September 24th - 26th 2021
Solihull’s Food & Drink Festival makes its much-awaited return this September, headlined by the nation’s favourite chef, Ainsley Harriott.
Taking place between Friday 24 - Sunday 26 September, the free family festival will feature over 80 food and drink traders in Mell Square, Mill Lane and Solihull High Street.
Organised by Solihull BID and supported by RR Events, this year’s event will also feature the live music Rum and Reggae zone featuring the country’s top tribute acts Rats In The Kitchen and Badness.
Plus, there’s the much-loved demo kitchen, taster tent, restaurant voucher booklet and roaming entertainment across the town centre and inside Touchwood. Look out for the dinosaurs who are looking to make Solihull their new home!
On Saturday 25 September, Ainsley Harriott takes the reins, entertaining the crowd with his unique and effervescent style in the demo kitchen before signing copies of his new cookbook in Touchwood.
He will also be joined by a line-up of great cooks including Michelin star chef Glynn Purnell and Laura Adlington, Finalist on Great British Bake Off 2020.
Ainsley Harriott MBE said: “I’m delighted to be coming to Solihull on September 25th for the Solihull Food & Drink Festival. I’ll be hoping to tickle your taste buds with cooking demonstrations and I’ll also be signing copies of my latest cookbook.
“I’m so looking forward to seeing you all in Solihull town centre, for what promises to be a fantastic weekend!”
On Sunday 26 September, the festival will focus on the kids with adventures in food and science presented by the Gastronaut, known for his fun shows on BBC and CBBC, and arts and crafts specialists Creation Station in Mell Square. Laura Adlington will also be on hand to showcase the baking skills that made her a firm favourite with viewers.
The town centre crowd will be wowed throughout the weekend with plenty of roaming entertainment including Zeus the giant T-Rex, the Comedy Waiters, Juggling Jim and kids’ favourite, the Bubbleologist.
The Solihull Food & Drink Festival is one of the West Midlands’ most anticipated events of the year and will give a big boost to the BID’s town centre businesses with thousands of extra people visiting Solihull over the three days.
Melanie Palmer, Chief Executive of Solihull BID, said: “This year’s Food Festival is a huge celebration of all the things we’ve missed over the past months – food, fun, entertainment and laughter.
“Solihull leads the way in offering a safe, colourful environment for everyone to enjoy. Dinosaurs, Ainsley Harriott, street food and reggae – what more could you want?!”
Live music lovers will be treated to some toe-tapping tunes with the likes of Rats In The Kitchen, Badness, Ricky Cool and the In Crowd and One Love performing. Reggae and ska are accompanying the delicious food and drink from Friday – Sunday. The live music stage will be in the Rum and Reggae zone at the top of Solihull High Street.
Look out also for free tasters from Solihull’s very own restaurants in the taster tent and you’ll also be planning your return visit already with all the vouchers in the sought-after voucher booklet providing mouth-watering offers.
No, you do not.
Both the demo kitchen and stage in the rum and reggae section will be open plan. There will be seating provided but this will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. You will still be able to watch the demos and music even if you cannot get a seat.
After almost three decades as one of the country’s favourite TV chefs, Ainsley Harriott has become something of a national institution. In 2020 he was delighted to be awarded an MBE for his services to broadcasting and the culinary arts. Best known for his twenty-one series’ of Ready, Steady, Cook, and with many solo primetime cooking series under his belt, he has become the master of fresh, fun, accessible cuisine.
Often called the ‘Yummy Brummie’, Glynn Purnell started cooking professionally at the age of 14. After training with top chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and Claude Bosi, Glynn travelled abroad to work with well-known Michelin starred chefs in Europe. Glynn is now the proud owner of Purnell’s Restaurant on Cornwall Street in Birmingham, which opened in July 2007 and was awarded a Michelin star in 2009. Glynn has become a household name after taking part in the Great British Menu, winning twice and then later appearing as a mentor. He can regularly be seen on Saturday Kitchen as a host and guest chef.
Finalist of the Great British Bake Off 2020, Laura Adlington has been the stand out star of the nation’s favourite baking show. Laura’s sense of humour, positive outlook, resilience and messy baking has had viewers falling in love with not only her baking but also her wonderful personality. Laura is a Gravesend girl, born and bred, who decided to enter the competition after realising her flair and passion for baking. Since leaving the show Laura has also shared her baking skills on BBC Breakfast showcasing how to make the perfect pancake for Shrove Tuesday.
STEFAN GATES - GASTRONAUT
Stefan Gates is a hugely popular writer and TV presenter with a vast breadth of knowledge and a confident, sparky presenting style. He’s renowned for his love of quirky culinary quests and extraordinary food adventures. Stefan Gates has written and presented 16 TV series including food science series Harvest (BBC2), Food Factory (BBC1) and E Numbers: An Edible Adventure (BBC2), and three series of Cooking in the Danger Zone (BBC2) about global hunger and the politics of food and most recently Secrets of Your Supermarket Food (Channel 5). He also made the acclaimed kids’ series Incredible Edibles and Gastronuts (CBBC). Stefan performs live science shows at Festivals and schools all over the UK with concepts such as Fartology, Weirdology, Chocolatolgy and his most popular long running show the Gastronaut.
