GBBF 2008

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mplatting

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Aug 15, 2008, 2:11:32 PM8/15/08
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I understand that visitor numbers at this year's festival were down
10%

I've not visited for several years now, but reports from those who
have say that it's becoming a bit too much like a trade show with
corporate hospitality suites, trade stands, and all a bit too slick
and professional. Added to that, the prices, particularly for us hard
up Northeners, were high.

Perhaps it's time to scale things down a bit. Do we really need an
event of such mammoth proportions?

Most people in the UK will find that there are probably two or three
beer festivals every week - both CAMRA and individual pub events -
which are within comfortable travelling distance. What is the point of
travelling to London in the absolute height of the tourist season when
you can sample more beers than you could possibly cope with closer to
home?

Christine

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Aug 15, 2008, 2:37:12 PM8/15/08
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In article <pngba4tjfumma6uk8...@4ax.com>,

M Platting wrote:
> I understand that visitor numbers at this year's festival were down
> 10%

> I've not visited for several years now, but reports from those who
> have say that it's becoming a bit too much like a trade show with
> corporate hospitality suites, trade stands, and all a bit too slick
> and professional. Added to that, the prices, particularly for us hard
> up Northeners, were high.

May I suggest you write again when you have visited - I think you'll find
it's not like that at all...

> Perhaps it's time to scale things down a bit. Do we really need an
> event of such mammoth proportions?

Well if we don't, the public think we do - there is the danger that a
smaller event will be besieged by thirsty punters being turned away!

> Most people in the UK will find that there are probably two or three
> beer festivals every week - both CAMRA and individual pub events -
> which are within comfortable travelling distance. What is the point of
> travelling to London in the absolute height of the tourist season when
> you can sample more beers than you could possibly cope with closer to
> home?

About 60,000 people think there is a point. I'm not a fan of London myself,
and the festival is the only holiday I have, but nothing at local level
compares with Great British Beer Festival - nothing.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Steven Pampling

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Aug 16, 2008, 3:49:18 AM8/16/08
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In article <pngba4tjfumma6uk8...@4ax.com>,
M Platting wrote:
> I understand that visitor numbers at this year's festival were down
> 10%

The first year or two at a large event always gathers the curious - then
things level off.
Numbers were a stupidly large increase from Olympia to Earls Court,

If it helps you understand at all people at a wide variety of festivals
(non-beer) have reported about a 15% drop due to the "credit-crunch"

> I've not visited for several years now, but reports from those who
> have say that it's becoming a bit too much like a trade show with
> corporate hospitality suites, trade stands, and all a bit too slick
> and professional.

I suspect the festival working party would say thank you to that one, and
quite rightly. The presentation is part of what the visitors think is
improving and the rough arsed bare scaffold is one of the things everyone
is trying to avoid.
BTW. Corporate Hospitality was going when my father was still alive and he
has been dead 10 years now so I'd say you've been away a bit longer than
"several years"

> Added to that, the prices, particularly for us hard
> up Northeners, were high.

Simply put - the breweries charge more these days. Much more so it the last
few months.

> Perhaps it's time to scale things down a bit. Do we really need an
> event of such mammoth proportions?

We could try holding it in the school hall next door - but I suspect the
venue couldn't cope with the numbers that would turn up.

> Most people in the UK will find that there are probably two or three
> beer festivals every week - both CAMRA and individual pub events -
> which are within comfortable travelling distance. What is the point of
> travelling to London in the absolute height of the tourist season when
> you can sample more beers than you could possibly cope with closer to
> home?

By the sound of it you didn't, so what's the problem?
Do note though that August is not a busy time for London, check the deals
on hotels if you don't believe me.

Name your local city and a big venue - the festival needs a home in 2012.
Apparently there is some sort of international event on in London and the
beach babes are in Earls Court.

--

Steve Pampling

Mike Roebuck

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Aug 16, 2008, 5:51:12 AM8/16/08
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 08:49:18 +0100, Steven Pampling
<steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:


>Name your local city and a big venue - the festival needs a home in 2012.
>Apparently there is some sort of international event on in London and the
>beach babes are in Earls Court.

Have you considered the NEC?

Christine

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Aug 16, 2008, 7:25:26 AM8/16/08
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In article <dm8da41om87q3dfus...@4ax.com>,

Oh yes, when I was part of the team last considering the NEC for the Great
British Beer Festival they were asking £225,000 for one hall, which is
still more than we are prepared to pay, and we would need more than one
hall. Also it is relatively inaccessible by rail - the road links are far
better and encouraged by the management, and given the law on drinking and
driving, mean it's probably not viable. And the Arena is to be refurbished
over the next few years.

