or we may never leave.
2. Wingmans – www.wingmans.co.uk
It’s not a festival without loads and loads of wings. So impressive are their buns and buckets they are even giving out special chicken-eating gloves to the masses as part of their #staysaucey campaign
3. The Mac Factory – www.themacfactory.co.uk
Mac and cheese has witnessed something of a renaissance in the past few years. You can’t visit a food market and not find a couple of stalls offering their own take. The same goes for Standon Calling. Choose your toppings and make your own ultimate comfort food. If the rain comes, this will be where the queue is!
4. Otherside Fried – www.othersidefried.com
Heralding from the back of a converted Ambulance this lot knock up some of the world’s greatest fried chicken. Almost legendary within the Broadgate market community, their work is of the highest order. A must munch!
5. Ghetto Grillz – www.ghettogrillz.com
Leading the charge for the grilling crew is Ghetto Grillz. Their Reuben is to die for and it comes in a proper Brick Lane squishy chewy bagel. I’m salivating and its two weeks away….
6. Supernova dining –www.standon-calling.com
This is rather special. A high quality three course meal with wine and service, set amongst the forest trees cooked over an open fire, accompanied by live acts and special DJ sets. It’s not cheap at £50pp but you get some really special items on the menu including cured salmon with beetroot and dill; wood smoked pig; and citrus posset. Booking is essential.
7. Tudor Pralines
Dessert anyone? How about a boat load of pralines? Tudor Pralines have been working on their recipe for more than a decade. They use copper kettles to roast the pralines and wrapping whole almonds in their own salted caramel honeycomb.
8. Kitty’s Cake Emporium – www.kittyscakeemporium.com
So you’ve looked lunch in the eye and dealt it a hefty blow. You’re not quite revamped enough to take on the challenge of dinner but you haven’t eaten for at least 20 minutes and its getting you worried. Have no fear – Kitty’s here. Kitty will be serving dreamy cakes from her Alice in Wonderland truck. It’s easy to spot from a mile off, it’s an essential part of the Standon weekend.
So on the face of it – food remains an essential part of this growing family festival. The proof, however, is in the eating. So pop back in a couple of weeks and we’ll have a full review of everything we’ve seen, heard, drank, and eaten. In the mean time, we’re off for a pre-emptive detox.
Standon Calling is on from the 26th to the 29th July inclusive