Chris is owner of Lacey’s Craft Butchers. Chris started his butchers journey at 14 as the butchers Saturday boy. After learning the trade the old fashioned way Chris found a new passion for creating different creations with big flavours in craft butchery which is what he is now well known for. On his journey Chris featured on young butcher of the year, finishing runner up, and then took part in the famous Harry Hill show. There has never been a more exciting time to be a butcher.
RATS IN THE KITCHEN
Rats In The Kitchen are the world's number 1 UB40 Tribute Show currently touring the UK, Ireland, Europe and recently India. They are a fully live, eight piece band, formed in 1998, performing pulsating reggae hits now spanning more than 25 years! From early hits such as 'King', 'Food For Thought' and 'Red Red Wine' through to some of UB40's most recent work combined with some foot stomping 80's Ska.
Madness Tribute band Badness formed in 1994. Badness have been a market leader in the tribute and Ska scene, with their energetic show and a frontman that never fails to whip the audience into shape, you know you're in for a good night if Badness are on the bill.
RICKY COOL AND THE IN CROWD
Red Hot Rhythm and Blues! Scintillating Ska and Bluebeat! Sensational Soul! Ricky Cool and the In Crowd serve up a gorgeous gumbo of sounds, similar to those found in the clubs of Soho in the early years of Mod mania. Original numbers are mixed in with great arrangements of classics, to give you a musical mix that will have your feet itching to dance.
ZEBBY KAMAR REGGAE
Zebby and DJ Kamar are professional Reggae Musicians that will electrify your Party with fun and laughter! They have performed on the Private Party scene for over 15 years. Zebby and DJ Kamar is guaranteed to fill the dance-floor by performing classics Reggae, Ska, and Soul hits from the last 50 years from the British charts, reproduced live to the highest level.
INNERHEART is a 5 piece-backing band for Reggae, Dancehall, R&B and Ska artists. Aubrey & Gordon were members of Jah Warriors, one of the leading UK reggae bands from the early 80’s. If you're looking for a feel good reggae band.. you've found it!
Reggae Matic was formed a year ago by very talented keys player, Kamar Bromfield. He is an experienced reggae and soul musician that has worked with many well known reggae artist including Dawn Penn, Aswad and the late Gregory Isaac. All the musicians have years of experience playing various arenas in many different countries in Europe and America. Reggae Matick is a 6 piece outfit with two very good vocalists. The material covered includes popular covers from the late Bob Marley, John Holt and many pop songs.
GLOBAL REGGAE BAND
Global Reggae are a 7-member band from Birmingham! G.R.B were formed & created in 2009 by Trevor Greaves aka Bajiman and it was decided to use their combined experience & practical knowledge to create a hybrid sound.
ONE LOVE BAND
Out of the remnants of Birmingham's 7 piece band Catch-a-Fire saw the emergence of 'The One Love Band' formed in 2011. The early part of the year saw the band re-emerge as a 5 piece band whose aim was to do something different to a lot of tribute bands by developing a style not yet utilised by many of their contemporaries, the aim was to create a band that paid homage to Reggae music as a whole not just to single acts.
4oz of Groove are a Reggae, Jazz, Funk, Soul, covers band from the Midlands. Primarily a three piece act, comprised of a distinctive sounding nylon-string acoustic guitarist, dub influenced bass and powerful female vocals. Their repertoire ranges from the nostalgic, evocative 60s soul, 70s groove and disco but can take modern day dance and transpose them into their own unique style, ensuring that punters do not stay seated!
You can view the full line-up for the chef demos and live music for the Festival on this page.
The street food vendors will be open 10am - 6pm, Friday and Saturday and 10am - 4pm on Sunday.
The vendors located in the Rum & Reggae section by the live music will remain open later with last orders for drinks at 10pm on Friday and Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.
Solihull town centre has a number of public car parks including Mell Square, M&S, Lode Lane, Monkspath Hall Road and others. You can view opening times and parking charges on the Solihull Council website by clicking here.
The Touchwood car park is also open. You can view more information on the Touchwood website by clicking here.
Solihull is connected to two mainline routes via Birmingham International and Solihull Station, connecting to Birmingham and London. Find out more information on train services and timetables by clicking here.
If you wish to travel by bus, Network West Midlands has all the online timetables and fare information you need with easy ticket buying and route planning. Click here for more information.
The market accompanying the Solihull Food & Drink Festival is managed by our partners at RR Events. If you would like to exhibit at the Solihull Food & Drink Festival, please fill out the application form on their website: https://rrevents.co.uk/register/