Vegan Camp Out is the world’s largest vegan camping festival which was held in the stunning Oxfordshire countryside in July 2023 this year with a lineup of amazing speakers, musicians and chefs; here’s a little peek at how it went down…
This years line-up that included Romesh Ranganathan, BOSH!, Sam Ryder, Patrik Baboumian, Mobius Loop, So Vegan, Bob Vylan, Tash Peterson, Little London Vegan, Dr Alice Brough, Etherwood, Juliet Gellatley and Klaus Mitchell to name but a few, with something and somebody incredibly meaningful for everyone at Vegan Camp Out.
And once you’ve finished fuelled your mind to talks and experiences, there are hundreds of ways to fuel your body with vegan food galore. I am always so spoilt for choice when it comes to the mouth watering food line up at Vegan Camp Out and it seems that it only gets even bigger and better every year for choice.
From classic comfort food to international cuisines, naughty treats, nice staples and everything else in between, there is something to satisfy every taste with many stalls also providing gluten free options too which is literally heaven for my intolerances.
Food is available all day everyday from morning breakfasts to late-night feasts as thousands of people roam the stalls, snack whenever the fancy takes them and gather socially for mealtimes, sharing benches, sitting on hay bales and laying on picnic blankets on the grass.
I personally love the curry selection from stalls and always enjoy choosing each deliciously individual component of my meal from rice and naan to bhajis, samosas, salad and spring rolls which is so refreshing in contrast to chain restaurants who only seem to offer a couple of plant-based options and don’t allow you to add or remove individual ingredients.
And the desserts! Don’t even get me started or I’ll start drooling again – from super fluffy sweet doughnuts to fruit smoothies, ice creams, pancakes and waffles; it’s become customary for us to choose custom topped fresh vegan ice cream in the sunshine whilst listening to the live music.
My daughter loves the burgers and pizzas selections and it’s always lovely getting to know the other camp-goers in the queue as you end up chatting to people from all over the world on their own vegan journeys.
Speaking of live music and entertainment, the whole weekend is packed with chart-topping artists as well as up-and-coming bands, with a variety of talks and workshops throughout covering everything from animal rights to environmentalism. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the latest vegan trends whilst meeting like-minded individuals.
For those looking to enjoy a spot of retail therapy, whether a treat for yourself, a fond reminder of the event or to find thoughtful gifts for loved ones, you will again be entirely spoilt for choice!
It’s like my every Christmas has come at once to be able to eat, buy and use absolutely everything at this beautiful event. Instead of cautiously scanning ingredients lists, scouring for hidden chemicals to protect my children or questioning the ethics and sustainability of profit-driven brands, I know that each and every item sold here is lovingly made with kindness and consideration.
The gift stalls are an absolute feast for the senses with uplifting natural fragrances, handmade soaps and candles, holistic skincare ranges, crystals, clothing, soft-furnishings, shoes and jewellery to name but a few.
This year we took our dog Mr Mouse for the very first time, as we always meet such lovely dogs throughout our stay and thought that he would enjoy it too. Mouse is such a calm and quiet boy, not used to large crowds and music, but there are plenty of areas that are away from the hustle and bustle where he loved laying on the grass, having hugs and strokes from passers by and meeting other dogs of all shapes and sizes. It really brought him out of his shell and was a great way to socialise – not to mention discovering a vegan-friendly dog food stall this year!
As well as being dog-friendly, Vegan Camp Out is also a great place to bring the whole family with every age and stage of life thriving seamlessly. It’s so wonderful to see babies and toddlers giggling and playing bare foot on the grass as grandparents sit on camping chairs eating sandwiches, teenagers dance to music and enjoy fairground rides and adults get involved with activism and volunteering. There are always plenty of activities for all ages, from arts and crafts to games and rides that fill the air with laughter and good vibes.
An important part of VCO for me is their activism and outreach opportunities with plenty of opportunities to sign petitions, learn about animal rights and help to peacefully and positively spread the word about veganism. My 15yr old daughter and I loved learning about volunteering opportunities to plant trees and provide food sources in third world countries which has inspired her to plan a trip for her gap year.
The most poignant part of this event for me is always how down to earth and humane everybody is. In a world obsessed with technology at the expense of face-to-face communication and socialising, it is so soulful to see everybody smiling, kind, non-judgemental and having heartfelt conversations and discussions with absolute strangers.
Every stall holder and camper alike is so warm, willing and open to speaking to one another. When you ask questions about products the stall holders are so incredibly passionate and knowledgable about their goods, the polar opposite to staff in high street stores. Standing in queues you find yourself talking to others about their own journey and experiences with veganism and learn heartfelt recommendations, places to visit and recipes to try.
So if you’re thinking about dipping your toe into veganism, or looking for a truly feel-good summer event, then Vegan Camp Out is for you! Some tips that we’d suggest if you’re visiting for the very first time is to remember to book a parking pass if you’re driving to the event, wear comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking all day, bring a refillable water bottle and multiple sources of payment as cash and card are accepted but wifi signal can dip out at times.
Don’t forget your suncream and a hat, keep any upcoming birthdays and events in mind if shopping for gifts, bring water, a lead and food for your dog and pop some tissues into your bag incase the portable toilets run out. The cleanliness of the toilets, grounds and bin areas are so far above and beyond other events and festivals, with the consciousness and consideration of campers so clear to see.
We frequently saw staff litter picking, emptying bins and cleaning the toilets throughout, with campers clearing away and recycling all of their rubbish and making space and room for others. If only everybody in the world could be so thoughtful and selfless, imagine how happy and healthy the human race could be!
I hope that you have all had a wonderful time at Vegan Camp Out 2023, excitingly E-tickets are now available online for Vegan Camp Out 2024!