THE wet weather didn’t deter food lovers from coming out in their thousands for Foodies Festival’s return to Winchester.

Tickets nearly sold out across the weekend, with as many as 8,000 people turning up to see Saturday’s headline act Scouting for Girls at North Walls Recreation Ground.

The pop band welcomed Winchester to be its fifth band member, in what they said might have been their "wettest" gig yet.

READ MORE: Live updates from day two of Foodies Festival - with Scouting for Girls

Hampshire Chronicle: Thousands flocked to see Scouting for GirlsThousands flocked to see Scouting for Girls (Image: Adele Bouchard)

As well as music, including an Abba tribute act and final headliner Sophie Ellis-Bextor, a star-studded line-up of chefs, bakers and drink experts drew in the crowds with their masterclasses.

BBC Good Food wine professional Tom Surgery made the most of his first time in the city with a trip to The Bishop on the Bridge, The Royal Oak and Indian restaurant Gandhi. He said: “Apparently that’s doing Winchester.

“The crowd is really up for it, they're a highly intelligent and articulate crowd that tell you what they like. Everyone has been great and has been having a really good time. It’s a lovely place to be.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Wine expert Tom SurgeyWine expert Tom Surgey (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Sue Hitchen founded Foodies Festival 19 years ago, with this being the third year the touring event has come to Winchester.

She said: "We've got record numbers and we're so delighted that the people of Winchester are having such a good time.

"It's amazing. When it's busy and people are enjoying themselves and all gathered around the stage, there's no better feeling. All the theatres are full too.

"Winchester is such a foodie area and we love this site and being next to all the trees and the river.

"It's so important to get local talent on show too so we invite local producers, street food vendors and bakers."

SEE ALSO: The 15 best photos from Winchester Food Festival 2023

MasterChef 2010 champion Dhruv Baker was cooking up a storm for what he thinks was about his 10th Foodies Festival and second event in Winchester.

Dhruv said: "It's been genuinely a lovely time. There's always a fun crowd who are up for anything. I just love talking about food and cooking for people who genuinely want to learn.

"You don't need to spend a fortune to come here but there's a huge variety of things to and everything you could possibly dream of to eat, loads for the kids too.

"Winchester is an absolutely stunning place to visit with the history and the setting. I don't fare too well with the one-way system when I'm running late but I've gotten used to it.

"Even though we're cooking all day it's so hard as chefs to find a time to eat so I'm looking forward to having a wander around Winchester and finding somewhere."

Hampshire Chronicle: Jacob Rodrigues Perraro and Dhruv BakerJacob Rodrigues Perraro and Dhruv Baker (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Jacob Rodriguez Perraro, known as the 'Gyoza God', said: "Our set went really well, it was lots of fun. It's lovely to have everybody coming together. There's such a variety of chefs here from Michelin star cooks to food bloggers and vegan chefs.

"Winchester is definitely one of the best sites for Foodies."

READ ALSO: Whispering Bob Harris and Colin Hall are bringing their Beatles show to Winchester

Speaking after their set on the MAH music stage, front man of Aliens Don’t Ring Doorbells, Adam King, said: “Foodies Festival is brilliant. We had a little bit of rain but it cooled us down on stage and it was good.

“I’ve been here before a couple times visiting – doing the touristy bits, it’s such a lovely place, but this is my first time performing here.

“People were singing along and joining in, it was great.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Adam King and Dorian Foyil of Aliens Don't Ring DoorbellsAdam King and Dorian Foyil of Aliens Don't Ring Doorbells (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Paul Harfield, from Hedge End, was celebrating his 43rd birthday with his best friends.

Hampshire Chronicle: Paul Harfield celebrating his 43rd birthday with his friendsPaul Harfield celebrating his 43rd birthday with his friends (Image: Adele Bouchard)

Paul said: " We're having a great time, there's a great atmosphere. The weather has turned out perfectly, I've got the wind in my hair.

"I've signed up for all sorts and loved spending the time here with my friends. We'll give it another try next year.

"I love Winchester and its positive atmosphere."

Maddy Reeves, 26, was there with all her friends and family from London.

Hampshire Chronicle: Maddy Reeves with her friends and familyMaddy Reeves with her friends and family (Image: Adele Bouchard)

She said: "This is our third Foodies Festival. We keep coming back for the good vibes, good food, great headline acts and mostly the cake.

"We're having such a good time despite the rain. We're most looking forward to scouting for girls."

Foodies Festival, the biggest UK touring food festival, was on in Winchester from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16.