Press Release: Get planting! Grow Your Own Demon Red Competition, Chilli Fiesta 2016

West Dean Gardens have launched a new Grow Your Own Chilli Plant competition. The award-winning festival has teamed up with seed and plant specialist Thompson & Morgan to encourage festival-goers to try their hand at growing their own chilli plants. Growers can bring their plants to for judging by Sarah Wain, West Dean Gardens' Supervisor and chilli expert, and Kris Collins, Thompson and Morgan's gardening expert. The lucky winner will win a trophy, plus a Thompson & Morgan £100 voucher against future catalogue and online purchases (see conditions below). Second prize: a rosette and £50 voucher and Third prize a rosette and £25 voucher.

Chilli Fiesta is a family-friendly summer festival with many choosing to camp with family and friends in the spectacular grounds of the estate in the heart of the South Downs National Park. The festival has grown in recent years and demand for tickets means early booking is advised.

West Dean's Chilli Fiesta (5, 6 and 7 August, 10.00am - 11pm daily, Sunday 9pm) is one of the biggest and original chilli festivals in the UK which has grown from humble beginnings in 1995 to become something of a national treasure. The Fiesta attracts around 25,000 people who come to enjoy a full three-day programme of LIVE music, cookery demonstrations, Victorian glasshouses bursting with chillies and gardening talks.

The weekend programme of live entertainment for Chilli Fiesta 2016 will be announced soon. Headline bands in 2015 included Groupo Lokito, The Fontanas, charismatic singer and musician Jesus Cutino and his band Son de Cuba, and Brazilian/Latin group Sambossa.

Food demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre will include chilli-based recipes from top chefs using ingredients from all over the world and ideas easily recreated at home. Family fun will include the popular Vintage Steam Fun Fair, Face Painting and Rock School Workshops. 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 120 stalls - many new this year - there will be a great variety of quirky gifts on offer for the chilli-lover in your life, 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.

There are two categories in the Grow Your Own Demon Red Chilli Plant competition:

Best Chilli Demon Red Plant grown from Thompson & Morgan seed in a two-litre pot. The first 1,000 people to register online will receive a FREE packet of seeds but entrants also have the option to purchase a packet to produce a potentially winning plant. The deadline for registration for free entry is midnight on Wednesday 10 February. Visit for full information and Terms & Conditions.

Open Class. Grow a different variety of your own choice in any size pot but it must be grown from seed in 2016.

Early Bird Prices Save 20% on Standard Prices (available until 25 July)

Friday Day Ticket: Adult £11.20 Child £0.80

Saturday Day Ticket: Adult £12.80 Child £0.80

Sunday Day Ticket: Adult £11.20 Child £0.80

Weekend pass with camping: Adult from £80 Child £28.80 (early booking for camping advised)

3-night Weekend Glamping

£550 for two adults (including festival admission and weekend camping pass). Please note: we regret we are unable to offer caravan and campervan pitches this year.

Book online at

Notes to editors

  • West Dean Gardens are part of the Edward James Foundation, a charitable trust No. 1126084, also comprising West Dean College, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities, please contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer, +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