Today we braved the grey skies to visit the Innocent Summer Fete. Last year’s event was magical with blue skies and chilled people so the question was, could Innocent recapture the same innocence as last year. The answer, sadly was no.
The 2007 fete had a wonderful feeling of a brand that really understood it’s relationship to its customers and was just celebrating that relationship. There was a mixture of established businesses and amateurs selling a range of quirky things from handicraft to food with a common thread running through it. There was a rogue Wall’s van and it felt really out of place.
This year I got the impression that someone else had organised the event rather than Innocent. They were there in quantity of course but the delicate balance had been replaced with more corporate businesses getting in on the act. Even Ordinance Survey were there possibly hoping to sell maps to Janet Street-Porter and other Camden trendies.
So the muesli knitted t-shirt companies have been replaced with faux-organic pig meat sellers. I’ll explain. Being just organic is now so 2007, so these frestauranteurs (farmers who are really restaurateurs) are kicking things up a gear. Instead of being organic, they are now breed specific. So you saunter over and ask for a air dried Wiltshire Blackspot bacon roll (for £6). Pause there a moment to just soak up the margin in that.
The sausages are all Shropshire Grey Tail flavoured with Arugula and Peri-Peri or finest Devon Blue Arse with Honey and Trompete de Morte. What will happen next year? “Say hello to Daisy my finest, hand-reared 2 year old Kent Green Ear. Can I kill her for you?”. Thankfully the fresh coconut guy’s were there, the Falafell vendors but the rest was wall to wall hog roasts. Now remind me when pigs became hogs? Probably the same time live yogurt became pro-biotic and bouncy castles had to have safety zones and attendants.
So we left a little disappointed that what was genuine, quirky and individual had become a little bit more high street. That the cider stalls couldn’t sell draft and the bottles cost three times more than a supermarket. Next year no doubt they’ll have a McDonalds and Innocent will be a sub sponsor.