The eponymous Beer Festival had been re-branded, this year of 2009, in an attempt I suspect to attract more folks to the event. I don’t know whether the re-branding exercise was deemed to have been successful, or not.
Certainly we all agreed that the Show Ground was the ideal place for such an event, with loud music all afternoon and into the early evening, yet unlikely to disturb too many neighbours. And the opportunity to share the marquee(s) with the Agricultural Show Committee, on the Sunday right after the Show, was too good to pass up.
If I’m not mistaken, this was the year that the lager and cider on tap foundered. I remember this because I borrowed the dispensing equipment, including gas valves, from the village hall bar. Whether the products were too old, going off, or the gas pressure was just wrong and the anti-fobbing devices weren’t working, or whatever, all we could elicit from the fonts was foam. Copious lashings of foam. In the end, we had to retreat to offering chilled cans of Fosters, but to be honest, nobody really seemed to mind. It was just embarrassing to me.
Meanwhile, I believe the barbecue and food service was doing a good trade, and of course the original point of the exercise, showcasing of fifteen real ales from nine breweries, held true. And the bands played on.
I wonder, placing myself in the perspective of 2009, if we’ll be able, as Lions, to keep going with these Beer Festivals, if the financial return is not commensurate with the effort. If the fund-raising is not substantial, I can see that this event might be something that falters. The Tynedale Lions hold an annual Beer Festival in the Corbridge Rugby Club grounds, where they serve some 115 different real ales, and offer many bands for entertainment over an entire weekend. This festival elicits dozens of thousands of pounds in revenue for the club.
We hoped for some significant fraction of that return, but as I recall we never reached more than perhaps a tenth. The friendly bus service put on for the afternoon was not well subscribed, I do seem to remember that dismay.
Well, we’ll just have to see how things turn out, shall we?