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Pub in the Park with Tom Kerridge in Tunbridge Wells features food and music from Will Young and Rick Astley

By Angela Cole

Chef Tom Kerridge brings his Pub in the Park festival to Kent for a second year this weekend. Here, he talks good food, good music and - fingers crossed - good weather.

Tom Kerridge is on a high. With a BBC 2 show, Lose Weight for Good, and bestselling cookbooks, he is now heading back to Kent this weekend for his second Pub in the Park festival, after last year’s inaugural Kent outing.

With its mix of food and drink, local, top-flight chefs and live music, it proved popular when it came to Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells last year. And then there was the weather... could this year do as well?

Tom Kerridge with Marco Pierre White at Pub in the Park Picture: Will Bailey
Tom Kerridge with Marco Pierre White at Pub in the Park Picture: Will Bailey

Tom said: “We were so lucky with the weather last year. It created a really good vibe. The vibe was fantastic, and everything was brilliant. I was so happy with it all.”

This year, the music line-up is different, and there is more family entertainment and different food and drink offerings, but many of the chefs visiting to stage cookery demonstrations and meet the crowd are simply back for more.

Pub in the Park will be in Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells
Pub in the Park will be in Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells

“A lot of the chefs asked to come back,” said Tom. “We work with the guys to make sure the chefs and musicians are having fun. And if they have fun, they want to come back the next year.”

The event started off in Tom’s home town of Marlow, venturing into extra locations like Kent last year, and then, returning for a second helping this year.

This year’s includes a pop-up cinema and outdoor crafts and nature activities for little ones, as well as circus skills and storyteller sessions on the Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Pub in the Park will include live food demonstrations Picture: Will Bailey
Pub in the Park will include live food demonstrations Picture: Will Bailey

There will also be nine pop-up pubs at the venue, with Kent’s featuring Tom himself, Jason Atherton’s Berner’s Tavern, Whitstable’s Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano, Atul Kochhar’s Indian Essence and a pudding pop-up, Pretty Sweet from Claire Clark and Sarah Crouchman.

Keeping up Kent’s offering will be the Kentish Hare’s Tanner brothers, Robert Taylor from the Compasses Inn at Crundale, Will Devlin from the Small Holding and The Sportsman’s Stephen Harris from Whitstable. But Tom said: “The menus will be different; we mix it up and try different things. Everyone is up for it.”

Despite the mammoth amount of organisation, Tom also has one thing on his wish list - to actually get time to see everything. “I can’t wait to spend time at the festival with some amazing chefs. That is what makes it great . I will be there, the whole time.”

“Just Tunbridge Wells... bring on the sunshine!”

Will Young will perform Picture: Steve Schofield
Will Young will perform Picture: Steve Schofield

This year’s family offering has been boosted so that all ages can join in the festival fun. Songs will be performed at the entrance by the cast of Trinity Youth Theatre and will also be providing the storytelling sessions. Circus skills to try with Trinity will be diablo, plate spinning and juggling. Other events will include arts, crafts and nature activities such as making Bee Bombs, planting sunflowers and making Dragonflies, a children’s cinema showing a range of films across the weekend, a cooking demo and hands-on activities such as making rainbow pasta and unicorn cupcakes with cookies kitchen and giant garden games.

KT Tunstall will perform Picture: David Parry
KT Tunstall will perform Picture: David Parry

A SIDE ORDER OF MUSIC

Eighties star Rick Astley, Basement Jaxx and Will Young are all on the line-up for Pub in the Park.

Rick Astley will perform
Rick Astley will perform

Rick Astley will headline the Friday evening, with KT Tunstall as support, while on the Saturday afternoon Soul II Soul Soundsystem will play. On the Saturday evening, there will be a DJ set from Basement Jaxx and a set by Stereo MCs and on the final day, the afternoon will see Gabrielle headline, and Natalie Williams and the Soul Family, with the finale being Will Young, along with The Bluetones.

DETAILS

Pub in the Park is at Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells from Friday, July 12 to Sunday, July 14. To book tickets go to pubintheparkuk.com/tunbridge-wells

To find out what’s going on in the county and for all the latest entertainment news click here.

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