Bolton Food and Drink Festival named best event of the year

The festival was named the “Most Loved Live Event” at the 2023 I Love Manchester awards, overcoming Manchester International Festival, Manchester Pride, and many others.

The award category recognises events which show “excellence in events coordination” with an emphasis on “organisation, sustainability and economic prosperity”.

Celebrating its 18th birthday, this year’s record-breaking festival attracted 500,000 visitors to Bolton to enjoy 180 artisan stalls, celebrity chef demonstrations and live music.

The event always attracts some of the biggest names in showbiz cookery with James Martin, Gok Wan and Nisha Katona among this year’s line-up.

Away from the main stage, the festival caters for all visitors and all budgets with free cookery demonstrations, free family activities and free live entertainment.

It also supports the wider Bolton economy with promotional wristbands offering discounts and deals with local businesses.

The community are heavily involved in making the festival special, including the local schools who designed the 18th birthday party hats for the town hall’s iconic lions.

This year’s festival was the greenest yet, with a focus on local produce, sustainable practices, vegan options, and recyclable packaging.

The I Love Manchester award comes after the festival was named “Leading Live Event” at the This is Manchester Awards in 2022.

The winner was decided with a combination of public votes and a panel of judges.

I am particularly pleased that this award is partly based on a public vote, showing that our festival is truly a people’s favourite.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Culture, Cllr Nadeem Ayub, said:

“I am so proud that Bolton Food and Drink Festival’s 18th birthday has been officially declared Greater Manchester’s best party of the year.

“I am particularly pleased that this award is partly based on a public vote, showing that our festival is truly a people’s favourite.

“Each of this year’s 500,000 visitors have seen Bolton at it’s very best and I am sure many will return to enjoy our other events, our leading theatre venues and our wider cultural offer.”

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr Nick Peel, said:

“We have beaten some of the biggest events in the UK to win this award, so this marks a major achievement for a festival that has a hard-won reputation as one of the very best.

“Bolton’s cultural offer is one of our great strengths, and organising successful events like this is a key part of our wider strategy to attract more visitors, bring investment and to regenerate our town centre.”

Bolton Food and Drink Festival is only possible with the support of sponsors and partners.

The 2023 event was supported by headline sponsors Peel L&P, main sponsors Stateside Foods, Vertu, Step Places, BWFC, Agilisys and the University of Bolton as well as partners Place First, Clear Futures, Carrs Pasties, Bolton at Home, Warburtons, GMCA, Wagamama, Impression Ltd, Mercure Georgian House and Serco Leisure Trust.

For the latest updates, visit, follow Bolton Food and Drink Festival on Facebook, and @boltonfoodfest on X and Instagram.

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