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Beer Festivals 2012

graham's picture
Beer Festivals 2012
So beer festivals, eh? Hundreds of aging men in chunky jumpers with pipes, sipping half of mild and talking about trains? Not so much really, in fact CAMRA's (The Campaign For Real Ale) recent marketing campaigns have done much to dispel that image. Even with that in the nearly 10 years I've worked at festivals many of the customers and staff when I joined were my age or younger and since then I've seen a steady intake of new volunteers and Ale, Cider Wine and Mead devotees from drinking age and up.
I've primarily worked at the Cambridge festivals and their popularity is not hard to understand. The summer festival in particular is effectively a huge pub in a field in late May sunshine is enough to pull even those who couldn't care if they were drinking Carlsberg or Cantillion to the fest.
This year I'm also working at Reading's summer beer fest a couple of weeks before Cambridge. It's quite a different atmosphere, smaller, but extremely lively. There's something about university towns and beer festivals that go together. I can't imagine what...
At Cambridge I run the office for the stewarding team. At Reading my role is much the same but I'm assistant to an already established team. It's usual to have senior staff members filling regular roles when "away" from home, the first time I worked as a Team leader my minions were Chief Stewards of other festivals, one of them the Great British Beer Festival no less!
Beer festivals form a fair chunk of my holiday burn each year, sometimes I question why I devote the time to them. It's not simple question to answer, there a lot of work, you generally don't get a beer till gone midnight, you're often tired, achy and stressed. We keep coming back though.
Over time I'm hoping to get some answers and along the way maybe produce some more instructive posts about CAMRA, Beer Festivals and the people I work with.