Bristol’s favorite BBQ shindig lives up to its moto “Meat, Music and Mayhem”

Grillstock 2017 (Sunday Review)   

Purely built on the mantra of Eat a be Merry, Grillstock is an experience everyone should stick on their festival bucket list. With the smell of seasoned meat wafting through the air and the sound of the main stage ringing through the Harbourside, you’ll instantly get sucked in to what is a large but intimate BBQ Party.

Tickets are available for either Saturday or Sunday, or both. A single ticket for the Sunday would see you part with just £25, so well worth it.


This year Grillstock was rammed with top street food venders and quality BBQ’ers form all over the globe. Ranging from Pulled Pork, Ribs and insanely good Burgers, this festival is built for those with a craving for smoked meats. Beefy Boys, a popular choice evident by the ques, is every bit worth waiting for with punters going batty for their meat patties.

Another foodie favourite is The Weber BBQ Academy, a magnet for the serious meat eaters and smokers. The team on hand giving presentations throughout the day, provide techniques including grilling, roasting, smoking and baking, using Weber’s gas and charcoal barbecues to cook. Expert chefs share their skills and experience showing punters how it’s done and what’s not to do when cooking with meats and direct heats.   

Grillstock also features the legendary Chilli-Eating Competition and mouth-watering Rib / Wing and Dog competitions, giving festival goers the chance to show competitive sides, while being fed for free. The Sunday chilli competition saw the first ever all female finalist, with both girls easily out doing the boys. A great event and one that has most in tears, including the participants.

The 2017 King of the Grill BBQ Competition saw Last Of The Summer Swine be crowned overall winners. On top of the top prizes, the team also have the opportunity to head to the US and compete in the prestigious American Royal, Kansas City, and the World Food Championships, Alabama. The guys at Last Of The Summer Swine have been supporters of Grillstock over the years’ so it’s only fitting that they get this chance.

It’s safe to say that you’d be hard pushed to be peckish at this festival. Even vegetarians are catered for, so don’t be put off should you prefer a spicy bean burger over a double bacon cheese meat stack! 


This two-day music event, comprises of two stages, the Main Stage and the Dive Bar. Saturday saw the likes of Hot 8 Brass Band and Craig Charles (Funk and Soul Show), and Sunday saw the main stage taken over by The Maricachis; Legendary Shack Shakers; Goldie Lookin Chain; DJ BBQ and headlined by The Darkness.

On the Main Stage American band, the Legendary Shack Shakers, blew the festival apart with their brand of Southern Gothic Rock. Vocalist JD really gets the party going with the meat mob lapping up his quirky and entrancing act. A performance worthy of a headliner, and must see.    

However, GLC (Goldie Lookin Chain) had parents cover the delicate ears of the younger festival goers with their lyrics making people both laugh and recoil at the rudeness. One to note should you see them on a festival bill and happen to be taking children too. Never the less, punters were treated to an awesome set of classics from the Welsh comedy rappers.

DJ BBQ and his dancing barbarian BBQ’er, T-bone, were the filling set before the main show of the day. The mixing a little suspect, but the dancing is something else. T-bone has moves. Just his manly presence is enough to draw attention, with his stereotypically ‘all things BBQ’ get up, and giant beard to boot. Worth it just for T-bone outlandish performance.  

The Darkness we’re the show stoppers on Sunday, and closed the festival in style with a performance you’d expect from this flamboyant rock band. Dressed in a revelling blue cat suit, the articulate frontman, Justin Hawkins, and his eccentric band had the flocking crowd air guitaring and horn signing all over the Harbourside. A perfect end to a perfect day.

The Dive Bar played host to all those breaking out of the practice rooms and on to the stage. Bands like Red Ray & The Reprobates featured on Saturday, but Sunday was headlined by the Dirty Diesel Outlaw Orchestra. Their fast paced, high octane performance to blew festival goers out the tent and gained mass applause from gambolling crowd. Let’s hope these guys are regulars!

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Everyone from Ben, a festival organiser, to the Bar Staff at the Dive Bar, to the well organised Security Staff, are class acts. All smiles and ever helpful, the glue behind this festival operation, get it bang on. Well prepared and well managed, the festival has everything worked out, even down to handing out ear plugs for those at the front of the main stage.

The festival even has the It’s In The Bag charity operating  and given advice to men in relation to testicular cancer. This saw many festival goers walking around with trademark bright orange y-front pants…. mainly on heads! Still, this only helps to show the quality of the festival.

One minor bugbear could be seating, but that’s what the floor is for!

Grillstock certainly lives up to its self-claimed “GREATEST CELEBRATION OF BARBECUE & MUSIC IN THE UK” 

 Next year will be bigger and better, so keep your eyes peeled for when tickets go on sale.