Portsmouth's first ever chilli & gin festival to come to Fort Purbrook with a chilli eating competition, live music, and 60 sellers in the line-up

THE CITY’S first ever chilli and gin festival comes to a historical site this month after being pushed back twice due to Covid.

By Hollie Busby
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 5:03 pm

A chilli eating competition, stalls selling chilli products and about 25 different types of gin, as well as live music will be among the festivities as the Portsmouth Chilli & Gin Festival comes to Fort Purbrook.

Taking place on Saturday, May 21 to Sunday, May 22, revellers can take part in taste testing from a range of sellers including chilli-inspired food, a cocktail making class and a cookery session as well as competitions in the day.

For organiser Mark Scarborough, from Portsmouth, he saw a gap in the market for a festival in the city which caters to both tastes after noticing the spike in popularity for gin festivals and chilli festivals across Dorset and Sussex.

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Stunning autumnal aerial view of Fort Purbrook by Brandon Passingham/Magpie Drone Services. Instagram: @magpiedroneservices

Mark founded the venture alongside his son Jack and friend David MacAskill. Mark said: ‘It was a case that there is no festival in our area like it.

‘There's lot of chilli festivals and there's lots of gin festivals but we've put the two together to make a chilli and gin festival.

‘I've grown chilis for 30 odd years and I also quite like gin. I decided that when I retired and I had a bit more time that I would try and put something on.’

The historical site at Peter Ashley Road will see 60 stalls come together, with sellers offering about 300 type of chilli products like jams, chilli oils, sauces and chutneys as well as a range of different gins. Chilli plants will also be on sale with proceeds going to a Royal Navy veterans charity.

Portsmouth Chilli & Gin Festival is coming to Fort Purbrook.

Proceeds from a bag creche area for visitors will support Cosham Rotary Club.

Pompey in the Community will also provide free children’s activities across the weekend, with bouncy castles and face painting.

Mark, who is a trustee for Hive Portsmouth, added: ‘It's very exciting. It's something local for local people to come and do, have something to participate in but also something to watch and something to listen to. It's fun for all the family.’

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A large bandstand on site will be host to music and entertainment across the two days.

Fans can expect music from Big Noise Community Samba Band, who play across Gosport and surrounding areas, Mexican beats from Mariachi Tequila, singer Stacey Mogg who sings from genres including Motown and jazz, Pompey-based band Vagabonds and Cantando FVC Choir based at Southsea.

Vendors over the weekend include Portsmouth Distillery, Downton Distillery, Deelicious Chilli Jam, Saucey Lady, Southsea Drinks Company, Red Hot Gin and Peppers, Hungry Hog and many more.

Tickets cost £8.50 per adult, child tickets (for those aged 11-17) cost £3.50 each and a family ticket costs £20.

The festival is open to visitors from 10.30am to 4.30pm.