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The fun of pop up food


Recently in Geelong (an hour’s drive from Melbourne), Food Truck Friday set up temporary outdoor kitchens – offering shoppers and workers a lunchtime alternative. This week (in another corner of the world) Edinburgh has the Fringe Festival… both events have utilized pop up to attract and entertain visitors !

The 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival is currently well underway (it wraps up after this weekend), with thousands of performers – on hundreds of stages – once again entertaining many more thousands of visitors. In 2013 “there were 45,464 performances of 2,871 shows, making it the largest ever arts festival in the world”*. Okay, so loads of people come along for entertainment – and of course they need a little sustenance…

The founding principle of the Edinburgh ‘Festival is “to be an open-access arts event that accommodates anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them”*… that philosophy also seems to apply to the numerous temporary bars and food outlets which spring up to sustain Festival visitors. Did I say “numerous”… perhaps a better description is “prolific” !

In past years many permanent bars and cafes pushed out onto Edinburgh pavements, making the most of jolly crowds and the street entertainments… in 2014 it seems the notion of pop up has truly taken over, with dozens of additional temporary venues sprouting around the city. One report announced that “previously quiet corners now house cocktail shakers and have astro turf underfoot… absolutely no-one is eating or drinking inside”#.

Some of the pop up venues have gone to a good deal of effort to attract customers, with themes ranging from “a Venetian hideaway garden with orange trees, wooden terracing and Italian lounge furniture, water features, beanbags, grassy picnics areas…”, to country and western installations of hay bales, barrels as tables, drinks which come in jam jars, also a plastic cow and old-fashioned ho-down-style dancing… another has transformed “a boring grey carpark… into an all-day gin oasis” – complete with fake grass , bushes, umbrellas and a bar specialising in cocktails#.

Street food is plenty, with tents and mobile trailers offering everything you can think of… traditional snacks as well as African curries, butternut burgers, Thai salads and pizzas from wood-burning ovens…

One local operator says “this year has seen the bar is being raised among pop-up venues… there’s definitely more thought gone into them…. venues are linking in with big brands and they are putting more thought into what they are offering. The reality is that customers are expecting or looking for something that’s fun…”#

Closer to home, the City of Geelong recently hosted a series of outdoor food events – part of their Tastes of Central Geelong festival held throughout July. The marketing arm of Geelong Council teamed up with Pop Union to trial a new event – aimed at re-invigorating a mid-city street mall with a weekly attraction (not just food, but also providing tables and entertainment – encouraging visitors to linger and spend). Over 3 Fridays a convoy of food trucks set up their kitchens, offering shoppers and workers a lunchtime alternative – and a selection of flavours. The Food Truck Friday trial was well supported and widely promoted, attracting thousands of visitors who spent over $65,000 on food and in the surrounding businesses. The final week was so popular that 4 of the 10 vans ran out of food… The concept has just been approved by Council to roll out again later in 2014.


*Source : About Edinburgh Fringe Festival

#Source : Edinburgh News


Featured image : Geelong’s Food Truck Friday


Food Truck Friday


Other images : Edinburgh Fringe Festival


Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014         Edinburgh Fringe Festival




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