Garden Event

Chilli Fiesta

Gates open from 10am

The UK's biggest chilli festival returns. Join the party and dance to live Latin music, watch cookery and gardening demonstrations and taste delicious chilli foods 'til your tongue sizzles. Make the most of the family-friendly festival atmosphere and camp onsite with great facilities.

'For a fraction of the cost of Glastonbury or Glyndebourne, spice-loving punters can stay for three days of capsicum carnage' Daily Telegraph.

Whats on?

  • Live music including DJs and Latin bands
  • Los Amigos bar: Friday and Saturday untill 11pm, Sunday 9pm
  • New for 2016 two new bars, Champagne and Cider
  • Firework display Saturday night
  • Browse over 140 stalls offering chilli gifts, plants seeds and produce
  • Cookery and gardening demonstrations
  • Children's activities
  • Explore the gardens
  • Camping and Glamping

Instagram Competition T&Cs July 2016


Live Music

Main stage music from 10am until 10/10.30pm Friday and Saturday and 9pm Sunday. Music continues in the Los Amigos Bar until 11pm Friday and Saturday and 9pm Sunday. New for this year an additional stage in the family picnic area on the North Lawn.

Music acts include:
Son Yambu, Grupo Lokito, tribute band Viva Santana, Panama, Adriana Son G, Salsa All Stars, Mariachi Mezcal, Jason Lee and more bringing their latin and samba sounds.

Dance Acts

Get in the Latin spirit with the following dance acts, headliners include Joanne Clifton and Giovanni Pernice of Strictly Come Dancing fame. Giovanni was the hot new Italian Champion pro dancer for the 2015 series and is dancing again in the new series with Joanne! More dance acts include Fiesta Flamenco, Ryan & Ksenia, Salsa All Stars and Nasira Dance.

See the full Chilli Fiesta entertainment programme.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up-to-date.

Cookery Demonstrations

Watch food demonstrations in the Cookery Theatre and expect creative, chilli based recipes from top chefs including Rustie Lee, the African Chef, Rosemary Moon (with special guest ITV weatherman Alex Beresford) and Dean Edwards. Using ingredients from all over the world and ideas you can easily recreate at home, they're guaranteed to make your mouth water.

Cookery Theatre Programme

Chilli Hub

Join Sarah Wain Gardens Supervisor in the Chilli Hub for top chilli tips and gardening advice. Sarah will be giving talks at the following times:

  • Friday: 12pm and 1.30pm
  • Saturday: 12pm and 1.30pm
  • Sunday: 12pm and 1pm

Sarah will also be judging the Chilli Growing Competition on the Sunday at 2.30pm.

Mark Diacono will be demonstrating and taking questions in the Chilli Hub at 11.30am on Sunday.

Children's Activities

To keep young festival-goers happy, there will be:

  • A vintage funfair (small charge applicable)
  • Punch and Judy
  • Face painting
  • New this year beach volleyball court for you to enjoy with family and friends
  • Fiesta trail (starts inside the ticket gates) interactive chilli, fun photos, mini games and (lollipops) for everyone that completes the challenges.

Children age 4 and under enjoy free entry, up to age of 16 requires a child ticket. Children are to be accompanied by a paying adult.

Teen Tent

  • Rock Workshops with provided instruments
  • Table Football
  • Young performers from Ovation Music

BBC Gardener’s Question Time

Festival-goers and gardening fans are in for a very special treat at Chilli Fiesta.

BBC Radio Four's Gardener's Question Time will be recorded in front of a studio audience at the event on Friday 5 August. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at Chilli Fiesta between 4-5pm on the day from the Chilli Hub. The panel of gardening experts who will answer the audiences chilli-related questions include Christine Walkden, Matt Wilson, Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness and Peter Gibbs, Chair. The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Four on Friday 12 August at 3pm and Sunday 14 August at 2pm.

Shopping, Eating and Drinking


Browse over 140 stalls, offering a variety of quirky gifts as well as chilli foods, chilli plants, seeds and produce.

All shopping stalls close at 6pm each day, but a range food and drink stalls stay open into the evening while the entertainment continues.

Eating and Drinking

Food Stalls

Sample spicy and exotic food from a selection of food stalls to keep you going throughout the day. There will be plenty of options for those less keen on the hot stuff and local ice cream if you need a little help cooling down!

