If you know me, you know I love a good vegan festival; loads of vegan brands, food stalls and likeminded people all in one place – what’s not to love? Last year’s Newcastle Vegan Festival, held in the Assembly Rooms in the city centre, was the first vegan festival I attended in Newcastle. At the time I wasn’t really aware of Newcastle’s veggie/vegan scene so I didn’t have any expectations and was pleasantly surprised by how busy it was and how many great stalls were there. This year was even bigger & busier than before, and although this makes for a bit of a hot and sweaty day out, it is only a good thing as it shows just how popular veganism is becoming!

The festival was spread out across several rooms and played host to a wide range of businesses, both local and from further afield. There was an abundance of different foods, as well as clothing stalls, skin & haircare, jewellery, charities and a designated room for talks.

Our first port-of-call for food was Grumpy Panda, their all-vegan diner is opening in Gateshead town centre on the 4th July so we were super excited to get a taste of what will be on offer. I snaffled down a portion of mac ‘n’ chizza (that’s pizza flavoured mac ‘n’ cheese for the uninitiated) whilst Michael, unable to decide between the two options available, opted for a philly cheese steak baguette half filled with mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s fair to say we are excited to visit their diner!

Okay, so, literally every time Michael goes to a vegan festival in Glasgow without me I always beg him to get me macarons from Naked Bakery and he never does. So I basically wet myself with excitement when I saw they were at Newcastle Vegan Festival and immediately bought 10 macarons (FYI, you can get them delivered to your house, so I needn’t have waited all that time to get my hands on them but never mind). They also had amazing looking doughnuts and pastries; I was sorely tempted to get one of everything but I managed to restrain myself. The macarons, perfectly sweet and crunchy and chewy, were exactly like their non-vegan counterparts (why do people bother with non-vegan food?!) and were such delicious flavours – my favourite being cookie, which was actually filled with cookie dough, BLISS.

Giving our belly’s a break,  we checked out some of the activism stalls, which gave us a great opportunity to learn how to get more involved in the vegan community and promote animal rights. NAWC (Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative), Newcastle’s main animal rights group were there to encourage more people to get involved with their work, as were North East Hunt Saboteurs and Sea Shepherd.

Ready for more food, we tucked into some V-Dogs. Oh baby.

It was great to see some old favourites such as Tyne Chease and The Green Guerrilla, as successful as ever. I also spotted some stalls I hadn’t seen before, including House of Holistic – a completely cruelty free and vegan hair salon that operates on the Quayside, I’m hoping to visit next time I need a hair cut! After grabbing some pies from Cool Jerk Vegan Pies to take home for tea, we left with full stomachs and broad smiles from a delicious & cruelty-free day.

It was fantastic to be surrounded by so many brilliant businesses offering such fabulous vegan food and products (too many to mention!) and it warmed my heart to see it so busy and know that every day more & more people are moving towards a vegan lifestyle! If you haven’t already, give Newcastle Vegan Festival a like on Facebook so that you can keep an eye out for their next event! ✨

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