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Welcome to the London Vegan Festival webpages, which are now being hosted by Vegan Campaigns.

London Vegan Festival
“The First ten Years”

By Robin Lane.

In the beginning…At the Vegan Society AGM in 1996, recently appointed council
member Chris Sutoris proposed an annual vegan event. I was on council at the
time and I suggested that we could organise a large scale event. A working party was formed consisting of myself, Chris, Julie Rosenfield and Terry Bevis. The Society’s office manager was concerned that staff would not be able to take on a large event at that time so I suggested that the event could be administered by CALF, the group that I ran. We set about finding a name and Chris suggested National Vegan Festival. And so we set about organising the first UK vegan festival. As none of us had any experience in such a venture, we decided to aim for 1998. We chose Conway Hall, near Holborn, and I took on the role of treasurer and general co-ordinator while Julie would organise speakers, Terry, the stalls and Chris would come up with ideas one of which was a food workshop.
A decision was made to bring in Alison Coe (CALF) and Julie’s partner Brian Jacobs. The Vegan Society agreed to underwrite the cost of the festival and it was full steam ahead. By September 1998 everything was in place and our first vegan festival was underway. Of course, not everything went according to plan…we wrongly estimated that several hundred people would attend and only catered for three hundred. In the event, 1000 people came and I gave myself the unenviable task of attempting to placate those waiting in the food queue! Unfortunately, the caterers failed to see what all the fuss was about and refused any help!!
As the first festival was such a resounding success, we set about making plans for the second one. Myself and Alison were now the sole organisers and we decided to move the festival to the Camden Centre in King’s Cross. The new venue was significantly larger than Conway Hall but the lack of a separate room for speakers was a great disadvantage. However, the festival was once again very successful with over 1000 attending. We built upon the introduction of raw food, after inviting John Coleman to speak the previous year, as well as introducing musicians into the line-up.
For the year 2000 we returned to Conway Hall and re-named the festival `The Vegan Food & Drink Fayre`. The festival just happened to fall at the same time as the fuel strike and it was a very stressful time. However, 900 people attended – nothing can stop a determined vegan!
In the year’s 2001, 2002 and 2003 we continued to hold the festival at Conway Hall. Up until that time we were donating our profits to organisations including SHAC, The London anti-fur campaign, Save the Newchurch Guinea Pigs and animal sanctuaries which meant we were unable to afford to hire larger premises. While we loved to hold the festivals at Conway Hall, it was becoming increasingly obvious that the premises were too small and by 2003, some people were actually not attending because of the overcrowding. It was time for a re-think and we opted for the much larger Kensington Town Hall. Another change was in the air. Due to the emergence of regional vegan festivals we re-named ours, the London Vegan Festival. We continued to, and still do donate money raised at the festival to vegan causes. In 2004 the event attracted 1400 people, some travelling as far afield as the USA and Europe. In 2005 we joined forces with Vegan Campaigns (London) and saw another highly successful event. At its peak, the foyer was full to bursting, and it seemed we had outgrown the space once again! The festival continued to feature an array of music, workshops, children’s activities, speakers, stalls and films. In all, over 2000 vegans and non-vegans enjoyed a truly inspiring day. However, the hall manager informed us that we needed to hire more space, otherwise we would have to count people in and out, which was out of the question, so in 2006 we took over all three floors – we were on the up and up! This was the year that we made the decision to hold a joint event with `The Festival of Life`, a group of raw fooders whose moto is `Heal thyself, heal thy world`. Whilst the festival(s) were unique and an interesting experience, it was decided to return to separate events.
For the 2007 festival we were fortunate to have Caroline from Vegan Campaigns on the  team and set about organising the most successful London festival to date. The success was boosted by the full page article that appeared in `The London Paper` five days prior to the event. The London Vegan Festival now occupies the main building as well as committee rooms in the adjacent building.
At the outset, we hoped to inspire others to follow our lead and 10 years on there are now vegan festivals not only around the UK but also in other countries.
We would especially like to thank Vegan Village, Bernie Laprade and Caroline for administering the festival websites, our leaflet designers, the Vegan Society for their unstinting support, Vegan Campaigns (London), all those who have sponsored the festival over the past ten years and also our dedicated volunteers.


To see photos of the 2007 festival, click here

To see photos of the 2006 festival, click here

To see photos of the 2005 festival, click here

To see photos of the 2004 festival, click here

To see photos of the 2003 festival, click here



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