By "big" we mean the sort of size that rules out anything but halls: the
typical arena is about one-third the size of what is needed. We also need
management that understands what we do, and concessions that understand
that they will only be required to close when we are open - it is the
experience of those concessions that do open during Great British Beer
Festival that it really isn't worth it for them. In London the suitable
venues are taken by some other event in 2012.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Mike Roebuck

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Aug 16, 2008, 7:28:17 AM8/16/08
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 12:25:26 +0100, Christine
<chris.ra...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

>In article <dm8da41om87q3dfus...@4ax.com>,
> Mike Roebuck <mike.r...@privacy.net> wrote:
>> On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 08:49:18 +0100, Steven Pampling
>> <steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
>
>
>> >Name your local city and a big venue - the festival needs a home in
>> >2012. Apparently there is some sort of international event on in London
>> >and the beach babes are in Earls Court.
>
>> Have you considered the NEC?
>
>Oh yes, when I was part of the team last considering the NEC for the Great
>British Beer Festival they were asking £225,000 for one hall, which is
>still more than we are prepared to pay, and we would need more than one
>hall. Also it is relatively inaccessible by rail -

I take your other points, but that simply isn't true. It has a main
line railway station and an airport next door. Getting there by rail
might mean a change of train at New Street for a lot of people, but
that isn't the end of the world. It has regular trains to and from
London too, as I'm sure you know. Access to the NEC from the station
is under cover, as well.

snip

Steven Pampling

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Aug 16, 2008, 9:57:50 AM8/16/08
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In article <2aeda41pbmkkb4hgq...@4ax.com>, Mike Roebuck

Yes it has regular trains, but not much outside the office hours period.
Unfortunately they aren't the only aspect of the equation and the ability
to get to the venue on foot and public transport also falls into the
equation.
Anyone who has tried to *walk* into that area needs to seek psychiatric
care.

When Chris speaks of checking out the venue, we were actually invited to do
so in recent years by a senior member of the management that covers the NIA
and the NEC. We could see the NEC was too far out and the NIA too small for
the Great British Beer Festival but saw a possibility of the NIA as a venue
for the Winter Ales. Alas the cost versus the probable income were too
close a call.
We pointed out the problems we foresaw and he (the manager that did the
invite) agreed that the project wasn't viable given the cost of the hall(s)
and the small matter of the franchise holders at the venue(s) wanting to
limit our "show" to the things they don't do.

NB. One of the things they DO is what they laughingly label as beer so we
wouldn't be allowed to do that...

Things change, so perhaps the NIA should be looked at as a venue for a
large festival like the Winter Ales. Probably a more accessible venue than
the current one anyway.

--

Steve Pampling

Roy Bailey

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Aug 16, 2008, 1:38:33 PM8/16/08
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In article <4fcfb9bce2chr...@dsl.pipex.com>, Christine
<chris.ra...@dsl.pipex.com> writes
Does that include Olympia? I have to say that I much preferred that as a
GBBF venue in many ways, despite the leaking roof! The rectangular shape
is better for layout, there are more galleries and the whole hall can be
seen from one elevated point, and there is daylight.

The disadvantage compared with Earl's Court is the train service.

Olympia is like a pub; Earl's Court is like a cocktail bar.

Roy.
--
Roy Bailey
West Berkshire.

Matt Wheeler

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Aug 16, 2008, 1:55:39 PM8/16/08
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"Roy Bailey" <ne...@waitrose.com> wrote in message
news:t0BVKbDZ...@roy.bailey.waitrose.com...

Given the events of 2012, I do wonder if it might be more prudent to
actually shift the date of GBBF 2008 to avoid the olympics. I can
imagine that if they do "clash", there will be a lower turnout, as
many will prefer to watch olympics live or on TV, and could even
affect volunteer numbers too. Shifting it to early/mid July or later
in August (yes, I know there is the paralympics) may bring in a much
better turnout of punters and volunteers, and could resolve any
potential "venue" problems too.

Matt


mplatting

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Aug 16, 2008, 4:43:51 PM8/16/08
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On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 08:49:18 +0100, Steven Pampling
<steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

>
>If it helps you understand at all people at a wide variety of festivals
>(non-beer) have reported about a 15% drop due to the "credit-crunch"

...and of course the credit curnch is unlikely to go away for some
considerable time. All the more reason to cut your cloth according to
your suit. (i.e. plan ahead for something smaller, if anything at all)

>I suspect the festival working party would say thank you to that one, and
>quite rightly. The presentation is part of what the visitors think is
>improving and the rough arsed bare scaffold is one of the things everyone
>is trying to avoid.

Not sure I agree. 'Rough arsed bare scaffolding' to me means keeping
costs to a rough arsed bare minimum and hence lower beer prices.

>BTW. Corporate Hospitality was going when my father was still alive and he
>has been dead 10 years now so I'd say you've been away a bit longer than
>"several years"

No, it was there last time I visited but I understand it's increasing
in its presence.

>We could try holding it in the school hall next door - but I suspect the
>venue couldn't cope with the numbers that would turn up.

Thats not the point. In London alone there are numerous festivals
offering a wide choice of beers-eg The Pigs Ear in Hackney. Why cannot
CAMRA rejoice in, and invest more in, regional and local beer
festivals?

>
>By the sound of it you didn't, so what's the problem?

Actually I was in London the week after the GBBF and found the place
heaving. The hotel I was in was at capacity, and while I was checking
in, I heard several phone calls turning people away.

>
>Name your local city and a big venue - the festival needs a home in 2012.
>Apparently there is some sort of international event on in London and the
>beach babes are in Earls Court.

I suggest nowhere, and putting more effort into regional events, and
suggest that the organisers recognise that a London-centric approach
possibly alienates more people than it encourages.

Ken Ward

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Aug 16, 2008, 7:01:47 PM8/16/08
to
Roy Bailey wrote:
.
>
> The disadvantage compared with Earl's Court is the train service.
>
> Olympia is like a pub; Earl's Court is like a cocktail bar.
>
> Roy.

G-Mex Manchester?

