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Organisers cancel Newmarket Food and Drink Festival

The two-day Newmarket Food and Drink Festival, one of the largest in the region, and due to have been held in September, has been cancelled.

The hugely popular free festival, which attracted over 15,000 visitors last year, was to have taken place at a new venue, The Jockey Club Rooms in the centre of Newmarket. The main stage line up planned included some of the region’s top chefs, including celebrity chefs Daniel Clifford and Tristan Welch; local chef Adam Spicer, who recently appeared on MasterChef; and festival favourite Rosemary Shrager.

In addition, the organisers had planned to host over 60 artisan food and drink producers from across East Anglia as well as live music and family entertainment.

Visitors sample some of the delights on offer at last year's Newmarket Food and Drink Festival
Visitors sample some of the delights on offer at last year's Newmarket Food and Drink Festival

Chairman, Noel Byrne said: “We came to this extremely difficult decision after thinking long and hard about the welfare of our visitors, our exhibitors and our team," said event chairman, Noel Byrne. "Their health and safety must come above all else and we do not want inadvertently to expose them to the risk of Covid-19, should it remain a problem for us all.

"We realise the cancellation will be a disappointment to our thousands of visitors, but we feel it is the right decision during the ongoing circumstances. We are now looking to develop a virtual food and drink offering, brought together by many of our exhibitors and chefs that were due to be taking part originally, which we hope to announce in the coming weeks.

“We have already begun planning for a bigger and better 2021 festival, which will take place at our new location, The Jockey Club Rooms. This is an exciting step forward for the festival. Hosting the event there offers us a unique opportunity as the location is much more accessible and open on the High Street; it is a fantastic space to build on the offer to our visitors and continue to grow the festival. Added to which, it gives the public a rare chance to see the grounds of The Jockey Club Rooms.”

Christopher Ogston, general manager of the Jockey Club Rooms, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Newmarket Food Festival and to be the location to host this fantastic culinary event at the exclusive Jockey Club Rooms.

“Noel and the team have been working extremely hard to deliver an event that surpasses previous years. However, it is unfortunate and disappointing that this will no longer be taking place due to Covid-19. Health and safety of our staff and guests is paramount. Therefore, we are in total agreement that cancelling the event at this stage is the right thing to do. Rest assured the festival will be back next year and will be bigger and better than before.”

The festival is supported by Newmarket Racecourses and the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art. Sponsors for the event include Corney and Barrow, Newmarket Town Council, Newmarket BID and, in particular, G’s Fresh. The Festival also proudly raises money for the local charities supported by racing's Henry Cecil Open Weekend.

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