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Reviews of beer festivals from the past years
and other interesting stories from the western front.

FestivalJohn the Gardner – the very height of summer

October 11, 20181

Back to Festival days again starting with the Cricklade Rail Festival. Which boasted a good range of beers and was run on a CAMRA based arrangement. Steam trains running into Taw Hill Station were included with the tickets – giving extra transport options to happy drinkers.

My next adventure was to the Pelicon in Gloucester. This was over the 8th and 9th of June and with my birthday on the 11th – I enjoyed helping them celebrate their 6th anniversary. I do recommend the pub – it a beer drinkers’ paradise! There was limited food for sale on site and you can also take your own food if you wish.

Next up was the 5 Bells in Royal Wootton Bassett, with a festival put on to celebrate 20 years of the crew running the place. Again this was a CAMRA based structure with tickets on site, good entertainment and the very good food they are renown for onsite. It was a small event, but a delight to be part of. I got the bus wrong on the way back and ended up in Swindon, with a one hour stop over at the GluePot. Got a bit messy by the end of that day.

Next up was the very First Covingham Festival held in St. Paul’s church and was set up to raise funds for the Church, Swindon Community Library and the Alzheimer’s Project. It was run by CAMRA members and volunteers run on a standard structure. I am pleased to report it made a good profit and was well supported. It is a bit of bus ride to get there and if you don’t know the stops it can be a bit of a walk as well.

It’s the 1st of July and off I go again, this time to the Red Lion Cricklade, for its summer festival, showcasing the best summer ales from around the country. They put on 30 Classic Ales, 5 Keg Beers & 10 Ciders. It was very hot, way above what you would expect for the time of year – which makes it more difficult to keep real ale – but we were in safe hands, the beer was spot on. There was also kids entertainment and great food to enjoy in the garden, making for a lovely afternoon.

The next trip involved a bus ride out to the Devizes Festival. It is a great festival, good food, good bands and a great site.
They had a problem last year with people turning up and drinking their own beer etc. Some were even drinking lager out of cans! So security was more evident this year. For those looking for a site to put on a beer festival of their own, this problem boiled down to access issues stemming from the public access to the site via the pubic access canal toe path.

The last stop in this edition is the Cropredy festival. I do not normally write reports on music festivals, but at Cropredy the team have put on a festival at the main site, with no access to the music festival. With its own bands etc. Onsite showers, a pig roast, 30 beers and lots of ciders as part of the fring festival. This is known as the Edge and anyone can go in. The team put it on to give smaller micro breweries exposure by taking them to large festival events… That’s the spirit!

One comment

  • Paul medlin

    August 26, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Hi John,

    Great meeting you again at. The Edge, Cropredy. Always good to see you and spend some time chatting. I know this is a review from last year and we caught up again this year for a longer chat, but for those reading: The Edge at Cropredy is put on by me and team (who are beer enthusiasts) on my own land. We aren’t linked to the main festival in any way, we do this purely for fun and as you say, a chance to showcase micro breweries to an audience who otherwise may never get to taste. It hard work, a lot of fun with an added bonus of raising cash for a local charity. We also showcase local bands from Banbury so all in all, everyone wins.

    We have also finally got ourselves sorted enough to kick off our own nano brewery, Swamp Bog Brewery, so hopefully you get to try more of ours next year!

    Anyone looking to visit, best to find us on Facebook by searching “The Edge at Cropredy”

    Thanks for the chat this year and sharing some more stories and beers.



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