Ken Ward

Steven Pampling

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Aug 17, 2008, 2:56:50 AM8/17/08
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In article <t0BVKbDZ...@roy.bailey.waitrose.com>,

Roy Bailey <ne...@waitrose.com> wrote:
> Does that include Olympia? I have to say that I much preferred that as a
> GBBF venue in many ways, despite the leaking roof!

So do the people that do the "Pure" exhibition. They offered big bucks to
get us moved from the dates we had there.

--

Steve Pampling

Steven Pampling

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Aug 17, 2008, 2:59:09 AM8/17/08
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In article <GtqdnapYvcMEiTrV...@pipex.net>,

Matt Wheeler <sp...@007jbond.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
> Given the events of 2012, I do wonder if it might be more prudent to
> actually shift the date of GBBF 2008 to avoid the olympics. I can
> imagine that if they do "clash", there will be a lower turnout, as
> many will prefer to watch olympics live or on TV, and could even
> affect volunteer numbers too. Shifting it to early/mid July or later
> in August (yes, I know there is the paralympics) may bring in a much
> better turnout of punters and volunteers, and could resolve any
> potential "venue" problems too.

Or we could go away on holiday instead.

--

Steve Pampling

MadCow

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Aug 17, 2008, 4:52:52 PM8/17/08
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In message <t0BVKbDZ...@roy.bailey.waitrose.com>, Roy Bailey
<ne...@waitrose.com> writes

>>
>Does that include Olympia? I have to say that I much preferred that as
>a GBBF venue in many ways, despite the leaking roof! The rectangular
>shape is better for layout, there are more galleries and the whole hall
>can be seen from one elevated point, and there is daylight.
>
>The disadvantage compared with Earl's Court is the train service.
>
>Olympia is like a pub; Earl's Court is like a cocktail bar.
>

It's generally felt that Earls Court hasn't that much atmosphere - it's
more like a basement car park.
My suggestion is a couple of daleks would fit in perfectly. Apparently
they come if you let them in free, like morris dancers. Spray them
orange and they could threaten extermination for punters who misbehave.

OTOH it's much easier to keep the stock cool at Earls Court.

--
Sue ]:(:)

Paul Rigg

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Aug 18, 2008, 5:24:40 AM8/18/08
to

The current venue is quite accesible thank you. Victoria Station right next
door and the Metropolitan Elite can slum it on a tram over from Picadilly if
they want to.


Like most people I know I've given up on the GBBF. Peterborough is much
better all round for me. Oh , and it's on this week. Excellent news.


Christine

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Aug 18, 2008, 6:51:41 AM8/18/08
to
In article <A6mdnbOJ3d1CojTV...@bt.com>, Paul Rigg
<g0...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> The current venue is quite accesible thank you. Victoria Station right
> next door and the Metropolitan Elite can slum it on a tram over from
> Picadilly if they want to.

I wonder what venue is right next door to Victoria Station? Oh you mean the
*much smaller* Winter Ales festival!


> Like most people I know I've given up on the GBBF. Peterborough is much
> better all round for me. Oh , and it's on this week. Excellent news.

OK if you want to stand for ages sinking into soggy ground getting frozen,
but as for me - I'll stick to an indoors venue.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Paul Rigg

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Aug 18, 2008, 7:51:21 AM8/18/08
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Actually never come across any mud there in the last four years And as for
standing around waiting, the bar service us much superior at Peterborough.
Prompt and very friendly. And you probably save 50p on every pint you have.

No contest.


Christine

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Aug 18, 2008, 9:32:11 AM8/18/08
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In article <67edna1hSeTd_zTV...@bt.com>,

> No contest.

Well as I would be staff at the festival, I would be standing around for
hours on end. And if you've had a look at the weather forecast for this
weekend, and also having experienced a few of the "showers" over the last
few weeks, I think soggy ground will be the order of the day this year. Oh
and as I would be staff at the festival, at Great British Beer Festival I
don't pay for my beer at the staff bar and a reduced price over the bar, so
I wouldn't notice the "lower price" at Peterborough.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Pete

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Aug 18, 2008, 12:55:34 PM8/18/08
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On 16 Aug, 18:38, Roy Bailey <n...@waitrose.com> wrote:
> In article <4fcfb9bce2chris.ramsbot...@dsl.pipex.com>, Christine
> <chris.ramsbot...@dsl.pipex.com> writes
>
> >In article <dm8da41om87q3dfusk4mgkrq8vqt5hj...@4ax.com>,

I am in complete agreement with Roy Bailey. Being partially disabled I
find the distances I have to trek in Earls Court are enormous, tiring
and eventually painful compared to Olympia. Furthermore I find Earls
Court, in spite of the huge size, claustrophobic and far too hot.

Pete Yarlett

Pete

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Aug 18, 2008, 12:57:16 PM8/18/08
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On 18 Aug, 14:32, Christine <chris.ramsbot...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> In article <67edna1hSeTd_zTVnZ2dnUVZ8qbin...@bt.com>,

miaow

mplatting

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Aug 18, 2008, 1:36:58 PM8/18/08
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On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:55:34 -0700 (PDT), Pete <pyar...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:

> Furthermore I find Earls
>Court, in spite of the huge size, claustrophobic and far too hot.

You ought to consider Peterborough then. Not claustrophobic, certainly
not too warm, totally accessible, grass beneath your feet, a proper
no-nonsense beer festival feel, 400+ real ales and ciders etc (yes not
quite as big as the GBBF, but size isn't everything!)

