Music and veganism will come together as never before next weekend, when a new music festival gets under way.
The Laxey Vegan Festival 2017 takes place next Saturday, February 18, and will feature a line up of some of the island’s best known musicians, plus a headline set from an up-and-coming UK based singer/songwriter.
The big difference from most festivals is that the music is not the main focus of the event. The main driving force behind the festival is to show the benefits of choosing a vegan diet, and the range of foods and drinks available.
There will be demonstrations of vegan products, both locally sourced and shop-brought , and cooking demonstrations to show what type of foods can be created within the scope of a vegan diet.
There will also be some educational workshops and talks about the benefits and virtues of a vegan lifestyle, and also about the farming industry and the welfare of animals within the industrialized food market.
The festival, which is free to enter, is the brainchild of Ari Rugaswami, a Douglas man who recently decided to change to a vegan diet.
He said that since deciding to adopt veganism, he wanted to help inform people about what he feels are the health and lifestyle benefits of such a lifestyle for both the individual and for the planet as a whole.
’I’ve only been vegan since around June last year, so I’m a bit of a vegan newcomer,’ said Ari. ’I don’t want to come across as someone who knows all about it or anything.
’But the more I researched the subject the more I realised that not only does veganism benefit the animals but also our health and the planet. Laxey Vegan Festival will give people the chance to find out more as well as the chance to sample selected vegan food and drink.
’We just want to get across the simple things. People ask ’well, what do you eat?’, and the simple answer to that is ’what don’t we eat? Veganism is on the rise, and more and more people are interested in it. This festival will give people the chance to find out a bit more.
’We are happy to educate people about the practices of food production,’ he said. ’We want to get our point across, but it won’t be rammed down people’s throats.’
Vegan food and drink has been donated by many local companies, including Noa Bakehouse, Daisy Vintage Tea Party and the convenience shop Top Banana, as well as the local Laxey Co-op.
The Manx Cider Company has donated their cider for the day, and Bushy’s ale will be available without the addition of finings to clear their beers, which are usually made from the swim bladders of fish.
There will also be a talk by Nadia Beniamin, entitled ’Love Life, Love Living’, which will be more of a chat about making choices when it comes to food, and will focus on Nadia’s own experiences with nutrition, choices about choosing seasonal produce and even about foraging on the Isle of Man.
Music will come from local singers Matt Kelly and Theresa McNulty, harpist Christa McCartney, as well as the groups Lava and Baaad Acid.
The festival will be headlined by Becky Langan, a percussive guitarist who has appeared on the Sky Arts TV competition Guitar Star, in which she made it through to the semi-finals of the competition.
There will also be a range of other activities throughout the day not necessarily related to veganism, including harp lessons and a visit from the Manx Hedgehog Preservation Society.
’All the food and the drink is free to sample on the day,’ said Ari. ’Basically, we want it to be a fun, family-orientated day and a celebration of cruelty-free food and drink.’
The festival kicks off at 1.30pm with the first bands on at 2.30. All the bands are to play two sets, in the afternoon and the evening, with Becky onstage at 5.45pm and 10.15pm.
By Mike Wade