In a MAD//Fest special, we look at the top content from across the past three days covering all things fashion, food and drink and music from top journalists and guest speakers…
1. Fashionista expertise
With news brands helping readers discover the latest trends and navigate the world of fashion with cost-of-living and sustainability in mind, our fashion panel was a great way to start the week. Pandora Forsyth hosted the session with a panel of industry experts and journalists giving their advice to the audience.
Fabulous magazine’s Nana Acheampong and Style magazine’s Karen Dacre highlighted the importance of finding pieces that tell stories, particularly from car boot sales and charity shops both online and on the high street.
Acheampong also advised: “Don’t get caught up in trends, work out what suits your figure and have fun with it.”
Meanwhile, fashion influencer Tasha Ghouri emphasised the importance of having fun and feeling confident in what you wear. She said: “It’s great to have fun with fashion and enjoy it. Find what’s right for you and sometimes go out the box a little bit.
“It may not always look right but at least you feel good in it and that’s how you want to feel, confident in yourself.”
2. Charity to Catwalk
As part of the fashion event, the three agency winners of the Newsworks competition took centre stage on the speakeasy runway, giving showstopping looks and inspiration for our style conscious audience.
Charlie Aldridge took the top prize of £300 to spend on pre-loved fashion with a standout look combining masculine and feminine inspirations to create a unique outfit.
3. Tasters and tipples
With the continued issue of the cost-of-living weighing on households and restaurants alike, our day two panel of food and drink experts gave great insight into how to make the most of our favourite cupboard staples, as well as how to support our local businesses through the right balance of saving and supporting.
We also heard about the biggest misconceptions and myths surrounding the food and drink industry. The Telegraph’s food editor Amy Bryant said: “Never tell people what you shouldn’t do but give people a level of knowledge and skills to identify and read into a little more such as processed foods.
“Expanding on knowledge and allowing people to make the decisions that fit themselves best.”
Rob Buckhaven, Metro’s drinks editor, agreed, pointing out how wines marketed with special offers might not be worth the higher price point in the first place, saying people should know “how to save money in a way that’s not false such as great deals that aren’t really worth the hype”.
Seema Pankhania (aka @seemagetsbaked on TikTok) spoke about the importance of supporting a younger audience for advice and information on understanding the cost of living, communicating with her audience by making cheaper and easier recipes: “There’s so many fun and delicious things you can make just by looking in your kitchen, it doesn’t have to be a pasta bake or beans on toast, but it becomes a luxury to find something you enjoy making.”
4. Main Character energy
Meanwhile, at the Hexagon Stage, Guardian ‘Pop culture’ host Chanté Joseph and singer and presenter Jack Remmington talked all things ‘main character energy’ and what self-care looks like in 2023. Up for discussion was everything from ‘beige flags’ to discussing how the post-pandemic world got younger generations into a space of moving away from what they see as unhealthy obsessions, such as heavy drinking.
That doesn’t mean people aren’t spending money on guilty pleasures, our speakers included: Joseph and Remmington both praised the self-care qualities of M&S prawns, for example.
Quoting a recent report showing “77% of people enjoy taking pleasure in the small things”, Joseph shared her small pleasure was her monthly nail appointment, while Jack never misses his weekly midday hair appointment or an opportunity to watch Real Housewives to help him unwind.
5. Music magic
Tom A Smith kicked off the final day speaking to host Pandora before performing an exclusive acoustic set. He discussed the highlights of his latest Glastonbury gig, his inspiration to keep going and the highs and lows of being an upcoming artist dealing with the impacts of social media.
“People often ask me what is there left to do, after performing at Glastonbury and playing with Elton John but there’s so much more left for me to do”, he said. “I’ve just announced a 30-day tour at the end of the year.”
He also talked about meeting Elton John: “The bigger the artist, the more well-known and respected they are, the nicer they are. He was phenomenal. He knew everything about me, my music and song writing”.
He played our Speakeasy out with an amazing acoustic set singing his top songs and a cover of Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Déjà vu’.