Here are the current webcam views:
http://www.beer-fest.org.uk/index.php?module=webcam&func=main

and here's the beer list:
http://www.beer-fest.org.uk/index.php?module=beer&func=main

Pete

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Aug 18, 2008, 3:36:26 PM8/18/08
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On 18 Aug, 18:36, M Platting wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:55:34 -0700 (PDT), Pete <pyarl...@yahoo.co.uk>

I always go to Reading which is of a similar size and format to
Peterborough (have now ducked to dodge the flying bricks).
Peterborough is a bit far for me to go from West Hampshire on my
pension!!

Pete Y

Esra Sdrawkcab

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Aug 18, 2008, 4:23:43 PM8/18/08
to

Sorry, best fare I can get is £77 return by rail.

London can be £1 if I book a bus early enough!

OK not comparing like with like, but Peterboro isn't as accessible from
the West.

Roy Bailey

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Aug 18, 2008, 5:27:38 PM8/18/08
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In article
<df5bf2d5-6fce-43d0...@f36g2000hsa.googlegroups.com>,
Pete <pyar...@yahoo.co.uk> writes

>On 16 Aug, 18:38, Roy Bailey <n...@waitrose.com> wrote:
>> Does that include Olympia? I have to say that I much preferred that as a
>> GBBF venue in many ways, despite the leaking roof! The rectangular shape
>> is better for layout, there are more galleries and the whole hall can be
>> seen from one elevated point, and there is daylight.
>>
>> The disadvantage compared with Earl's Court is the train service.
>>
>> Olympia is like a pub; Earl's Court is like a cocktail bar.
>>
>> Roy.
>
>I am in complete agreement with Roy Bailey.

That makes you a member of a *very* small minority group!

Steven Pampling

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Aug 19, 2008, 3:00:52 AM8/19/08
to
In article <agcja4h7b55h04hu7...@4ax.com>,

M Platting wrote:
> On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 09:55:34 -0700 (PDT), Pete <pyar...@yahoo.co.uk>
> wrote:

> > Furthermore I find Earls
> >Court, in spite of the huge size, claustrophobic and far too hot.

> You ought to consider Peterborough then. Not claustrophobic, certainly
> not too warm, totally accessible, grass beneath your feet, a proper
> no-nonsense beer festival feel, 400+ real ales and ciders etc (yes not
> quite as big as the GBBF, but size isn't everything!)

Interesting change of description - P'boro always used to try and compete
on size - usually by double counting and adding in the children and dogs.
Do P'boro sell more these days or is the grass still growing well in
certain areas afterward?

BTW. For some reason this year the staff area (2nd Floor Brompton) was
nicely cooled while the forced cooled air system for the main hall seemed
to be absent. Might be worth someone taking that up with the "management"
at EC

--

Steve Pampling

Christine

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Aug 19, 2008, 4:04:36 AM8/19/08
to
In article <s4eea4lbo6tjn832u...@4ax.com>,

M Platting wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Aug 2008 08:49:18 +0100, Steven Pampling
> <steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

> >
(snip)

> >I suspect the festival working party would say thank you to that one,
> >and quite rightly. The presentation is part of what the visitors think
> >is improving and the rough arsed bare scaffold is one of the things
> >everyone is trying to avoid.

> Not sure I agree. 'Rough arsed bare scaffolding' to me means keeping
> costs to a rough arsed bare minimum and hence lower beer prices.

And to others it means shoddy, no regard to health and safety, no regard to
hygiene, not up to current standards.

> >BTW. Corporate Hospitality was going when my father was still alive and
> >he has been dead 10 years now so I'd say you've been away a bit longer
> >than "several years"

> No, it was there last time I visited but I understand it's increasing
> in its presence.

Well I'm part of the corporate hospitality team, and I can tell you that
that's not the case. What I suspect has been fed back to you is the
presence of the Corporate Hospitality lounge on the floor of the beer
festival, rather than tucked away upstairs, out of sight of the public. I
can also tell you that said lounge was only in use for corporate purchasers
for 4 of the 5 days of the festival.

> >We could try holding it in the school hall next door - but I suspect the
> >venue couldn't cope with the numbers that would turn up.

> Thats not the point. In London alone there are numerous festivals
> offering a wide choice of beers-eg The Pigs Ear in Hackney. Why cannot
> CAMRA rejoice in, and invest more in, regional and local beer
> festivals?
> >
> >By the sound of it you didn't, so what's the problem?

> Actually I was in London the week after the GBBF and found the place
> heaving. The hotel I was in was at capacity, and while I was checking
> in, I heard several phone calls turning people away.
> >
> >Name your local city and a big venue - the festival needs a home in
> >2012. Apparently there is some sort of international event on in London
> >and the beach babes are in Earls Court.

> I suggest nowhere, and putting more effort into regional events, and
> suggest that the organisers recognise that a London-centric approach
> possibly alienates more people than it encourages.

A few years ago I'd probably have agreed with you: I was one of the most
vociferous anti-London members around. Now I'm sure that there are no
regional festivals that can compete with Great British Beer Festival, with
or without the increased effort of the extra volunteers who may be seeking
to work at a regional festival in the absence of a national one.

The investment that has already happened in regional and local festivals is
due in no small measure to the investment in the national one: for
instance, the cooling systems would never have been as available were it
not for the impetus provided at national level. I don't think it's an
either/or situation: we need both large regional and national festivals.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Chris de Cordova

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Aug 20, 2008, 9:34:45 AM8/20/08
to
Been some interesting points made for both sides here about the venue
and about 2012. Could it be held a little later that year, since it
seems there isn't comparable accomodation anywhere.

