"West Dean knows how to put on a good show and you can see things growing and learn so much about how to cultivate your own. The place is quietly becoming a national institution. You should see it." The Times.
West Dean Garden's very own chilli expert, Sarah Wain, will be dispensing chilli-growing advice at the 20th annual Chilli Fiesta. Joining Sarah each day in the Gardening Theatre will be gardening experts from Simpson Seeds (Friday), Hot Headz (Saturday) and Sea Spring Seeds (Sunday) reminiscing about their first Chilli Fiesta in 1995. This year's festival runs over 7, 8 and 9 August (10.30am - 11pm, Sunday 9pm). Visitors will be able to explore the award-winning Walled Garden over the three-day weekend and see around 250 chilli varieties being grown in the Victorian glasshouses. Sarah will share tips on growing chillies at home during talks and tours. The festival has grown in recent years and demand for tickets means early booking is advised.
One of the biggest and original chilli festivals in the UK it has grown from humble beginnings in 1995 to become something of a national treasure. The Fiesta attracts around 22,000 people who come to enjoy the full three-day programme of live music, food and entertainment. It is a family friendly festival which offers camping in the spectacular grounds of the Estate in the heart of the South Downs National Park. As part of the weekend 20th anniversary celebrations festival-goers will be treated to a spectacular firework display on Saturday.
In the Cookery Theatre popular Sussex cook and food writer, Rosemary Moon, will be hosting a series of food demonstrations where you can learn top tips and sample delicious chilli delights. Rosemary will be joined over the weekend by Malcolm Riley, The African Chef and Petworth bakery specialist, Danish-born Master Baker, Troels Bendix. Levi Roots, who appeared on Dragon's Den and secured investment in his Reggae Reggae Sauce, will be giving demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre on Sunday, making his famous Home Style Jerk Chicken Wings and his Hot and Fruity Caribbean Coleslaw. Also joining Rosemary will be food, drink and travel writer, Andy Lynes, chatting about his new book How to be a Chilli Head.
This year's exciting line up of LIVE entertainment includes; Groupo Lokito, The Fontanas, charismatic singer and musician, Jesus Cutino and his band Son de Cuba and Brazilian/Latin group Sambossa. Several acts will be making their debut this year including Levi Roots, who will not only be bringing his culinary expertise to the cookery theatre but also leading his band on the main stage. Also making their first appearance at Chilli Fiesta are Tom & Ash, Adriana, Quinto, Lokandes, The Voodoo Love Orchestra, the famous Gypsy King Tribute Band, Bamboleo, and Elisangela, plus local bands Ed Goodale and Steel Strum. The popular Mariachi Tequila Band, will be spending the day amongst the crowds getting them into the Latin groove.
Music on the main stage will finish at 9pm (6pm Sunday) and live music will continue in
Paradiso Latino Cabaret Tent from 9pm to 11pm (9pm Sunday) featuring; Latin jazz trio, Quinto (Friday); guitarist, Nicolas (Saturday); and trio Los Musicos, (Sunday).
Family fun will include the popular Vintage Steam Fun Fair, Face Painting, Punch and Judy shows, Rock School Workshops and NEW for this year The Great Chilli Throwing contest for younger festival-goers, and older ones too. Antonio the Tambourine Juggler will entertain children and adults alike on the main stage.
There will be a selection of bars around the site and lots of great chilli-related foods to enjoy and set your taste buds alight. With over 180 stalls - many new this year - visitors are promised a great variety of quirky gifts for chilli lovers, hot and spicy foods to eat, chilli plants, seeds and produce so you can experiment with the dishes inspired by the Chilli Fiesta back at home.
Gardening Theatre Weekend Programme
12.00: Types of chillies with Sarah Wain, West Dean Gardens Supervisor and Simpson Seeds
15.45: Garden Tour
12.00: Types of chillies with Sarah Wain, West Dean Gardens Supervisor and Hot Headz
15.45: Garden Tour
12.00: Talk by regular Chilli Fiesta guest Sea Spring Seeds
15.45: Garden Tour
Please note: programmes and timings may be subject to change.
Camping for the weekend
The campsite on the West Dean Estate is divided into different zones:
Jalapeno (most popular general camping area, close to the event arena helping to enhance the festival atmosphere of the weekend); Pimento (quiet camping area away from the main arena ideal for a good night's sleep); Bell (family friendly and close to the toilets and showers ideal for the earlier-to-bed but up bright and early!) and Chipotle (caravan and live-in vehicle area with hook-up will be located outside the camping field).
If putting up a tent is not your thing opt for the ultimate 3-night Weekend Glamping experience in a furnished bell tent for two nestled in a beautiful tree-lined corner of the campsite. Enjoy the full sized double bed with a real mattress, sumptuous cotton bed linen and snuggly 13 tog duvet, bedside lighting, an electric radiator (if it gets a little chilly at night), tea and coffee making equipment, towels to enjoy the onsite showers and two deckchairs to relax and soak up the summer sun.
Prices and booking information
Demand for tickets to the 20th Anniversary Chilli Fiesta will be high, so early booking is advised.
Early Bird Prices (available until 31 July)
Friday Day Ticket: Adult £10.00 (gate £12.00) Child £1.00
Saturday Day Ticket: Adult £12.00 (gate £14.50) Child £1.00
Sunday Day Ticket: Adult £10.00 (gate £12.50) Child £1.00
3-day pass with camping: Adult from £80 (gate £96) Child £30 (gate £36)
Caravan/camper van pitch (with power) surplus £25
Caravan/camper van pitch (without power) surplus £10
Please note: camper vans and mobile homes are accepted over the three days and not for single nights only (limited number of spaces available and these will be located outside the camping field).
3 day admission with Glamping
£555 for two adults (including festival admission and weekend camping pass)
Group bookings for groups 10 or more please call 01243 818221.
Book online at West Dean Gardens
Produce Stalls close at 6pm. Only food stalls and bars around the central stage area will be open after 6pm. Main Stage Music finishes at 9pm on Fri and Sat eve 6pm on Sunday. Paradiso Latino Cabaret Tent is open until 11pm Fri and Sat eve and 9pm Sunday.
Notes to editors