The Tale of a Meat Eater at a Vegan Festival

I was sceptical as I headed to VegFest in Brighton. After all, I love meat and hate tofu. There. I said it! But with a programme in hand, I ventured in to the Brighton Centre.

First stop on the agenda: the comedy room. Lou Sanders stepped up and started my time at VegFest with a set focused on sex and shame. Lou focused on how, for women, sexual activity (especially in the teen years) can lead to slut shaming, and how we should talk about it and own our shame. After all, we shouldn’t feel ashamed when consensual sex leads to “tongues and bums”!

Following Lou was local boy James Cartwright from Worthing. Shying away from bum-centred material, Cartwright got the audience laughing with the joke:

“Do you get fed up with people constantly asking you why you’re a vegan? I’ve got a great response. Say you were bitten by a radioactive vegan in Shoreditch.”

After some laughs, I headed upstairs to see who was around and instantly got distracted by the bar, getting myself an utterly delicious (and totally vegan) drink of Mango Cider from Lilley’s.

Meandering on, I found myself talking to the team from Juniper Green Organic Gin. Their gin is certified 100% organic (their base spirit is organically sourced), with the juniper coming from a sustainable crop and the remaining botanicals being organically grown here in the UK. They produce a range of spirits: two gins, two rums, a whiskey and a vodka.

What surprised me about VegFest is the range of people there. It wasn’t just a hoard of people screaming at me that meat is murder and discussing tofu. Not only was the place full of yummy food and drink vendors, it also housed ethical beauty products, animal charities, anti-hunting groups, and a hell of a lot of ice cream.


There was also a lot of ethical clothing on sale – one vendor I got chatting to was Jade. Jade is 22, vegan and an animal lover. After leaving university, she followed her passion for design, creating Jade Green Vegan, a lifestyle blog and compassionate clothing line.

The ink used to print her designs is toxic free and animal friendly – did you know that some printing inks are tested on animals? Well, her printers are not, and also use recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

My day ended with pizza. Well, vegan pizza from Brighton staple Purezza. Based on St. James’s Street, they are the UK’s first plant based Italian Restaurant.

Using sourdough as a base choosing a topping of tomato and vegan cheese, I added some extra olives to mark the end of my exciting day. Vegan cheese is not the same as soft chewy mozzarella, but it isn’t terrible.

Verdict: Am I going to turn vegan? No. But have I left VegFest with a greater appreciation for animal welfare and ethically sourced products? Yes.

Written by Jenny. Find more from Jenny on her blog Jenny in Brighton.