Rochdale Food and Drink Festival rolls into town on Saturday, packed with stalls, live cooking, star chefs, bars, workshops, family entertainment and music.
Final preparations are well underway at Rochdale Town Hall where the new event is staged on Saturday, 24 March 2018 from 10am until 6pm, followed by a gourmet festival finale dinner.
Food and drink fans from across the region are expected to descend on the town for the event, organised by the council team behind Rochdale Feel Good Festival.
Chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli, Nisha Katona, Andrew Nutter and Tom McNeeney will be cooking live, with 40-minute demonstrations scheduled packed with tips, techniques and the opportunity to ask questions.
You can book last minute tickets online at or on the day subject to availability, but if you don’t manage to grab a ticket there’s a free seating area to watch chef demonstrations on a big screen.
‘The town hall is a spectacular location for festivals like this’
CBeebies ‘I Can Cook’ presenter Katy Ashworth brings her energetic burst of silliness and family fun to the indoor stage, with shows at 10:30am and 1:30pm aimed at children and grown-ups packed with games, learning about where food comes from through music and imagination.
There's also a food and drink village, with 40 traders selling delicious dishes, fantastic street food, pop-up shops, bars and more. There will be meaty, veggie and vegan delights, combining a mix of healthy choices and tempting treats.
Visitors can take their pick from naan sandwiches, Italian tapas, salads, and delicious wood-fired pizzas. There will also be Chinese, Thai and Pan Asian street food, gourmet burgers, fusion quesadillas and homemade pies. For those with a sweet tooth there will be pancakes and churros available. There will also be plenty of conveniently-located bars selling a range of alcoholic and soft drinks.
Inside our Grade I-listed town hall – there will be stalls selling food and gifts to take home, including cheeses, chutneys, relishes, Indian street food, Caribbean cakes, muffins, artisan chocolates, black puddings, fudge and desserts. On the ground floor the elegant reception room will be transformed into a 1920s-themed bar for the day hosting a series of free workshops every hour from 11am, including ‘Wonderful Wines’, ‘The Gin Experience,’ and ‘Cocktail Making Like A Pro.’
There’s even an Easter themed cake competition – with 2 categories: adults and under 13s, with both being judged by top chef Jean-Christophe Novelli and local cake supremo Natasha Brown from Brown’s Cakes. To enter, you must deliver your cake to the Indoor Stage at Rochdale Town Hall by 10am on the day. Please present your cake on a disposable cake board, clearly labelled with your name and entry category. The winners will be announced on the Indoor Stage at 2.30pm.
But it’s not just about the food – there’s also a menu of live music to keep you entertained while you tuck in. An outdoor stage accompanied by a covered seating area on The Esplanade will feature a host of acts. Opening the stage will be Rochdale’s Joe Dunne at 12 midday, followed by Rochdale-based acoustic quartet #Hashtag who specialise in their own versions of classic tracks by the likes of Bowie, T-Rex, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and more.
At 2pm and 4.30pm listen out for Tony Lambert - a singer-songwriter, guitar-playing folk pop musician, and at 3pm don’t miss KS Roosevelt, recently named as one of the ‘top 5 musicians and bands to watch in 2018’ by the Manchester Evening News. At 5.15pm, Manchester based new band KAZE will be taking to the stage.
Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture, said:
“As well as the chef demonstrations we will have a tempting range of food and drink traders and a programme of entertainment. Rochdale town centre is a great place to visit and the town hall is a spectacular location for festivals like this. 40 traders, 4 chefs, 8 workshops, 5 musical acts, family entertainment and even a Victorian carousel ride … I am pleased to see this brand new event on our calendar and I hope people will come along and support it.”
Rochdale Food and Drink Festival is this Saturday, 24 March 2018, open from 10am until 6pm and entry is free.
You can park free between 9am and 7pm at Hopwood Hall College Car Park on St Mary’s Gate OL12 6RY - only a 5 minute walk from the festival.
The festival is organised by us together with sponsorship from The Flying Horse Hotel, and The Quirky Catering Company. Find out more about our sponsors: