Steel City Beer & Cider Festival 2016 – planning begins!

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  Christmas seems like a distant memory, Tryanuary has been and gone (hopefully trampling the stinking carcass of Dryanuary underfoot as it goes!) and beer festival planning starts. October might seem a long way off but organising a successful festival takes a lot of time and effort.

As always it starts with appointing a committee. The first meeting sorted out most positions but there are still some vacancies for anyone willing to get more involved. The main requirement is enthusiasm, but we’ll try our best to find positions that suit whatever skills you can bring. A budget has been set and sent to head office for approval, which should be a formality following the success of last year’s festival.

We are also needing more volunteers. Last year we had 137 volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure that over 5,000 visitors enjoyed themselves drinking nearly 19,000 pints of beer or cider without any major problems.

We are hoping to increase visitor numbers and extend the bars this year, which will of course need more bar staff. We are also wanting to increase the numbers of people working the various stands such as tokens, admissions, membership, games etc. And it goes without saying that we will need more people to help with build-up and take down.
The build-up is particularly satisfying as you get to see the bars and stalls being assembled, and everyone involved feels a real sense of pride at what they achieve ready for the opening day.

Over 200 casks will need positioning on 40 metres of stillage, fitted with all the necessary cooling equipment, and then tapped and vented ready for serving.

Around 20 bars need to be assembled, bolted together and beer engines fitted.
Membership tables, token tables and games tables all need setting up in position, and the correct banners erected.

Token sets need readying for that initial rush of visitors.

All our existing glasses need washing and bringing round to the entrance desks.

And of course it all needs doing in reverse once the festival is over.

Days are split into smaller sessions so you don’t need to work a full day and you can even do an evening spot without needing to take a day off work. Volunteers receive a festival tee shirt, free festival glass and beer tokens to spend at the bars. More importantly you’ll have the satisfaction of being part of a team and helping to make this year’s festival even more successful than last year.

So if you feel you’d like to get involved, or would like to have a chat with one of us about it, you can contact us at

Alternatively why not come to one of the planning meetings held the third Tuesday of each month as detailed in Beer Matters diary, or a CAMRA branch meeting, or even one of the Pub Of The Month presentations where you’ll be able to find one or more of the planning committee who will be happy to discuss things in detail.

We look forward to seeing you

Steel City Festival

About Andy Cullen

Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA since the early 2000s after being recruited to sit on a National Younger Members Task Group. Since then he has held roles on the branch committee including Secretary, Membership Secretary, Magazine Editor, Chair and now Social Secretary. Andy has also been involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival almost every year since becoming active in the branch.

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