Food festivals: the good, the bad, and the ugly

From our September 2017 newsletter:

Just as Cape Town gears up to host its very first pizza and pasta festival, it was slightly unnerving to read about a recent pizza festival in Brooklyn, New York, that left attendees feeling rightly cheated of the money they had spent on tickets (up to $69 per person), when instead of an abundance of pies (as they call them over there), they found mostly empty tents and pretty pathetic pizza offerings.

(The event has been compared the the Fyre Music Festival, scheduled to be held in the Bahamas earlier this year, and which turned out to be a complete disaster when attendees arrived to discover Fyre had no infrastructure in place to accommodate its guests”, and which is now costing its organisers seven class-action lawsuits.)

It doesn’t look like any lawsuits will be coming out of the pizza festival (in fact the organisers have agreed to refund all tickets, but one remarkable part of the story is that a hamburger festival was scheduled for the exact same time and place, and that too, was full of empty tables (and stomachs). Add to that the fact that the same organisers had apparently hosted an “African Food” Festival last year, which turned out to be equally disastrous. You’d think people would learn from their mistakes!

New York foodies probably now have – or should have! – a healthy scepticism towards food festivals, and it sounds like they could do better sticking to the many excellent pizza options already available to them (including a newcomer billed as a “Calabrese” style which purists insist isn’t even a pizza, but whatever it is, it looks delicious!).

(And if you’re looking for all the best places to eat pizza around the world, we can recommend Phaidon’s Where To Eat Pizza, with contributions from Jean-Pierre on the best spots in SA.)

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