Planning for the 2017 Lincoln Beer Festival started last October. And I’m pleased to report that we have lots of local CAMRA members keen to get involved in organising this major event.
One of the first issues we discussed was where to hold the festival. At popular times, customers usually have to queue to get in to the Drill Hall. To ensure the comfort and safety of everyone there, we are not allowed to have more than 500 customers in the venue at any one time. So, once we hit that limit, it’s “one out, one in”.
We’re often asked why we don’t go for a bigger venue. And now that Lincoln Castle has been redeveloped, people have suggested that we hold it there.
Changing to a new venue is a significant undertaking in terms of planning and organisation. And if that venue is out of doors, it becomes more complex and a significant financial risk. Marquees, floor matting, toilets and much more have to be hired. Water and electricity have to be plumbed in. Security fencing and guards would be required. This all adds up to a major undertaking for an organisation run entirely by volunteers.
Nevertheless, we have spoken to staff at the Castle to see whether it would be possible to hold the Festival there. They would be happy to consider a proposal, but a major issue would be the Crown Court. Having hundreds of drinkers so close to an operational court might well be a recipe for trouble.
Having done the research, we presented our findings at the initial Beer Festival planning meeting. And it soon became apparent that there was no support for the idea of moving from the Drill Hall.
We do not want to lose the unique character of the Lincoln Beer Festival. The Drill Hall is a civilised and cultured setting, which means that we attract a much more diverse clientele than you might expect at a beer festival. There’s an outside area which is great when the weather is fine. And many visitors appreciate the fact that the musical entertainment is in the Café Bar and not in the main hall.
So, if you come to this year’s Festival and you have to queue for a while to get in, please accept our apologies in advance. But be assured that you will have a great time when you do get in!