Girls sitting at an outdoor festival

After writing The Caterer’s Guide to Festivals, we decided to create something more comprehensive for those with established, growing, or just-starting-out food trucks. So, The Big Festival Round-up for Food Trucks was born!

We’re going to tackle a few of the burning questions you might have around setting up festival catering pitches, and then we’re going to share the details on festivals you might want to park your food truck at, including dates, location, potential costs, clientele, and whether you may need to bring your own portable generator.

What kind of festivals can I take my food truck to?

A bowl of colourful food, served outside

There are so many festivals waiting for your food truck to dish up something delicious, including:

  • Music festivals
  • Parades
  • Summer festivals
  • Art festivals
  • Wine, beer, and food festivals
  • Ethic celebration festivals
  • Outdoor concerts and movie nights
  • Food truck festivals – that’s right, there are festivals just for food trucks!

How much do food trucks make at festivals?

A spare change jar, spilled onto the floor

According to an estimate by Street Food Central, food vendors can expect to make around 30-50% net profit from a festival. They’ve even estimated the below, giving a rough example of how much you might expect to make at a larger festival:

Food sales: £32,000

- Pitch fee: £8000

- Stock/staff/travel costs: £8000

= NET PROFIT £16,000 (50%)

This is based on a festival like Glastonbury, combining max pitch costs with max potential sales, but it’s easy to see how both the costs—and the profit—could quickly grow. Smaller festivals will have lower pitch costs, but this is equally balanced by less potential customers, so it’s all relative to your food truck’s budget.

What to consider when looking at festivals for your food truck?

A man with his hair in a bun, looking out at a festival.

There are many things to consider when deciding whether a festival is a good fit for your food truck…

  1. Cost and profitability: Most importantly, what are the mobile catering pitch costs? With large festivals ranging from £3000-£17,000 per festival trading pitch, consider whether you will make enough profit with overhead, staff, ingredient, and travel costs for the effort to be worth your time.
  1. Location and amenities: Where will your food truck or festival trading pitch be located? What are the amenities in this area of the festival, and what is the foot traffic like throughout the day? Depending on your menu, the time of day could be vital.
  1. Power source: Do the festival organisers offer a power source, or will you need to bring your own portable generator? Can you get a direct supply of running water, if required?
  1. Festival clientele: Does your food or drink menu suit the vibe of the festival? For example, meaty burgers and kebabs may not go down so well at a festival with sustainability and plant-based diets at its core.
  1. Competition: Who else will be trading at the festival? If there’s already someone offering a similar menu, you need to decide whether it’s worth updating your menu ahead of the festival or whether you’d rather try elsewhere.
  1. Festival-ready paperwork: This might include up-to-date insurance, food service training, food safety compliance, and several additional certificates that the event organisers may request. If you don’t have these, you’re not yet festival ready.
  1. Additional preparation: As some festivals are spread across 3-4 days and are often located away from anything else (not to mention how difficult it is to get in and out of the arena at your own leisure), you’ll need to make sure you have everything you could need for the duration.

This could include a full tank of petrol or gas, plus extra, just in case… along with any specific appliances or ingredients that you just can’t work without.

What are the best 2022 festivals for your food truck business in the UK?

Festivals for your food truck in North England:

LEEDS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2022

Amazing lineups and cracking headliners, you'll never be disappointed with a visit to Leeds Music Festival, with a 2022 line-up of Rage Against The Machine, Dave, Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon and so many more.

Date: Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August 2022

Cost: TBC. Food & Drink Trader enquires should be directed to Central Catering, and all other enquiries should be sent to dick@rbvernon.co.uk with food truck details and contact information.

Location: Bramham Park, Bramham

Clientele: More alternative crowd – open to more creative or plant-friendly menus.

Trading hours: The arena is open from 11:00am to 03:00am, but food truck trading times may vary.

Power source: TBC – might be safer to take a portable generator with you!

THE NORTH LEEDS FOOD FESTIVAL 2022

From the mouths of the organisers themselves, “The North Leeds Food Festival is a family-friendly celebration of International Influence and Local Talent, expressed through International Food, Independent Drink, Live Music, Arts and Charity.”

