It’s pretty hard to go wrong with the combination of food and music. Hip to this fact, the AS club Western Animal Rights Network has organized their annual event, Veganfest. Just in time for that celebratory end-of-the-quarter meal, Veganfest will not only fill your belly in an ethically-minded way, it will give you a dose of live music, and a wealth of information on food and animal rights issues. According to Corey McCartney, co-president of WARN, “[Veganfest] is our biggest event. Basically it’s a lot of food, information about animal rights issues, and music that is meant to be a good time and also expose people to good vegan food.” Yum!

“WARN serves to educate the campus and community about animal rights issues, so that’s a main part of Veganfest,” said McCartney. “We can do that through good vegan food.”

He said that much of the food for the festivities has been donated. Local favorites Mallard’s and the Swan Café at the Food Co-op have both donated food, and additional food will be purchased from WARN’S resources. Despite the many vegan recipes that may be floating around the kitchens of the folks in WARN, McCartney said that the dishes at this buffet-style meal will not be the wild creations of the group members themselves. “WARN is putting it all together, but we’re not acting as chef!” he said.
“There will be a spectrum of foods. Everything from sorbet from Mallard’s to Swan Café salads to cookies.”

In addition to the delicious food, you can look forward to some great live music. In addition to David Zhang, Fairhaven student and musician extraordinaire who played at last year’s Veganfest, there will be a band featuring such exciting instruments as the sitar and the didgeridoo.

Last year’s event drew close to 200 people. This year, the event is moving from one of the smaller rooms in the VU to the gargantuan Multipurpose Room, and McCartney said that in this new venue he is hoping for a turnout of at least this size. “We get better at running it each year,” he said.

“[Veganfest] has been free in the past and now we’re charging $2. We want to continue to expand it as an event, so if we can charge just $2, that means next year we’ll have a lot more money to bring in speakers and music,” said McCartney. “All the money is just supporting the event itself. I hope [the cost] does not hurt attendance.” From what this event promises to be, $2 is certainly reasonable. In fact, it’s downright cheap.

“A lot of vegans are concerned with where their food comes from. Being exposed to some of the information that’s out there and will be at Veganfest, you can learn a lot, and its pretty eye opening to what goes on behind the scenes. Trying to get your food from an ethical source— whether vegan or non-vegan— is pretty important. Factory farming is a big issue, and a lot of it is trying to dodge factory farms.”

“Having been to [Veganfest] in the past, I know it’s a good time,” said McCartney. “It’s a really social event. Right off the bat, everyone’s just mingling together, eating food and listening to music. It’s really good to bring friends, and to make friends.”

“For anybody that’s ever considered being a vegan, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn more about it and develop a network of people, and to meet likeminded people,” said Shawn Herbold, co-president of WARN.

“Maybe people don’t know why people are vegan or vegetarian,” she said. “There will be lots of literature on the ‘why’ of being vegan or vegetarian.”

“WARN is really about animal rights in general. This particular event is all vegan food, but everyone is welcome. Even if they’re not vegetarian… they’re especially welcome!” said McCartney.
Come and enjoy the buffet-style tables piled high with vegan food. “You just pick what you want,” McCartney said. “It’s all you can eat until there’s no food left, but there will be a lot of food.”

Veganfest is Tuesday, May 30, from 6-8 p.m. in the MPR. The cost is $2, or $1.50 if you bring your own plate and fork. For more information, email WARN at wwuwarn@gmail.com.