Great Missenden food festival cancelled after site becomes waterlogged

Organisers of a popular Bank Holiday food festival at Great Missenden were forced to cancel the event at the last minute after heavy downpours turned the site into a “quagmire” – to the devastation of businesses who were due to sell their goods there.

Traders and companies who had travelled miles to set up at the Great Missenden Food Festival – at its new location in the grounds of the Chiltern Open Air Museum – had to be towed out of the mud on Thursday following hours of rain.

The cancellation of the popular event was announced by organisers Love Food Live on their Facebook page at 9.34pm the night before the food festival was due to launch, with emails sent out to stallholders shortly after.

Devastated business owners who were due to set up their stalls there commented that they were “devastated” at the cancellation.

Roy Burridge, who arrived at the site on Thursday to set up the stand for his new business, The Vodka Wagon, a mobile vodka bar, said: “We set our stand up yesterday and had to be towed out if the mud twice. It was like a mud bath.

“No one could move and people were stuck there for four to five hours because they couldn’t get out. It was a health and safety risk for stall holders and visitors.”

Mr Burridge said he was “gutted” that the show was cancelled because it was to be the launch for their new business, which specialises in selling flavoured vodka and is based in Chalfont St Peter.

Because of the festival being cancelled, they now have 25 different flavoured vodkas just “sitting in the house”.

Kimmy Willis said: “Last minute email for stall holders after spending hundreds, almost thousands of pounds, on food which now goes wasted. Devastated does not even cover it.”

Maria Tyrrell added: “I still have not received an e-mail – only by chance checked the website late last night for a last minute detail. Everything packed and ready to go. Angry and beyond devastated with everything that has been put into this.”

Sue Steel said: “The organisers are really nice people and they wouldn’t have cancelled unless totally necessary and would have put every effort into trying to make it work. After all the rain this week I’m not surprised – the ground must be like a quagmire. As a stallholder I am disappointed not to be going but I understand.”

Sarah Beaman said the show site and car parks were a “quagmire”, with cars and exhibitor vans who were able to gain access getting stuck in deep mud and having to be towed out by a tractor.

She said: “It’s not a decision that was taken lightly but they simply cannot open, it’s not safe for the visitors or exhibitors.”

The food festival – which draws in thousands of foodie fans at its twice yearly Great Missenden event – was due to feature stars like Paul Jagger, Clover Hutson, Stephanie Moon, the Baker Brothers, Mark Lloyd and Richard Fox.

There was also due to be hands-on demonstrations and master-classes, including a new health and wellbeing feature, teenager and children cookery sessions, an Easter egg hunt, arts and crafts, food lab and storytelling as well as chocolate-tasting, foraging walks, pottery, live music, street food, rides and slides and gifts.

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