Date: Saturday 14th – Sunday 15th May 2022

Cost: Pitch fees = £445-£545 + VAT

Location: Roundhay Park, Leeds

Clientele: A family-friendly crowd, many with children, and approximately 15,000-20,000 potential customers attending.

Trading hours: Saturday: 10am-8pm | Sunday: 10am-6pm

Power source: TBC – might be safer to take a portable generator with you!

Find out more about the festival.

Look through the Trader Information Pack.

Fill out an application.

Festivals for your food truck in the Midlands:

MELTON MOWBRAY FOOD FESTIVAL (EAST MIDLANDS)

The East Midland Food Festival is a showcase of food from across the East Midlands and beyond, including artisan cheeses, pies, charcuterie, chocolate, and so much more. There are also a selection of drink vendors present, from cider and beer to artisan gin and whisky.

Date: Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd October 2022

Cost: TBC. Get in touch with the organisers at info@meltonfestivals.co.uk for more information.

Location: Melton Mowbray Market, Scalford Road, Melton Mowbray, LE131JY.

Clientele: A green, cashless crowd – you’re going to want to check your menus for vegetarian and vegan options, plus gluten-free options, too.

Trading hours: 10am to 4pm.

Power source: TBC – might be safer to take a portable generator with you!

Find out more about the festival.

BEARDED THEORY’S SPRING GATHERING (DERBYSHIRE)

An eclectic rock music festival, with a line-up including bands and artists like Placebo, The Flaming Lips, Patti Smith, The Hives, and Craig Charles & Amy Macdonald. Make sure your menu is just as varied.

Date: Thursday 26th May – Sunday 29th May 2022

Cost: TBC. Get in touch with the organisers via the form on their website.

Location: Catton Hall, Derbyshire

Clientele: Easy-going, down-to-earth crowd. Likely going to want no-nonsense food with a pint or favourite soft drink (as it’s also a family-friendly festival!).

Trading hours: Thursday to Saturday: 9am to 9pm. Sunday: 9am to 7pm.

Power source: TBC – might be safer to take a portable generator with you!

Find out more about the festival.

Festivals for your food truck in South England:

VALLEY FEST 2022 (BRISTOL)

As the self-confessed “best-tasting music festival in the South West,” you know Valley Fest means business with its food trucks. This small, family-friendly festival is all about sharing good food and great times, with big names in a more intimate setting – it’s also cashless and focused on sustainability, so keep this in mind.

Date: Thursday 4th – Sunday 7th August 2022 (Application deadline: End of April 2022)

Cost: £800 + VAT + power (if required). Organisers take a 20% commission of takings (25%, if takings are over £10k), minus the initial pitch fee.

Location: Denny Lane, Chew Magna, Bristol, BS40 8SZ

Clientele: A green, cashless crowd – you’re going to want to check your menus for vegetarian and vegan options, plus gluten-free options, too.

Trading hours: The festival gates open from 9am to 9pm, but food truck trading times may vary.

Power source: Can bring your own portable generator, or request power of 16 amp, 32 amp, or 32+ amps at an additional cost.

A direct water feed is also available on request.

Find out more about the festival.

Fill out an application.

ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL 2022

A magical island festival that combines the latest music with sunsets over the Main Stage and dazzling fireworks at night-not to mention all the food and drink the festival-goers could ever want. If you love Lewis Capaldi, Kasabian, Pete Tong and more, this is the place to be.

Date: Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th June 2022

Cost: TBC. To apply for a food trading pitch, contact concessions@centralfusion.co.uk.

Location: Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight

Clientele: A family-friendly, easy-going vibe with a focus on music. All kinds of cuisines will go down well here, as long as they go well with a cider in the sun.

Trading hours: TBC. Make sure you discuss this with the organisers.

Power source: TBC – might be safer to take a portable generator with you!

Find out more about the festival.

Setting up the stage for your festival food truck:

For all the potential music festivals that might love to see you and your food truck, check out The Festival Calendar. Or, if you’re wondering how much power you might need from a portable generator, simply use our Wattage Calculator