WE chose not to go to GBBF this year because of the venue, and went
on our own beer hunt in a nice area and found great pubs and beers,
and enjoying being tourists, but I really missed GBBF.

I have always wanted to work at it too, but the people I go with
don't want to. I think next year I would like to just go on my own
and work. But would I feel awkward, being a woman alone and not
knowing many people? Are there cliques and stuff, or would it be OK?

--
Chris de Cordova (West Cumbria & Western Lakes) www.westcumbriacamra.org.uk
Whitehaven Beer Festival: 21st & 22nd Nov 2008 (www.whitehavenbeerfestival.co.uk)
www.cumbrianbreweries.org.uk for good craic on our beers!

OK, so what's the speed of dark?

Christine

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Aug 20, 2008, 10:02:58 AM8/20/08
to
In article <4fd1d4ebc...@ukgateway.net>,

Chris de Cordova <deco...@ukgateway.net> wrote:
> Been some interesting points made for both sides here about the venue
> and about 2012. Could it be held a little later that year, since it
> seems there isn't comparable accomodation anywhere.

> WE chose not to go to GBBF this year because of the venue, and went
> on our own beer hunt in a nice area and found great pubs and beers,
> and enjoying being tourists, but I really missed GBBF.

> I have always wanted to work at it too, but the people I go with
> don't want to. I think next year I would like to just go on my own
> and work. But would I feel awkward, being a woman alone and not
> knowing many people? Are there cliques and stuff, or would it be OK?

Not knowing many people? You know us - and we know most people. You
probably already know Lynda and Stuart - they work there for setup and take
down. Also Dougie and Lynda Smith. I'm sure Lynda would love to have you on
Champion Beer of Britain! Oh and we'd love to see Phil if he comes. Anyway
I'm sure you'd have a whale of a time!

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Kev Crocombe

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Aug 20, 2008, 12:19:22 PM8/20/08
to
In article <4fd1d78147chr...@dsl.pipex.com>, Christine
<chris.ra...@dsl.pipex.com> writes

I never get to go coz I'm always going to coming back from summer
holidays - I've always thought it was a daft time for the fest anyway -
I like a nice beer when its a bit cold outside, and preferable dark or
at least crespuscular.

Denny

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Aug 20, 2008, 12:51:55 PM8/20/08
to
On 20 Aug, 14:34, Chris de Cordova <decord...@ukgateway.net> wrote:
SNIP

>
> I have always wanted to work at it too, but the people I go with
> don't want to. I think next year I would like to just go on my own
> and work. But would I feel awkward, being a woman alone and not
> knowing many people? Are there cliques and stuff, or would it be OK?
>
SNIP

As far as being a woman alone, that would not be a problem at all...
the vast majority of the working party and a heck of a lot of the
senior workers are lasses - you know a lot of the Keighley & Craven
lot and we have a very big presence down there (I can think of at
least a dozen of us off the top of my head of which a 1/3rd are
women). You would always be made mose welcome and if you let one if
us know when you are coming we can make sure you're put with "a nice
bunch" till you find your feet. LOL

Re August time....The only reason it changed from the original
september time was when we moved to Brighton in 85 so as to hopefully
pick up more holiday makers at the seaside... but then it was found
that halls and student accom was cheaper and so were a lot of the
bigger venues as it is classed as their "quiet" time & priced
accordingly. It would be very interesting to see what the prices were
for later dates for EC tho in 2012...

Re "off season in London" well I was amazed to get hotels for £28 per
night B&B in the next street from EC and will certainly be booking
there again next year... it was bliss to have a 3 minute "commute" and
that extra hours lie in the morning (not to mention the extra time in
the Volunteers Arms after the buzzes have left for the residences... )
very civilised!

Cheers All

Denny
(Stock Control)

Simon Cooper

unread,
Aug 21, 2008, 2:30:36 AM8/21/08
to
"Steven Pampling" <steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:4fcfa5f392st...@dsl.pipex.com...
> In article <pngba4tjfumma6uk8...@4ax.com>,``
> M Platting wrote:
>> Added to that, the prices, particularly for us hard
>> up Northeners, were high.
>
> Simply put - the breweries charge more these days. Much more so it the
> last
> few months.

As true as that may be, prices this year for beer were high, but probably
not appallingly so. I didn't like seeing we were charging over 3quid for
many beers though.

The cost of getting in the door - 10 pounds on the day (most people) - seems
simply exorbitant, up 25% on 2 years ago. I had an investment banker friend
who had some mates call him away because they hadn't wanted to pay that much
to get in.

I'm pretty numb to the pricing of the catering stalls there - it's apparent
that they pay a fairly hefty whack to be there.

Does the festival make big profits for the organisation to fund other things
or are we really just covering the cost of things?

> BTW. For some reason this year the staff area (2nd Floor Brompton) was
> nicely cooled while the forced cooled air system for the main hall seemed
> to be absent. Might be worth someone taking that up with the "management"
> at EC

I didn't really notice that, I just attributed the fact I was sweating like
a pig the whole time downstairs mostly to working on the Festival Games,
where one runs back and forth picking up balls, cheeses or mini barrels for
a few hours at a stretch. Managed to squat down and have my shorts give up
on me too, apparently another common side effect of that job. I noticed
none of the commentary about Matt Hoggard mentioned his go on the skittles
though...

