Anatomy of a Beer Festival Part 4
Part 4: That’s Entertainment (or not)!
The main area of much discussion and debate at this stage (aside from the venue) is entertainment. Within our committee there were people with two very opposing views at different ends of the spectrum. One felt that people attend beer festivals purely for the beer, not the music, and that the entertainment budget should be minimal. The other felt that music was what draws a lot of non-members in during the evenings and that, based on our successful festivals, we should still focus on this, albeit with a reduced budget.
I am of the opinion that a good beer festival should appeal to as wide a range of people as possible and that entertainment should be used to enhance a festival without being the main focus. That way you can attract both sets of people, drinkers and those who come for the entertainment, as long as admission prices are reasonable.
Eventually we agreed on a compromise somewhere in the middle. Whilst not abandoning entertainment altogether, the budget would have to be reduced and we would have more of a local focus. What we were now looking for was bands with a good local following that would be available for a reasonable cost.
To get the bands you want you usually have to book many months in advance. Usually we start straight after the previous festival but due to the position we were in we didn’t as other matters were more pressing. Hopefully this wouldn’t limit our choices and therefore affect the quality of the music we could offer but only time would tell.
Personally, although I love gigs and music in general, I do find that too many festivals maybe play it a bit safe and stick the same old folk bands on. Whilst I can appreciate decent musicianship whatever the genre it doesn’t interest me in the slightest and I don’t think that it appeals to the younger crowd that CAMRA is always keen to attract and get involved. That being said I nearly always go to beer festivals for the beer regardless of the music on offer (after all it is a beer festival) but it would be nice to have something different on for a change.
This is an area I feel we do reasonably well in. We’ve always tended to have rock tribute bands on in the past but we were also starting to try and to mix it up a little bit, again to appeal to a wider audience. I particularly liked the Re-Entrants we put on a few years ago who you might have seen if you came down on the Thursday night. A ukulele band mixing up good songs with great humour, just what I feel a beer festival needs at times.
Anyway the search was on……