Hot and cold drinks include speciality coffees, tea, hot chocolate, fresh fruit smoothies and more.

The Gardens Restaurant

Choose from a variety of freshly prepared meals, snacks and cakes and sit either indoors or outside on the terrace. Open until 6pm daily.


Enjoy a selection of beers, ales and wines, as well as soft drinks at one of our six onsite bars located close to the main stage. This year we also have two new bars, champagne and cider.

Open until 11pm

  • Los Amigos
  • WD Arms
  • Cider Bar

Open until 6pm

  • Potting Shed
  • Champagne bar
  • Airstream bar

For any group bookings of 10 or over adults, please contact

Sussex Life Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards 2015

We had been awarded the Sussex Life Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards 2015 for Hospitality Hero.

The Chilli Fiesta was also awarded Tourism Event of the Year Bronze Award at the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2014/15.


Wake up in the beautiful grounds of West Dean and make a weekend or a mini break of it. Full camping facilities are available throughout the Chilli Fiesta weekend (including great showers and toilets). A limited number of pitches are available so early booking is essential.

Pick your camping zone: This is done on the day you arrive and not in advance.

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 close to the toilets and showers, ideal for the earlier to bed but up bright and early.

The camping shop will be open 24 hours.

Sadly, due to restrictions from Natural England we now have reduced capacity of caravan and campervan pitches and are therefore unable to offer these to the public for this year's Chilli Fiesta.


"Glamping was a real treat, especially the added comfort of fresh bed linen, bedside lighting and the hassle-free nature of having it all done for you! A great way to make a weekend of it." Bev and Jon Rawle

Relax in comfort with a full size bed, real mattress, sumptuous cotton bed linen, 13TOG duvet and handmade patchwork quilt blankets. You'll have well stocked tea and coffee making facilities as well as a pair of traditional deckchairs to soak up the summer sun in comfort.

Our classic bell tents, set for 2 have a lovely vintage feel but with all the facilities of the modern glamping experience; including bedside lighting, electric radiator (if it gets a little chilly at night) a 240v socket outlet for charging phones and cameras etc. Towels are also provided.

Treat yourselves to the ultimate in festival camping, nestled in a beautiful quiet tree lined corner of our stunning campsite.

Grow your own chilli plant competition

This year we teamed up with seed and plant specialist Thompson & Morgan to launch a new plant competition element to Chilli Fiesta. If you have been growing chilli plants and want to enter our chilli growing competition then book your tickets for Sunday 7 August. Whether you grow chillies every year or this is your first time, your plants could win you prizes. Simply bring your chilli plant along to Chilli Fiesta on the Sunday for the judging. There willl be a 'Chilli Creche' where you cn leave your plant while you go and see what else Chilli Fiesta has to offer so you don't have to carry it around.

There are two categories in the competition.

Category 1 - Chilli Demon Red
Bring along your Demon Red grown from the Thomson & Morgan seeds.

Category 2 - Grow a different chilli
Bring along any chilli variety you like.

How and where to enter

Please bring your plants to the Chilli Hub where you will find the 'Chilli Creche'.

  • Registration of chilli plants 10.30am-11.00am and 1.30pm-2.00pm
  • Judging will take place at 2.30pm
  • Prize-giving with Sarah Wain will be at 3.45pm

Judging the chilli growing competition

The competition will be judged by West Dean Gardens Supervisor Sarah Wain and plants will be judged on health, appearance and yield.

For the rules and information about both competition categories, click here.

Chilli Fiesta FAQs

Here are a few of our top tips and FAQs:

Q. Do I get tickets sent to me?
A. No, Chilli Fiesta tickets are now issued electronically and will be emailed to you. Print off the email confirmation which should show a bar code/reference number and bring it with you on the day.

Q. Can I just show you the e-ticket on my phone?
A. Yes. Please ensure your booking reference number is on show.

Q. What is the last entry time?
A. 9pm on Friday and Saturday, 7pm Sunday.

Q. What age range is a child ticket?
A. Children age 4 and under enjoy free entry, 5 -15 requires a child ticket. Children are to be accompanied by a paying adult. 16+ require an adult ticket.

Q. What camping facilities are there at Chilli Fiesta?
A. The campsite is complete with showers, flushing toilets, drinking water and a small shop for basic amenities. Showers will operate 24hrs a day. The campsite crew will be on site throughout.

Read the full list of FAQs

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