15 July 2008

And All That Beer & Jazz

The first ever CAMRA Greenwich Beer & Jazz Festival kicks off at noon on Wednesday in the impressive setting of the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College on the banks of the Thames.

Running through until Sunday evening, a wide array of jazz musicians will perform alongside a pretty decent (if not scooptastic) lineup of ale.

Inspired partly by maeib's recent voluntary antics and partly out of guilt, I will be working the first two days of the fest. This will be my first time on the other side of a festival bar and I felt it was about time I broke my duck. The event replaces the 15-year-old Catford Beer Festival which, due to the spiraling cost of hiring out the Broadway Theatre, has been under increasing threat for some time. Apparently the final nail in the coffin this year was a lack of volunteers - a shameful state of affairs for what is the biggest CAMRA branch in London. So in an attempt to redeem my inactivity of years past and in fond memory of Catford, I shall be throwing myself into the spirit of things.

That's if they let me in. The staff are made up strictly of CAMRA members only and I have had some trouble with the renewal of my membership. Despite paying in May and chasing it up on two further occasions I have yet to receive my new card. I have had to pay the full whack entry fee at two other festivals in that time and now face the possibility of being turned away from offering my services at my local branch's big day. I hope common sense will prevail.

I also hope that this new venture is a success. There is certainly a much slicker feel than with Catford but the entry fee could prove a stumbling block. It's as much as £15 (inc. £2.50 booking fee when purchased online) to get in after 5pm, only £1 less for CAMRA members. 'Bargain' hunters should aim to arrive before 5pm when the entry price is almost halved.

That may well be too much for struggling quaffers to justify - even if they do happen to appreciate jazz music, which many probably don't. I suspect, therefore, that this will be a festival for the ale novice and that's fine by me.

Welcome to flavour country.



  1. Yes, slack I know. Too much going on at the moment! I will get on it asap.


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