A free food and drink festival enlivening the Milsom Quarter area of Bath during the final weekend of September attracted the highest footfall to Milsom Street since records began in 2018.
The Great Bath Feast was a celebration of the best food and drink in the South West and attracted visitors from more than 50km away to enjoy chef demos, a food and drink trail, taster plates and the Artisan Market.
West of England Mayor Dan Norris said: “The Great Bath Feast served up a fantastic recipe, encouraging people back into Bath city centre safely to enjoy some of the tasty food that was on offer.”
The event was part funded by the Welcome Back Fund, administered by Bath & North East Somerset Council, and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets funding.
Lee Bater, The Great Bath Feast Event Organiser, said: “We’re delighted to have brought The Great Bath Feast back to the streets of Bath and we are grateful for the support from Council to make this event happen. It has been incredible working with Richard and Jo Bertinet, and to partner with The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School, Visit Bath and Bath BID. Following the huge success of the festival weekend, October is all about the fringe events and Bath Bites Trail, which takes food-lovers to local businesses for more personalised events and dining experiences. Bath has such a lot to offer, now is the time to support our local businesses and enjoy ourselves at the same time.”
Councillor Dine Romero, the council’s cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “Bringing a buzzing event like this to our city really showcases what Bath has to offer and attracts people from further afield, encouraging repeat visits in future. It’s great news for our local traders that we have seen increased footfall as a direct result of the festival and we hope to support more events like this in future.”
Andrew Davies, Duty Manager at Milsom Place, said: “We were delighted to see the popularity of the event judging by the number of visitors exploring the food and drink stalls along the length of Milsom Street. It was a tonic to imbibe the positive buzz and lively atmosphere it created. Yannick Loue, owner of Le Vignoble, one of Milsom Place's tenant businesses, operated one of the many stalls lining the street. He commended the good organisation and timing of the event and told us he looked forward to it returning next year.”
Alison Herbert, CEO of Bath BID and event sponsor, said: “I was so pleased to see the city centre come alive for The Great Bath Feast. There was a real festival atmosphere, with people enjoying The Great Bath Feast, Bath Children’s Literature Festival, and a Bath Rugby matchday on the Saturday, and it was fantastic to see that footfall around the city centre, and particularly in Milsom Street, reflected this. This month, we are continuing to work with The Great Bath Feast team on promoting food and drink businesses in the city centre through the Bath Bites Trail, which showcases the chef’s recommendations at over 40 eateries in the city centre. We do hope people will browse the interactive Bath Bites Trail map and see how many dishes they can try!”
The Welcome Back Fund is part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is being used to support a number of activities and events in the area.
The funding from the West of England Combined Authority’s Love Our High Streets programme is part of a wider High Streets Renewal project for Bath city centre, which in part aims to support the Milsom Quarter with improvements to the high street and a programme of animation and events to increase footfall and support local businesses.