Published: Wednesday, 21st Aug 2019

James Martin, Hairy Bikers, Gregg Wallace, and Michael Caines to headline Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2019.

Hairy BikersThe biggest event in the region’s culinary calendar is so close you can almost taste it.

Bolton Food and Drink Festival, organised in association with Aldi, is back for its 14th year this bank holiday weekend and is set to be bigger and better than ever.

The four-day extravaganza welcomed 274,000 people last year.

It runs from August 23 to 26 and, once again, it will be jam-packed with celebrity chefs, special events, live music, street performers, family fun, and a world of cuisine.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, said: “We are all tremendously excited that Bolton Food and Drink Festival is almost upon us.

“This year we have something for all the family – amazing cuisine from all over the world, a feast of live music, lots of fun for all the family and, of course, some of the best loved and talented chefs in the country demonstrating their skills in Bolton town centre.

“We believe the festival is the best of its kind in the country and now we can’t wait for it to begin.

“We hope everyone is as excited as we are and will come and join the fun.”

Ruth Doyle, Regional Managing Director at Aldi UK, added: “This year’s festival is set to be even better than last year and we are so pleased to be supporting it once again!

“We have plenty of events planned, including food and drink tasting sessions.

“We are incredibly proud to be the headline sponsor for the event and we look forward to meeting the visitors and the Bolton community once again.”

Food and drink

Festival goers can browse more than 200 food, drink, arts and crafts stalls.

Markets are open from 10am to 6pm (closes 5pm on Monday), in and around Victoria Square, Oxford Street, Market Street, Deansgate, Newport Street, and Hotel Street.

The Arts Circle and craft traders are on Newport Street and teenage market young entrepreneurs on Hotel Street.

Visitors can sit back and relax with a drink at one of the five bars around the site.

The Festival Bar on Le Mans Crescent and Acoustic Bar on Victoria Square will open 11am to 11pm.

Aldi’s Top Tipples Bar will offer a range of prosecco, wine and cocktails (11am to 9pm) and Deansgate bars open from 10am to 7pm. All bars close 6pm on Monday.


Music lovers can enjoy some of Bolton’s finest bands and musicians at the Festival Stage on Le Mans Crescent and the Acoustic Bar stage on Victoria Square.

The Festival stage will feature a range of musical talent including tribute bands The Courtbetweeners and True Order (on Friday).

catch comedy folk band Lancashire Hotpots (on Saturday), Tommy Holland as Elvis (on Sunday) and Blank Cheque (on Monday).

Highlights on the Acoustic Bar stage include The Buskers Ball of Bolton, who will be hosting an open mic afternoon (on Sunday), and boyband Conixi (on Saturday and Monday).

Live music is on daily from around 11am until late Friday to Sunday, closing at 6pm on Monday.

Chefs and special events

Michelin-starred Michael Caines will launch the festival on Friday to an audience of invited guests.

In the Festival Marquee, on Saturday, The Hairy Bikers will host live cookery demos at 10.30am and 3pm, and Ploughman’s Lunch with beer sommelier Annabelle Smith at 12.30pm.

Kick back and relax with an evening (6.30pm start) of food, drink and comedy as Masterchef winner Simon Wood prepares tasty recipes alongside BAFTA winning comedian John Archer.

Pay a visit to the Vegan Fair in Victoria Hall on Saturday (10am to 5pm).

Greengrocer Gregg Wallace is making his debut at the festival on Sunday with cooking demonstrations at 11am and 2.30pm, as well as delivering a fine-dining masterclass with Simon Wood at 1pm.

Making a debut to the festival line-up this year are gin and rum masterclasses, with a menu cooked by acclaimed chefs Aiden Byrne and Simon Wood, in the main marquee at 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

Festival favourite James Martin will make his 11th appearance on Monday, with three live demonstrations at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm.

Catch free hourly regional chef demos from 11am to 4pm in Bolton Market on Friday and Saturday and Market Place Shopping Centre from Saturday to Monday. Pick up some tips from local chefs including Bolton Market’s Alain Job Jon Jones, Masterchef finalist Geoff Warburton, celeb chefs Simon Wood, Aiden Byrne, and Robert Owen Brown and social media baking star Jackie Heaton also known as Baking Nanna.

Expert bakers Kay Gajra and Rose Dummer will also be unveiling spectacular cakes at the festival.

Family fun

This year, the Family Zone will open in the former BHS unit in Crompton Place Shopping Centre for the duration of the festival.

Older children can play pool, pinball and table football. Gaming fans, including adults, can experience and try different gaming stations. A selfie booth will also be set up.

Younger members of the family can have a go at pirate-themed activities in ‘The Great Pirate Adventure’, organised by Bolton Library and Museum Service. A baby and toddler area will also be available.

The Family Zone will open from 10am to 6pm daily. The Great Pirate Adventure is on from 10am to 4.30pm, and magic shows at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm.

Parking and information

Free parking is available at the Octagon, Deane Road, and Topp Way NCP multi-storey car parks on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Bolton Food and Drink Festival is free to attend. Tickets for celebrity chef demos and special events can be purchased online at

During the event tickets can be purchased from the information point on Victoria Square (near the marquee).

For more information, please visit, follow on Twitter/Instagram @BoltonFoodFest and on Facebook @BoltonFoodAndDrinkFestival.

Festival headline sponsor: Aldi; Festival sponsors: Willmott Dixon, Crompton Place; Festival partners: Arts Council; Bolton at Home; Bolton Market; Bolton Library and Museum Services; Bolton School; Carrs Pasties, Greater Manchester Combined Authority; Impressions; Robertson; RRG Group Ltd, the University of Bolton and the Exclusec Group.