A HUGE barbecue festival will be heading to Colchester for the first time this summer.

The Smoke and Fire Festival will take place in the Lower Castle Park in August.

The event, which attracted more than 18,000 visitors last year, has been held at Maldon’s Promenade Park for the past three years.

And organisers have promised this year’s event will be bigger and better than before.

The three day festival sees visitors feast at dozens of stalls and raises money for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

It will kick off with a launch night on Friday August 14.

There will be a host of fire chefs dishing up barbecued goods alongside performances by tribute bands Oasish and Stereotonics.

Across Saturday and Sunday there will be a host of delicious options for visitors to taste with everything from Swedish-Brazilian tapioca pancakes to Vietnamese bánh and jerk chicken.

There will also be a market with dozens of traders selling food and drink and chilli and hot buffalo wing eating contests.


Theresa Higgins, Colchester Council’s commercial boss, said the event coming to Colchester was a coup for the town.

She said: “I am delighted such a popular and successful event as the Smoke and Fire Festival has chosen Castle Park as their venue for 2020 – another example of Colchester’s ever-increasing popularity as a venue for family-friendly festivals and entertainment.”

Air ambulance fundraising co-ordinator Clair Mitchell added: “Smoke and Fire is a great event and has raised thousands of pounds for the charity since it began and we are looking forward to seeing the festival in its new home.”

The festival joins a stellar list of events set to be held in Castle Park this summer including the annual food and drink festival, the Medieval Fayre and a performance by Westlife.

A Smoke and Fire team spokesman said: “For the long term good of the event, we have had to take the difficult decision to move to a new venue.

“We extend the warmest of invitations to all visitors to come and join our unique atmosphere in our new location.”

For tickets visit smokeandfirefestival.com.