18 July 2014

Love Supreme Jazz Festival

If you're a jazz lover, or perhaps a fan of the genre's other family members, motown, soul, funk and R&B, then you may already be a Love Supreme veteran. However, for those who are not, Love Supreme Jazz Festival is of course a festival of jazz and it's related genres but it's also something more. With it's swinging tunes, friendly family atmosphere and amazing food (best BBQ of my life!) Love Supreme is not just a festival it's a celebration of the groove! 

Dan and I were given free VIP tickets to Love Supreme through work so we went down to Glynde on the Saturday to check out the festival, which is now in it's second year. It was absolutely pouring it down when we set off, something that you must expect when visiting any British music festival. However, when we arrived at Glynde it had stopped, which may have tinted my opinion, but I have never been to a music festival with a prettier setting. Walking past the river and the cottages in the village, then through the Glynde Place arch and coming out to see the mansion opposite the festival, I'm not sure if I was more stunned by the beauty of our surroundings or the fact the festival was actually there.

As we normally camp at festivals it was a nice change not to have to carry a back pack that weighed as much as me on my back, leave the wellies behind, and have a shower rather than a spritz of dry shampoo and a wet wipe before stepping out. We were carefree with absolutely no worries, until we got to the festival and it hit us. Do we even like Jazz music? Going into the festival, I'm not sure we could of said we did, but coming out I can truly say I am a Jazz convert, a Motown lover, a Groovy girl (I've taken it too far again but it is the truth!). Highlights included Phronesis a British/Scandinavian lounge jazz trio who transported us into a dark 1920's basement bar, Incognito who were sending the message 'one love under the groove' with their Latin funk/R&B rhythms, and Earth, Wind and Fire who made disco contagious with their synchronised dancing, soulful voices and Eighties energy.

One of my favourite things about going to festivals is discovering what's new and this doesn't just cover new music it also extends to the food. Festivals have so many options now, begone are the days where it was just a burger van and hogs roast. Although I have no problem with a good version of either of these stalls, today festivals can be as much about the food as they are about the music. 

 As I've already told you about my favourite performer of the evening (boogie wonderlanders Earth, Wind and Fire) it's only fair for me introduce my favourite food stall, El Gaucho BBQ. Serving South American style BBQ meat of the highest order, El Gaucho were cooking up the most tender rib eye steak sourced straight from their Mother continent's country Uruguay, juicy beef short ribs from Devon (a first for me and I'm glad I had them from El Gaucho) and lamb which I am very sorry to say we missed out on. What we did have was a mixed box of rib eye and short ribs piled high on four bread buns and drizzled with chimichurri which set the whole thing off with lemony sharpness and heat from the garlic and chilli. For £20 this box was a steal. I kid you not, we shared this box between two starving, non-breakfasted festivalers but it could have easily served four. It was absolutely delicious and as I said here, best BBQ of my life.

El Gaucho will be at Bristol Harbour Festival this weekend and I've also got it on authority that they will be at Blackheath Music and Food Festival in South East London on the 13-14 September 2014. Now to just snag a ticket!

An unexpected surprise at Love Supreme was their partnership with Grand Marnier producing a pop-up bar, which was one of the best outdoor advertisements I have been to.Within 'Hidden Charm', a speakeasy like den complete with an outdoor lounge and dj booth, scrumptious cocktails were served up in unique spherical chalices that doubled as cocktail shakers. Whoever thought of the glasses alone deserves a big bonus, we had countless numbers of people coming up to us asking what it was and where they could get one. The whole event was really cleverly done and the enthusiastic staff and great-tasting cocktails made it a real hit. We went for the Grand Master Smash, which was heavy on the chilli and delicious, although I am a sucker for anything with lime, mint or ginger beer in. Call me a dark and stormy sort of girl. Unfortunately, they were also giving out hats which Dan leapt aboard immediately. He says to most people that'll listen to him on the topic that he has a head for hats. I think the picture above can let you decide for yourselves on that one.

Something that has come a long way in representation at festivals is vegetarian food and the choice at this festival for vegetarians and vegans alike was really strong. Greek Expectations Meze Bar stood out in offering an array of vegetarian delights including favourites like stuffed vine leaves, thick and creamy humous and a vibrant green bean salad. This was just what I needed after overindulging at El Gaucho, it was a refreshing and every bite was interesting with a different meze. Greek Expectations do not specialise in vegetarian food alone, they also have other stands selling Greek/Cypriot kebabs, and steak and halloumi. 

Greek Expectations will be at WOMAD Festival on the 24-27th July 2014 and out of season they can be found at Leather Lane Market.

Having not known what to expect from Love Supreme, it was an excellent day and I'm looking forward to going back. 

And so I leave you with how all good festival have to end. 

With churros.