Friday, April 10, 2009

Beer Today, Beer Tomorrow!

Here's something that should leave a more pleasant taste in the mouth than that last item! What better way to celebrate the true meaning of Easter than getting bladdered on Trussock's Old Socks and 199 other splendid beers, ciders and perries at the annual Thanet GuzzleFest? Well, I can't think of think of a better way, even if you can.

It all kicks off over at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens in Margate at noon today. Stretchers at 10.30pm. Then you can do it all over again tomorrow. Admission £3 (£2 Saturday). I've been a guest of horror the past three years, and apart from a slight attack of beer-à-rear on day two in 2007, which I put down to the council catering, I've had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Hats off to the organisers of what is fast becoming the Ile de Thanet's cultural event of the year!

Click here for Feshtival website hic


Anonymous said...

Watch our Sandy with a few beers inside him!

ascu75 aka Don said...

Now this is only the second comment after all the stuff on the last posting I can only imagine they are catching their wind.Beer is a far more interesting subject but I cant get the wheelchair down the steps or up the disabled ramps so I shall have to hear what it was like from others

Anonymous said...

I hear they are playing a modern version of Captain Mannerings drinking game.

The contestant must read the script and drink one pints for each strand of diversity, pee for every work stream and drink a pint for every significant or cognisant.

The winner is not he or she who is still standing. It is for he or she who can understand it.

Line up the pints ECR and try the challenge in your own privacy

the drinking competition read aloud script

Anonymous said...

And two pints for every "360 degree tool"

Anonymous said...


Peter Checksfield said...

Don, why can't you get the wheelchair up the security ramp? Plenty of other people in wheelchairs manage it, & we've staff to help the people who need it.

Eastcliff Richard said...

But would Don want to queue for an hour to get in? Plus the wheelchair ramp was padlocked and the attendants on duty seemed too busy stopping people getting in to be bothered about firing up the ramp for anyone.

I witnessed a lot of discontent about the way the door policy was being operated. People were being told the place was at capacity and that it was 'one in, one out', yet there seemed to be no co-ordination with the side entrances where people were wandering out in dribs and drabs. Plus many were out on the lawns - did they count as 'in'? Surely not? Frustration was rife and I saw lots of people give up queuing and heading for the excellent Northern Belle instead.

And why weren't people's hand being stamped as they went in? It would have saved a lot of confusion. One poor old chap stepped out for a breath of fresh air, only to find himself having to queue again for an hour to rejoin his family inside because his hand hadn't been stamped on the way out. Whereas others were sneaking in without paying because nobody was checking for stamps at one of the back entrances at one point.

That said, once in, the festival itself was again magnficent. And where else in Thanet would you get people saying 'sorry' and moving out of your way as you stagger off with your pints of Old Nadgers, or offering to buy you another if they accidentally bumped into you and spilt yours?

Feeling excluded said...

I agree with Don - Winter Gardens is not easily accessible for those with a range of disabilities. I had trouble there myself recently attending a meeting. Only way in or out was loads of stairs or a very long slope which for a pedestrian with a bad knee was very difficult and tiring either way.

Anonymous said...

Here's a tip. Don't pay nearly six quid for a quarter of council chicken and chips. Stand on the smoking lawn and give Mr Chips a call on 01843 295556. He'll then walk down the slope with a delicious kebab, pizza or even, er, chips at half the price! Sorted!

Jean said...

Old Bernie Bubbles was there in his wheel chair - have go next year Don.

As for door policy, I think the organisers were a caught short - it was very much busier than previous years and I know they were expecting it to be quieter due to recession etc - I'm sure they'll learn their lessons.

Peter Checksfield said...

The best way for the disabled to get in & out of The Winter Gardens is via the seaside entrance. From there it's just a very short walk or push up a concrete ramp. Although this entrance was closed off to able-bodied punters for the beer festival, we still let disabled in this way. We even had a wheelchair & a couple of St. John's Ambulance volunteers standing by to give assistance if needed.

As for the other issues ECR, you need to take that up with the Winter Gdns management.

Damien Clark said...

Apologies for this late posting, but as a member of the organising committee for the beer festival I have been busy working with others to clear the Winter Gardens after the weekend. As the saying goes, after the Lord Mayors Show comes the sh*tcart.

Obviously the committee has no control over the limit imposed on numbers allowed inside the venue, the restriction is enforced because of fire regulations.

Similarly we have no say in matters such as disabled access (or more accurately the lack of signage related to it) nor the pricing structure for the food on offer. These are the responsibility of the Winter Gardens management.

We do however value all constructive criticism and we have already taken steps to try to alleviate the congestion and queueing problems next year by reserving the Queens Hall, which will increase capacity by approximately one third.

We will also possibly be introducing a security wristband system to further improve the traffic flow.

It must be borne in mind that this was only the third time this event has been held in the Winter Gardens and although numbers have increased steadily year on year we were all a little surprised this time by the sheer numbers wishing to visit on Friday afternoon.

Careful thought goes into planning the event each year, but there are only a handful of people prepared to give up freely of their spare time to manage the event, and sadly we cannot predict every outcome. Only hindsight is 20/20.

That said, overall the Winter Gardens is a great venue to hold a beer festival. The people employed there are very much behind us, and we try to ensure that the event improves each time.

With the continuing support of the growing number of loyal visitors - for which we are extremely grateful - we hope to further enhance it's reputation as one of the largest, best-organised and best value CAMRA beer festivals in the South.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Damien - thanks for your comments. I think from my point of view they were only meant to be minor gripes and in no way detracting from your excellent beer festival, which, if memory serves, I have enjoyed immensely four years on the trot.

A heartfelt thanks to you and all the CAMRA people for your hard work, and hopefully with the feedback and improvements you have mentioned next year will be even better!