31st LUTON BEER and CIDER FESTIVAL
Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd February 2014
Hightown Community Sports & Arts Centre, York Street, Luton LU2 0JD
This February we hosted the 31st CAMRA Luton Beer & Cider Festival, Luton’s biggest and best (and only?) real ale and cider festival. Over the three days we sold 8500 pints of ale, over 900 pints of cider & perry and hundreds of bottles of Belgian, German, American, Dutch and British beers to over 2000 happy festival-goers.
We opened the doors at midday on the Thursday which is five hours earlier than in previous years which proved to be very popular so we’ll continue to do this in the future (providing we still get enough volunteers). People were pleased to be able to come in and enjoy their drinks with a spot of lunch and generally experience a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. I have to admit that we weren’t quite ready in the Main Hall by Thursday midday but there was still plenty to choose from so I don’t think anyone noticed!
On Thursday evening we announced the Albion in Ampthil with our 2014 CAMRA branch pub of the year winner.
The weather in February being what it was, we had lots of praise from festival visitors on the excellent cloakroom service which for the second year running was run by the volunteers from Macmillan Cancer Support who did an made some real money for their charity.
We were pleased to again see a wide mix of visitors as we try hard to appeal to all walks of life, young and old, female and male. If you think that CAMRA beer festivals are full of bald, bearded, sandaled, pot-bellied old men talking about trains then think again and better-still go to one (and I’m only some of those things)!
For the first time we tried out a “Sponsor a Barrel” scheme where local businesses can show their support for CAMRA and the festival in return for free entry, free beer/cider, free glasses and advertising. Thank you to all those who showed their support this way which proved to be a success so we’ll be doing it again – get in touch now to reserve a slot for next year. I’d also like to thank our other sponsors Arriva busses, XT Brewery, Millwhites Cider, Tring Brewery and Jaspers Hire.
If you made a comment on the festival using on one of our feedback slips then click here to download them all with my genuine response, we really appreciate feedback good or bad as it helps us plan the next event. Also on the comments slips was the opportunity to vote for your beer of the festival. The winner was Liverpool Organic Best Bitter closely followed by Five Points Pale and Tiny Rebel Fubar in joint second place.
Serious planning of the festival takes a core team of about ten from October and a dedicated army of about 75 to actually run it and all are unpaid volunteers who give up their spare time to make it happen.
My personal thanks got to all of them and to all of our visitors.
We fully expect the 32nd Luton Beer & Cider Festival to happen between Thursday 19th and Saturday 21st February 2015 - stick it in your calendar now!
Mike Coombes, Festival Organiser
Tel. 07917 645222