Brett...

unread,
Aug 21, 2008, 12:50:53 PM8/21/08
to

"Simon Cooper" <swco...@conecast.net> wrote in message
news:rMqdnZ3CkJvkljDV...@comcast.com...

> "Steven Pampling" <steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
> news:4fcfa5f392st...@dsl.pipex.com...
>> In article <pngba4tjfumma6uk8...@4ax.com>,``
>> M Platting wrote:
>>> Added to that, the prices, particularly for us hard
>>> up Northeners, were high.
>>
>> Simply put - the breweries charge more these days. Much more so it the
>> last
>> few months.
>
> As true as that may be, prices this year for beer were high, but probably
> not appallingly so. I didn't like seeing we were charging over 3quid for
> many beers though.
>

Whereas the excellent and award winning Cannon Royall Fruiterers mild was
available for just £2


mplatting

unread,
Aug 21, 2008, 1:26:03 PM8/21/08
to
On Thu, 21 Aug 2008 02:30:36 -0400, "Simon Cooper"
<swco...@conecast.net> wrote:

>
>As true as that may be, prices this year for beer were high, but probably
>not appallingly so. I didn't like seeing we were charging over 3quid for
>many beers though.
>
>The cost of getting in the door - 10 pounds on the day (most people) - seems
>simply exorbitant, up 25% on 2 years ago. I had an investment banker friend
>who had some mates call him away because they hadn't wanted to pay that much
>to get in.
>

Totally agree, Simon.

It's very sad. There seem to be people who rejoice in the fact that
beer is becoming an up-market, high priced, trendy drink rather than
the working man's thirst quencher it used to be.

All credit to your investment banker friend's mates! Perhaps you ought
to direct them to Peterborough next year where the prices seemed to
average out at about £2.20-£2.40. You'll have a better time and drink
beer in a more appropriate and fun environment. And a minimal entry
fee, if any at all!

£18 return by train from Kings Cross. Hotels in Peterborough from £29.

And I have absolutely no connection with that festival! I have however
being going to festivals for nearly 30 years and Peterborough,
Liverpool and the Keighley and Worth Valley October Festival (not a
CAMRA festival but with CAMRA support) rate as about the best. But
far too 'rough and bare arsed' for those who see beer as a fashion
statement rather than simply a bloody good drink.


mplatting

unread,
Aug 21, 2008, 1:31:15 PM8/21/08
to
On Thu, 21 Aug 2008 18:26:03 +0100, M Platting wrote:

>O
>
>.... Keighley and Worth Valley October Festival (not a


>CAMRA festival but with CAMRA support) rate as about the best.

Just a small plug for that one: http://www.kwvr.co.uk/events/index.htm

No connection with them, I just like good festivals.

Christine

unread,
Aug 21, 2008, 5:31:51 PM8/21/08
to
In article <rMqdnZ3CkJvkljDV...@comcast.com>,

Simon Cooper <swco...@conecast.net> wrote:
> The cost of getting in the door - 10 pounds on the day (most people) -
seems
> simply exorbitant, up 25% on 2 years ago. I had an investment banker
> friend who had some mates call him away because they hadn't wanted to
> pay that much to get in.

Probably the same people who don't flinch at paying £x000 for a bottle of
wine!

Seriously, though, you can't get in anywhere in London for less than a
tenner these days - none of the tourist attractions are less than a tenner,
none of the National Trust properties I have seen charge less than a
tenner, and that's even outside London. Even Compton Verney (quite close to
me in Warwickshire) charges nearer £20. Heck, even the parish church in
Warwick charges £5 to get in!

I've thought for a long time we should be charging about a tenner for
admission. The Doctor Who exhibition, on at the same time in Earls Court,
charges £9 for just half an hour's entertainment - surely £10 is worth an
entire beer festival!

As for your statement about the catering stalls, what actually comprises
most of their fees is the charges for power they have to pay to a third
party (i.e. not Earls Court and not Camra, although Camra administers it).
That's pretty standard at all exhibition venues, including the one I'm
exhibiting at this weekend.

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Steven Pampling

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 2:50:36 AM8/22/08
to
In article <A6mdnbOJ3d1CojTV...@bt.com>, Paul Rigg

<g0...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> The current venue is quite accesible thank you. Victoria Station right
> next door and the Metropolitan Elite can slum it on a tram over from
> Picadilly if they want to.

All OK once you get to Manchester, but Manchester isn't as easy to get to
as many other locations.

--

Steve Pampling

Chris de Cordova

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 5:32:08 AM8/22/08
to
In article <4fd284700achr...@dsl.pipex.com>, Christine

<chris.ra...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:
> I've thought for a long time we should be charging about a tenner
> for admission. The Doctor Who exhibition, on at the same time in
> Earls Court, charges £9 for just half an hour's entertainment -
> surely £10 is worth an entire beer festival!

Sorry Christine - poor comparison, to my mind. Once in the Dr Who
exhibition, can you enjoy yourself without spending any more money?
Not so in GBBF.

--
Chris de Cordova (West Cumbria & Western Lakes) www.westcumbriacamra.org.uk
Whitehaven Beer Festival: 21st & 22nd Nov 2008 (www.whitehavenbeerfestival.co.uk)
www.cumbrianbreweries.org.uk for good craic on our beers!

