Festival

Chilli Fiesta

Book your early bird tickets for 2019 now

Join the party at the UK's biggest chilli festival. 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.

Included in The Telegraph's top 20 UK food festivals for 2019

Live Latin music, spicy foods from around the globe...and dancing give this festival in pretty West Dean Gardens...a distinctive flavour and a feel-good factor.

What's on?

  • Live music including DJs and Latin bands
  • Latin dance demonstrations and workshops with professional dancers
  • See Strictly Come Dancing's Graziano Di Prima dancing live with his partner Giada Lini
  • Cookery stars Miranda Gore Browne and Chetna Makan
  • Wildlife gardening expert Kate Bradbury
  • Over 140 shopping stalls selling chilli gifts, plants seeds and produce
  • Five different bars to find refreshments
  • Vintage funfair
  • Workshops, music and dance
  • Children's activities
  • Camping
  • Explore the gardens
  • Outdoor cinema with films for all the family

More details will be announced very soon.

Cookery demonstrations

See top chefs demonstrating their culinary expertise with creative chilli based recipes in the Cookery Theatre.

Miranda Gore Browne, finalist on the first series of BBC's The Great British Bake Off, and author of 'Biscuit' and 'Bake Me A Cake As Fast As You Can' will be hosting and demonstrating throughout the weekend.

Chetna Makan, author of 'The Cardamom Trail' and 'Chetna's Healthy India', and The Great British Bake Off semi-finalist (2014) will be demonstrating her cooking skills on Saturday and Sunday.

Using ingredients from all over the world and ideas you can easily recreate at home, they're guaranteed to make your mouth water.

Gardening talks and tours

Hear from a variety of experts with gardening talks and demonstrations in the Gardening Theatre. Mark Diacono will be hosting the Gardening Theatre this year and will be giving talks on his book 'Taste of the Unexpected'. Visitors can learn about unusual, delicious edibles that anyone can grow - everything from Szechuan pepper to Carolina allspice.

Mark will also be running Garden Cocktail tasting sessions, where he'll share his expert knowledge on how to grow herbs and incorporate them into delicious cocktail recipes.

Wildlife writer for The Guardian and author of 'The Wildlife Gardener', Kate Bradbury, will be talking about her passion for organic wildlife-friendly gardening, and Lia Leendertz will also be appearing in the theatre over the weekend and discussing the month of August from her 2019 Almanac.

There will be talks from chilli-growing experts throughout the weekend, and opportunities to see displays of a huge variety of chilli plants in the Glasshouses on the daily tours with the West Dean Gardeners. Browse the plant sale at the Gardens Shop for chilli plants to take home and grow (and eat!) for yourself.

Live music and dance

Live music

Music on the front lawn stage plays from 11am until 9pm Friday, from 10.30am to 9.30pm Saturday and from 11am until 7.30pm on Sunday. Music continues in the Los Amigos Bar until 10.30pm Saturday and 9pm Sunday.

Music for 2019 includes Kalison on the Friday. Enjoy Lokito and a pyromusical finale on the Saturday. On the Sunday you can hear the Crawley Millenium Concert Band finale.

Dance

Dazzling dance acts include Strictly Come Dancing's Graziano Di Prima and his partner Giada Lini, who will be performing on Sunday 11 August, and Brazilian and Flamenco dance performances across the weekend.

Timetables and details of more acts will be available here soon.

Children's activities

There's plenty to keep children entertained at Chilli Fiesta including:

  • New slackline and circus skills workshop
  • Drop-in art centre
  • Outdoor cinema with popular family films each day
  • Vintage funfair inc. smaller childrens' rides e.g mini Austin cars and train ride
  • Face painting
  • Isabella's Story Bicycle (walkabout and storytelling, also featuring goodnight stories in the campsite)

'Isabella's Story Cycle was an enchanting, captivating and intricate piece of performance'
Marion Harrison, Eden Live Project Lead

Camping

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 and 24 hour shop). A limited number of pitches are available so early booking is essential, tickets are available for the full weekend (three nights) or for one night (Saturday).

"We came last year and enjoyed it so much, we said let's do it properly and camp next year."

"A weekend away with lots of chillies and dancing, lots of fun!"

Pick your camping zone (on the day you arrive):

  • 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.

In order to responsibly preserve our beautiful parkland, we have now reduced the capacity of caravan and campervan pitches and are therefore unable to offer these to the public for this year's Chilli Fiesta.

Chilli Fiesta and Camping FAQs

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Support West Dean Gardens

West Dean Gardens is part of a registered charity and its upkeep and care are only possible with the support of generous donors, friends and legacy gifts.

If you share our passion for the gardens and gardening excellence,
please find out how you can help support their upkeep.