Birmingham ends one food fest and begins another

Birmingham is set as the venue for a more populist food fest, following the cancelation of the Taste of Birmingham. The organiser of Taste in Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston has set off a change in the contract with the owner of the festival’s franchise, Brand events. There is now an escape clause because of the switch to the mass market culinary festival.

The original summer gastronomical event was targeting corporations and high-rollers. Now the new autumn fest will be a people’s celebration, with few events that require tickets. Sponsorships by businesses will be pursued, while the focus will now be on attracting more people.

Taste festivals are operated throughout the world by Brand Events. Marketing Birmingham has signed a three-year contract with them to hold the summer festival. The contract was going to be up just after this summer’s event and renegotiated.

Local protest of the ticket prices and offence at the exclusivity emanating from the previous format and clientele fuelled a reconfiguration of the event.

The Birmingham Chefs’ Alliance were trying to change the location to local restaurants and away from a tent exhibition outside of town. They wanted a festival “for Birmingham, by Birmingham.”

However, there were other ideas for the new festival, which will last 10 days during October. It will be located in the centre of the city and local restaurants are welcomed to participate by offering promotions, demonstrations, special menus for the festival, and tastings.

Commercial Director for Marketing Birmingham, Ian Taylor, reported to the Post, “We had a built-in break clause that we used this year. It was all legitimate. People were speaking quite clearly to us and we have listened.”

The relationship between Brand Events and Marketing Birmingham has not soured. Taylor admitted that he looks forward to future dealings with Brand Events.