Not Even a Torrential Storm Can Dampen the Barbecue Flames at Grillstock

Created by meat and barbecue lovers Jon Finch and Ben Merrington, Grillstock is a food festival with a difference, celebrating all things meaty, with a first-class music line up to boot. Disappointed by the poor interpretation of barbecue in the UK after experiencing the real deal on their travels around the States, Jon and Ben decided it was high time something was done about this travesty, and worked to develop a festival that would raise the standard of British barbecuing forever.

Now in its fourth year running, Grillstock has become a go-to festival for meat and music lovers alike, attracting over 10,000 visitors each year with some of the best blues and rock music this side of the Deep South, and over 30 exhibitors offering everything from barbecue rubs and sauces, to burgers, fried chicken and gourmet sausages.

This year’s event in Bristol saw pop/rock superstars the Fun Lovin Criminals headline on the Saturday, and I took great pleasure in seeing bluegrass legends, Hayseed Dixie shake their beards (and beer bellies) on stage on the Sunday. Yielding a man-sized steak sandwich from The Churrasco Gang , complete with home-made salsa verde and a few fresh salad leaves, I enjoyed a good old knees-up to the hillbilly versions of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Aerosmith’s Walk This Way and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, among many others. A few pints of Summer Ale courtesy of the USA’s very own Brooklyn Brewery also went a treat, and kept us in good spirits throughout what turned out to be one of the wettest of the year so far.


While I did spend quite a bit of the afternoon huddled under an umbrella in an attempt to shield myself from the torrential downpour, it was certainly worth it just to see Jake ‘Bakesnake’ Byers of Hayseed Dixie return to the stage for his encore wearing nothing but a pair of orange y-fronts; what more could you wish for on a Sunday afternoon?

If you weren’t able to make it to the Bristol event, have no fear, as Grillstock round two is taking place in Manchester on the 28th and 29th of June. Although online tickets have sold out, there will be a few to purchase on the gate, so make sure you get down there early!


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