Published: Friday, 26th May 2023

Prepare to be amazed as the team behind the festival have once again created an extra special programme to wow visitors.

F&D photo 3F&D photo 5The festival is glamming up and hitting the town (centre) to celebrate their big birthday on August bank holiday weekend.

With a mix of celebrity and regional chef cookery demos, a sprinkling of over 200 market traders, lashings of live music, a pinch of exciting children’s activities, a dash of super fun street entertainment all laced with lots of special events including Bottomless Brunch, comedy dining experiences and a one-time, not-to-be-missed DJ set from Gok Wan, you can truly have your cake and eat it!

And the proof is in the pudding - not only did last year’s event smash the record for visitor numbers, the festival is also award-winning and has been named the best leading live event at the This is Manchester Awards, as well as Best Market Attraction by the National Association of British Market Authorities.

Entry is completely free to all visitors, with the festival taking over most of the town centre and offering lots for everybody to enjoy with the celebrity chef and special ticketed events thrown into the mix for those wanting to have a summer treat.

Festival Highlights

All day, every day

Be the first to try out some scrumptious cuisine from around the world, pick up some unique treats and gifts or check out the art by local artists on one of over 200 artisan market stalls.

Get your toes tapping at one of the live music stages while you take a breather from the bustling festival site and listen to the cream of the crop of popular local bands and musicians.

Bring the kids to try their hand at arts and crafts, to join in with fun games and magic tricks or to simply get their faces painted! 

For those keen home cooks out there, there’s a jam-packed line up of regional chefs with some of the region's and nation’s favourites joining the festival over the weekend with a medley of cookery demos.

The cherry on top of this concoction of magical entertainment, is the addition of strolling, world-class street performers to keep the vibe going wherever you are.


Kicking the weekend off with a bang is festival ambassador Michael Caines. Fresh from Lympstone Manor, the much-loved celebrity chef ambassador launches the flagship festival on Friday morning.  You’ll be able to catch him in a free cookery demo too.


Start your Saturday in style with the brand-new Bottomless Brunch. Joining the line up and getting your festival days off to an incredible start, these daily sessions promise to keep your glass and your tummy full.

Not to be outdone, festival newbie Gok Wan will be serving up a treat with some delicious Chinese food demos in our celebrity chef cookery theatre, located in the Festival Hall.

After a spin in the kitchen, the multi-talented chef will be taking to the decks creating a feast of retro club classics and old school house music – a one-time opportunity and a night to remember!

If belly laughs are more your thing, then grab a ticket for our immersive theatre and dining comedy nights. Back, by popular demand, the Faulty Towers dining experience returns for one night only.


Sunday will welcome another new face to the festival when business owner, charity founder, author, food presenter and TV cook, Nisha Katona MBE joins Team Bolton for the first time, leading the way for a spectacular Sunday spread.

Mowgli Street Food’s Nisha will be showcasing her love of Indian cooking in a range of cookery demos bringing new simple recipes to Bolton and sharing her infectious passion for all things food.

Our Bottomless brunch is back too – what better way to start a Sunday than with good friends, good food and a little drink or two?

Rounding off the day is a second helping of comedy in the ‘Live and Let Dine’ dining experience, brought to you by the team behind the Faulty Towers experience – prepare to be shaken when theatre meets vendetta, meets dinner show as the hero tries to unravel who's out to get him - and why.

“Events like this bring great economic benefits to the town and really help to showcase Bolton as a brilliant visitor destination.”


Bringing the festival to a close and going out on a high, is festival icon, James Martin who tops the guest list and returns to headline the Monday line up with his ever-popular cookery demos showing off his second-to-none culinary skills.

There’s also one last chance to grab a seat to enjoy our Bottomless brunch session.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Nick Peel, said:

“I’m delighted to announce the extensive programme at the 18th Bolton Food and Drink Festival, and hope that visitors come from far and wide to join us in celebrating.

“As our flagship event, it’s really important that we make this accessible for all and offer residents free, fun activities for them and their families.

“It’s all thanks to our fantastic headline sponsor Peel L&P, who has made this event possible.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Nadeem Ayub, said:

“In my new role looking after culture, I am looking forward to joining the celebrations and seeing the town centre bustling.

“Events like this bring great economic benefits to the town and really help to showcase Bolton as a brilliant visitor destination.”

Tickets will be going on sale at the end of this month for the celebrity chef demos so keep an eye on the socials for more announcements coming soon.