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

Paul Rigg

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 7:37:32 AM8/22/08
to
Not to mention the fact that we're (mainly) also members of the organisation
that is charging so much!

There was once an AGM motion that proposed free entry for Camra Members to
Camra Beer Festivals at all times

I wouldn't go that far, but as someone who's been involved in the
organisatiion and staffing of quite a few festivals I'd rather the punters
spent the money over the bar than just getting in.


Mike Roebuck

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 8:11:52 AM8/22/08
to

Manchester has good rail connections from all over the country, plus
an international airport with lots of flights to and from Heathrow and
Gatwick for the southern contingent - you can even get cheap fares on
the routes!

I think this is about you comforable Londoncentric lot not wanting to
have to pay for accommodation [1], or make the long trek across the
country, both of which the rest of us have to do if we want to spend
more than one day at GBBF in London.

[1] Doesn't apply to those of you working at the festival, obviously.

Roy Bailey

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 9:56:52 AM8/22/08
to
In article <rMqdnZ3CkJvkljDV...@comcast.com>, Simon Cooper
<swco...@conecast.net> writes

>
>The cost of getting in the door - 10 pounds on the day (most people) -
>seems simply exorbitant, up 25% on 2 years ago. I had an investment
>banker friend who had some mates call him away because they hadn't
>wanted to pay that much to get in.
>
The more they make, the meaner they are.

Arthur Figgis

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 2:12:24 PM8/22/08
to
Christine wrote:
> In article <rMqdnZ3CkJvkljDV...@comcast.com>,
> Simon Cooper <swco...@conecast.net> wrote:
>> The cost of getting in the door - 10 pounds on the day (most people) -
> seems
>> simply exorbitant, up 25% on 2 years ago. I had an investment banker
>> friend who had some mates call him away because they hadn't wanted to
>> pay that much to get in.
>
> Probably the same people who don't flinch at paying £x000 for a bottle of
> wine!
>
> Seriously, though, you can't get in anywhere in London for less than a
> tenner these days - none of the tourist attractions are less than a tenner,

British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, National
Gallery, Imperial War Museum, National Maritime Museum, National
Portrait Gallery, Sir John Soane's Museum, Museum of London, National
Army Museum, Horniman Museum, British Library, Queen's House, Royal
Observatory. Palace of Westminster (but it is hassle).

All free.

> none of the National Trust properties I have seen charge less than a
> tenner,

The George:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-georgeinn/


and that's even outside London. Even Compton Verney (quite close to
> me in Warwickshire) charges nearer £20. Heck, even the parish church in
> Warwick charges £5 to get in!
>
> I've thought for a long time we should be charging about a tenner for
> admission. The Doctor Who exhibition, on at the same time in Earls Court,
> charges £9 for just half an hour's entertainment - surely £10 is worth an
> entire beer festival!
>
> As for your statement about the catering stalls, what actually comprises
> most of their fees is the charges for power they have to pay to a third
> party (i.e. not Earls Court and not Camra, although Camra administers it).
> That's pretty standard at all exhibition venues, including the one I'm
> exhibiting at this weekend.
>


--
Arthur Figgis Surrey, UK

Brett...

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 4:02:17 PM8/22/08
to

"Paul Rigg" <g0...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:h8ednbWTr8J...@bt.com...

> Not to mention the fact that we're (mainly) also members of the
> organisation that is charging so much!
>
> There was once an AGM motion that proposed free entry for Camra Members to
> Camra Beer Festivals at all times
>

But lots of CAMRA members got into GBBF for free and got free beer on top of
that!


Steven Pampling

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 5:08:42 PM8/22/08
to
In article <h8ednbWTr8J...@bt.com>, Paul Rigg
<g0...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

> There was once an AGM motion that proposed free entry for Camra Members
> to Camra Beer Festivals at all times

Actually it was free *or discounted* entry, and I think you will find that
even the Great British Beer Festival adheres to that particular item.

A different motion from the same people to obtain free membership for the
unemployed was not passed.

--

Steve Pampling

The Submarine Captain

unread,
Aug 22, 2008, 5:43:22 PM8/22/08
to
Brett... a écrit :

> But lots of CAMRA members got into GBBF for free and got free beer on top of
> that!

Yup, a good thousand of them, plus dozens from other european beer
consumers organisations.


--
Warning : you may encounter French language beyond this point.

Justement j'aimerais assez que tu allasses quérir nos brebis qui doivent
séans se retrouver fort humides...
(F'murrr)

Laurent Mousson, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland

Steven Pampling

unread,
Aug 24, 2008, 6:02:31 PM8/24/08
to
In article <03bta4lsm0vllkig6...@4ax.com>,

Mike Roebuck <mike.r...@privacy.net> wrote:
> I think this is about you comforable Londoncentric lot not wanting to
> have to pay for accommodation [1], or make the long trek across the
> country, both of which the rest of us have to do if we want to spend
> more than one day at GBBF in London.

> [1] Doesn't apply to those of you working at the festival, obviously.

<cough>
1. I live just outside Coventry and I'm Yorkshire born.

2. I intensely dislike London as a city. (probably genetic)

3. I stay in a hotel when I'm there - it's convenient for me and means the
accommodation organiser has one less room to find.

As previously stated the current venue is about the only one that ticks all
the boxes.
I've been working at the Great British Beer Festival for 28 years (not
even a break on the 1984 burned out venue replacement festival year) and
I've seen it grow from a simple attempt at money raising to the major
event it now is.

