There is always something special about the changing of the seasons. And the transition of summer to autumn has to be one of the most beautiful changes of the year. Leaves turning from verdant green to rusty reds; hazy morning air from river mist; sopping dew on morning walks; jaw dropping sunsets, the more mega as Autumn proceeds. In the Dedham Vale, we have it all and more. So come and stay.
The South African wine industry is evolving at an incredible pace… nowhere in the world is there such a dynamic and energetic wine scene at the moment. The producers we’ll be tasting are the cream of the crop of what we’ve loosely termed ‘New Wave’ South Africa. Damon Quinlan of SWiG Wines will be here on Thursday 17 October to unleash these wonderful wines
Jack has come up with some ‘small plates’ of eclectic food. No rules, no preconceptions, just deliciousness. Our job, pairing wine, beer and cocktails to complement.
The grapes harvested during my Road Trip to Australia (and New Zealand) are now wine and in our cellar. Giles Cooke MW of Thistledown Wines will be here to share them and their story. It’s a wine dinner not to be missed.
Monday after Al Festo is always a day for quiet. Partly because we’re all still in an exhausted daze and partly because its so good to hear people’s recollections of the festival. Having completed our fifth festival, and first proper two day version, this is a proper THANK YOU to those who make it happen.
This year we looked longer and further and increased our budget for the bands. Seven of the ten acts agreed to play with little idea of what Al Festo was in terms of size or reputation. From the west coast America came Massy Ferguson and The Crux. From Nashville Lilly Winwood. From Sheffield, Worcester and Manchester came Fargo Railroad Co, Stone Mountain Sinners and My Darling Clementine. From London blazed The Hallelujah Trails, Ady Johnson from Suffolk, Polly Haynes from Colchester. Brooke Telling already here. All journeys, all had faith in what was promised. Their superb performances and generous spirit will help Al Festo grow and attract more great musicians.
Their sound couldn’t have been heard without the expertise of Olly Bakeman of Synergy Audio. Not having the luxury of prolonged sound checks for each band, he balanced the different group sizes and instruments brilliantly. What’s more, hanging around till 8pm on Sunday while we could finish watching the cricket on the big screen be brought last minute.
Our loyal regulars James and Jim who are always ready to lend a hand. James introducing the bands and keeping order, Jim adding muscle to the numerous jobs the festival entails. Albert for getting the grounds ready and helping with Graham of Markham Marquees to put the tents up, bigger and better each time. To Matt from Hall Farm for the bales of straw; Emma at Dedham Cater Hire for the outside kitchen; Hannah at Fuff for creating such great artwork (some seriously last minute) for all our publicity; Polly at Polly Robinson Communications for getting word out into press and media; hire companies Mobile Thrones, 3 Dimond Fridge Hire and Pete Thompson for his horsebox, all fitting into tight timings and car park; Brewers Adnams and Crouch Vale for the free use of the beer equipment; all the brewers whose beer flowed and was finished in full!
To our neighbours and rest of the village who support, provide parking and put up with the noise and extra footfall. Thank you.
To all of you who came, MASSIVE thank you. Without the sale of tickets, we’ve no idea how many may come. So it really means a lot that so many of you do. And now to hear Al Festo gets put in diaries a year ahead, WOW. It’s great to hear which bands you’ve enjoyed, beers you’ve tried, food you’ve devoured. We’re humbled by your generosity and love the vibe you create.
And it is so great you recognise the effort and skills put in by our team. We couldn’t do what we do without their willingness to work such long hard hours to make the festival fit without disrupting day to day pub life. Jack, Emma and Alice with their planning – so many details, so many constant tweaks and improvements made, so many adjustments to radom ideas! They all keep pushing, keep smiling, working together and making my life so much easier. They make it happen.
With all that goes into Al Festo, it would be crazy not to do it all again. See you in 2020!
Come and join our fantastic team at The Sun Inn, Dedham. Featured in The Michelin Guide, highly rated by The Good Food Guide and winners of a number of awards.
13TH & 14TH JULY 2019
Now in its fifth year and over two days, Al Festo is a mini-Maverick and without the camping that mixes the best of Americana and Folk music with craft beer and great food in beautiful surroundings with wonderful people.
We are very lucky to have a wonderful organic and biodynamic producer on our doorstep. Alison Bond has been growing the organic salad leaves we use from May-October for the past 10 years or so. Her smallholding is located about a mile from the pub, a beautiful natural, wild plot. On a recent visit to collect eggs from her chickens, the plot was a feast for the senses. Bees collecting nectar for the honey we take; Castlemilk Moorit sheep grazing; her chickens roaming. Trees of cherries, apricots, walnuts; bushes of gooseberries, blackcurrants and raspberries. In the tunnel alongside her salad leaves, tomato plants, French beans, garlic, onion, beetroot and aubergines about to go in. It’s no wonder her produce tastes so good.
It’s broadly appreciated that New Zealand isn’t all about Sauvignon Blanc! We’re holding a fantastic wine dinner on Thursday 7th February 2019 to enhance this further with Demetri Walters MW of Berry Bros & Rudd , Ben Hawkins of Fields, Morris & Verdin and our Head Chef, Jack Levine, cooking dishes to match.
When everyone else is thinking about the week ahead, you can relax after Sunday lunch and stay the night ……. and have some supper of course! At £200, we think it is a bit of a steal. So what do you get?
- Bed and breakfast (and yes, it includes a cooked breakfast if you’re up to it on Monday)
- Sunday lunch and Sunday dinner, both from either our main menu or bar menu, to the total value of £55pp.
- This offer cannot be taken in conjunction with any other offer or discount and will be available all year EXCEPT bank holiday weekends (sorry to slightly spoil it!).
- Check into your room will not be available until after 2pm but you are welcome to have lunch any time from 12pm.
- Please call 01206 323351, email firstname.lastname@example.org or book online HERE
Do you feel like the weekend has dragged? Are you fed up with your own company? Maybe you are new to the area? You are invited to come along & enjoy a free cuppa & some friendly chat. #dontbeonyourown Every Monday from 10.30am – 12pm, we’re here for tea, coffee and cake as part of #meetupMondays
We are also over the moon to have been included in The Good Food Guide’s TOP 50 Pubs for the very first time. Our team has been working extremely hard in many ways, striving for excellence and consistency and this recognition is just reward. A huge thank you to them and also to all those guests who sent their reports into The Good Food Guide, it means a lot!
The César Awards are the hotel industry’s equivalent of the Oscars of the film world – honouring the best hotels of the best in various categories from humble B&Bs to luxurious country houses. Named after the celebrated Swiss hotelier César Ritz, ten César Awards are presented each year to the Guide’s best hoteliers. The winners are selected by the Guide’s editorial team based on recommendations by readers and professional inspection.