My weekend in ethical heaven at Vegan Camp Out

My weekend in ethical heaven at Vegan Camp Out

Vegan Camp Out restored my passion for something I used to love with a full heart.

I love festivals. Man, do I love them. Camping, getting grubby, dirty, not caring. Everyone has mud on them somewhere. It’s okay. You’re all united. You all socialise and mooch about during the day, party in the evening and camp overnight in the same euphoric mess.

I’m vegan though. So in that way, I can’t be so harmoniously united with most fellow festival-goers.

Deni with boyfriend Toby (left) and the Vegan Bros

Deni with boyfriend Toby (left) and the Vegan Bros

With Vegan Camp Out, you’re ‘stuck in this’ with people who feel how you feel: that animals get a shit time in this world.

It’s not that it’s a vegan preach-fest (although it is a tiny bit, which I quite enjoyed), it’s just that for two full days, you get to be in a field of almost 3,000 people who share your core values. It’s lovely. Next year, numbers are set to reach 5,000. How amazing.

The event’s full name is ‘UK Vegan Camp-Out’ – and it’s still the biggest outdoor vegan camping event in the world. It’s all thanks to Jordan, a young guy who organised this and made it possible for all the vegans to get together, listen to their heroes give inspiring talks, eat delicious food from any stand that takes their fancy knowing it’s all fully vegan, set up camp around people who will be barbecuing plant-based ‘meats’ and veggies only, and wake up surrounded by a compassionate swarm of humans. It was a little slice of heaven for me!

About the get food at Battered V

About the get food at Battered V

Vegan fish and chips with mushy peas from Battered V

Vegan fish and chips with mushy peas from Battered V

I got to meet my idols and hang out with friends including Paul Kerton (Hench Herbivore), Joey Carbstrong, James Aspey, Tim Shieff and Ben Johnson of Ethcs (Tim spoke a lot about raw veganism – more of that in another blog!), Ste Coote, James Green, Banana Warrior Princess and Chris Hines. But it’s not all about my vegan pals and the superstar YouTubers I follow.

The joy of Vegan Camp Out most certainly does not end with the vegan elite.

Toby and I got 'pegged' randomly, then passed on the love to other vegans

Toby and I got ‘pegged’ randomly, then passed on the love to other vegans

I actually met lots of women who follow ME online: vegan business-owners, vegan bloggers and new vegans on Instagram: people who admire me virtually.

It was touching to have them recognise me beyond a computer screen and a privilege to meet them. It just goes to show the Internet DOES matter. Instagram has a point. We are making a difference. Effort counts.

James Aspey spent a year not speaking for the voiceless victims (they have a voice - we just don't listen)

James Aspey spent a year not speaking for the voiceless victims (they have a voice – we just don’t listen)

Joey Carbstrong is a real vegan hero

Joey Carbstrong is a real vegan hero

I was inspired to be more active in my activism which is something I’ve shyed away from. I’m a big believer in the ‘Attractivism’ theory. I also loved tucking into What The Pitta!’s vegan baklava (baklava is such a Bulgarian food I hadn’t had in years!), delicious cupcakes and Cinnamon swirls from a pastry stand as well as oat and wheat burgers from Veggies Catering Nottingham.

As a vegan or someone who is veg-curious, Vegan Camp Out is a must for your 2018 calendar.

If you are interested in veganism you will leave full of inspiration and wisdom from the various high-profile speakers, full up with delicious food you can’t believe is actually vegan it’s so good, and convinced that veganism is a most brilliant choice to make for your mental and physical health, your appearance and longevity, the planet, animals and fellow humans.

And if you’re already vegan, you’ll enjoy all of the above and of course you’ll have something fundamental in common with everyone else who’s there. I know that personally I have felt a bit lonely even among my closest people in daily life. At Vegan Camp Out, everyone was on my wavelength. The event reassured me that loads of us really are in this together, and we are all making a difference.

And we must continue to do so.

Love, Deni xox

With my good friend Chris Hines

With my good friend Chris Hines