Turin Veg Festival 2009
Top L to R Maz, Liz, Pete
Bottom L to R Peter S, Robbie
Caricatures created by Andrea Malgeri
Our day started at 4am as we set off to the airport on a chilly Friday morning. Finding our way to our terminal we checked in & the 3 of us from Brighton then sat & waited...but where was Robbie Hazeley? Hurried phone calls soon revealed that due to a misunderstanding Robbie was waiting for us at the other side of the check in! Luckily he managed to get himself checked-in in record time & we were off.
Arriving in Turin we were met by Yari who was a real saviour throughout the whole festival, translating, driving us to & from the hotel & generally being an all-round top bloke!
The other guy lumbered with helping us poor, helpless Brits was Luciano. Who really did drive in the way Italians are expected to :-)
Liz, Luciano & Pete
Arriving at our hotel Liz soon got us sorted out, then it was off to the festival!
As this was our first time at a vegan festival outside of the UK we had no idea what to expect, but as we arrived we were pretty shocked as the venue took up the whole of the Parco le Serre, a park in the centre of Turin. It had a main building, loads of marquees, a big top & a couple of other buildings for talks & refreshments. It was every bit as large as the Bristol fayre we'd been to the week before, maybe slightly less stalls, but in terms of area this was as big, if not bigger!
A few of the many outside stalls at the festival
It didn't take us long to set up our stuff & get ourselves comfy on the stall. Thanks again to Yari who'd taken the time to first translate, then print up copies of our leaflets into Italian.
Robbie, Liz & Maz ready for action
Robbie, Pete & Maz on the stall
People often say us British have weird weather, but I believe the Italians have very odd weather. When we arrived the weather was fine, but out of nowhere came a downpour that wasn't much less than a monsoon! The rain only lasted a few minutes, but it REALLY came down, then 5 minutes later, sunshine...very strange
Having had the 5 minute flood, then surely the weather couldn't get any weirder...well next came the 30 second hurricane! This was a really odd happening. One minute it was peaceful, the next we were grappling to keep the marquees together as a giant wind swept across the park & swept all but the biggest marquees away. After 30 seconds it was gone...but so was our tent!
Maz with all that was left of our Marquee!
Thankfully the whole festival pulled together & everyone helped by carrying stuff & making room for the stalls inside that had lost tents. Special thanks has to go to Maz & Liz as they had to sort out room for us indoors while me & Robbie had to run off & do our talk.
Liz, Yari, Maz & Robbie
Due to the marquee disappearing we don't have any pictures of our talk. We were sharing a speaking slot with Peter Simpson of vegan runners who was there to explain who & what vegan runners were & help those running improve their abilities. Finally it was our time to speak & as we only had 45 minutes we went straight into a questions & answers session. Answering everything we could about diet & training. Again we have to thank Yari for translating all the questions & answers during the talk.
Robbie, Peter S & Maz on stall duty
It had been a little difficult for us to explain to people that there was to be a push-up contest during the festival, but luckily we managed to round up a good sized crowd. Special thanks to Maz, who although he didn't speak the language seemed to be able to get people to understand it was a contest we were suggesting & not anything else :-). With a crowd of entrants & spectators in tow we marched across the fayre to the venue of he contest, gathering up the curious & interested onlookers as we went.
Before we continue I would just like to thank our sponsors of the event. These stallholders were great & gave us a whole host of prizes for the event & despite our lack of being able to speak Italian trusted us enough to donate on the day. If you have time I really hope you can take moment or 2 & check out their sites as it is these people who keep the contests interesting & exciting by supplying prizes on the day to everyone who enters the contest, so go & spend a few Euros on their sites.
For our first International contest we had 6 women. I must admit I may have got the names & faces muddled up. If I have, pop over to the contacts page & let me know & I'll change it. Yet more thanks to Yari for his great translation skills!
The winner of the Women's event was Olivia with 48 reps
For our first men's contest we got 8 contestants
Finally we dragged Yari up onto the stage to do some reps. Unfortunately Mr Maz forgot to write it down in all the excitement, but it is believed to be around 26 or so?
Yari repping out on the push-ups
The winner of the men's event was Manuel with 51 reps
We'd like to once again thank the sponsors of the event that helped make all this possible & allow us to give away all those prizes
Although we had to run a stall, do a talk & run a contest it wasn't all work, work, work...
Disaster as Pete is attacked by the shoe polishing machine!
Luckily Robbie was there to save the day :-)
Liz had a chance to enjoy the odd icecream or 3 :-)
Watch some amazing circus!
Enjoy a bit of Kung Fu :-)
Act like fashion models :-)
(bag made by revolver tyre makers of recycled rubber accessories)
Pose randomly at the drop of a hat
Enjoy a good trick
Was it supposed to do that Maz? :-)
We really enjoyed our time at the festival. Everyone was mega-friendly & helpful to their uncouth, rather loud English guests. We have to mention that the pizza & icecream was awesome (as you'd expect when in Italy) & the people cooking did an ace job keeping us fed.
So what was our overall feelings about the festival & how did it compare to the best that is available in the UK? Well to be honest I enjoyed it a lot. It had more of a festival feel than any of the British events. I would rate it as one of the best I've been to in many years (& we go to all the big vegan events around the UK). I suggest that if you only go to one vegan event in 2010, then I would serious consider this one as an option. The people are very friendly, it's very international with people from all over Europe attending. Things do tend to start later, so expect to be getting food at 10 in the evening & the festival not ending until 2am, very different from a British event which is usually finished by early evening.
Even though we did a lot during the weekend, the vibe was so chilled, there was no stress. Even after the marquees disappeared it was just "Oh well, lets take the stuff inside then". I highly recommend you try & get along to it in 2010 if you can. I know I will!
Some sort of Medieval re-enactment that happened during our
stroll through Turin. There was also a huge market along the streets
Maz gets the hug treatment
The Italian gang say a fond farewell to the festival