What the event is about is far more than just selling some beer, CAMRA
members in the individual branches do an excellent job of that in the local
and even regional festivals, it's about a large amount of PR that couldn't
be done at a smaller festival (like the corporate hospitality)
Sadly one of the major threads, press coverage, is far harder when you try
and get the press boys to leave their cozy London holes.

--

Steve Pampling

alebuff

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 5:22:18 AM8/25/08
to
I've been reading through this thread with much interest. I am a
punter, life CAMRA member, freelance journalist, done my time as
volunteer at many festivals all over the country, and judged at a fair
number too, including GBBF 2008.

There are many valid points being made here by many people, but there
are obvious recurring themes. I'd also like to interject with a few
observations:

1. While each venue has advantages and disadvantages, most people
preferred Olympia to Earls Court.
2. No venue is perfect - its just some are less perfect than
others !
3. GBB Festivals have been run at other venues in the past outside
the above....Brighton, Leeds etc. From the punters point of view,
they havent been a "disaster". Headquarters dislike them as they dont
earn them so much income.
4. CAMRA is fast becoming a corporate entity - their number one aim
is to grow, make more income, and grow more. Yes they drive great
campaigns - that is what CAMRA is for, but "grow" is top of the
agenda.
5. Leaving London will reduce CAMRA's opportunity to grab thousands
of tourists as potential members. Accept it - those in charge will
not move it. The GBBF is CAMRA's number one recruiting exercise.
Current members get small benefit from it, with expensive entry fees
and beer. This is a deliberate policy of the executive, who do the
pricing. I've spoken to breweries and the Wetherspoons people. They
want to reduce their prices, and even give away beer, but CAMRA force
them to charge inflated rates. Why should Bar Nouveau charge around a
pound more than they do in their own pubs down the road ?
6. Another pricing question. How is it I (or any member of the
public) can buy the latest West Coast (USA) Beer Guide new from Amazon
(including postage) for less than I can as a member at GBBF ? I wrote
to Whats Brewing about this, and surprise surprise they didnt publish,
nor respond.......
7. While many of us help out volunteering, organising, setting-up,
for small beer or a few tokens at festivals, the corporate boys behind
the scenes watch over the coffers, doing what they can to maximise
income, travelling around on expenses, and ensure we fall into line
with headquarters guidelines.
8. Peterboro, Reading, Cambridge etc are fantastic alternative
venues. Why ? They are run by local people, not the executive, and
offer a much better value product. I dont care if I have to plan hard
to get there, stand on grass, or avoid the odd puddle or leakage. And
without doubt all the people are happier, and its infectious !
9. There is without doubt a growing dissatisfaction amongst the grass
roots hard-core. I know several who now refuse to volunteer at GBBF
any more. And isnt there a push from above to force local tented
festivals to start charging members more ? (Cambridge comes to mind
as an example.....).
10. For 2012, Matt's suggestion is by far the wisest and least
disruptive - why not just move the date ?!?!?!

Now dont get me wrong - I am not against CAMRA. I hope to reman an
active member for a long time but I also intend to make my voice
heard. Dont accept that those in charge always get everything right -
they dont ! The campaign to force guest beers into pubs led to
limitations on the number of pubs owned by breweries, and the
formation of the pub companies. This is an unnecessary set of
middlemen that also take a profit out of the "brewer to punter"
system. Yes the availability of real ale has increased, but it is
much more expensive than it needs to be.

phew, enough from me this miserable rainy bank holiday in Ilfracombe

alebuff

gavin

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 5:29:44 AM8/25/08
to

"Steven Pampling" <steve.p...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote in message
news:4fd412c080st...@dsl.pipex.com...

> In article <03bta4lsm0vllkig6...@4ax.com>,
> Mike Roebuck <mike.r...@privacy.net> wrote:
>> I think this is about you comforable Londoncentric lot not wanting to
>> have to pay for accommodation [1], or make the long trek across the
>> country, both of which the rest of us have to do if we want to spend
>> more than one day at GBBF in London.
>
>> [1] Doesn't apply to those of you working at the festival, obviously.
>
> <cough>
> 1. I live just outside Coventry and I'm Yorkshire born.
>
> 2. I intensely dislike London as a city.

Me too - and I won't travel 250 miles to go a beer festival, irrespective of
how good it is. But each to their own - and I fully take on board your
points about it being far more than a vehicle for selling beer. Long may it
prosper - without my attendance :-)


Michael Jones

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 6:55:16 AM8/25/08
to
"gavin" <thes...@cosmicdancer.freeserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:bYusk.348697$0O3.1...@fe02.news.easynews.com...

>
> Me too - and I won't travel 250 miles to go a beer festival, irrespective
> of how good it is. But each to their own - and I fully take on board your
> points about it being far more than a vehicle for selling beer. Long may
> it prosper - without my attendance :-)
The GBBF does seem to be about far more than selling beer, among other
things it's apparently a vehicle for providing corporate hospitality. Quite
what a group founded to campaign on behalf of the ordinary consumer is
doing in the corporate hospitality market is a question that hasn't really
received the attention that it deserves. How is providing privileged, first
class access to an event for people on a corporate jolly advancing the aims
of CAMRA?


gavin

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 7:38:52 AM8/25/08
to

"Michael Jones" <michael.jone...@tesco.net> wrote in message
news:Vcwsk.89730$lO6....@newsfe20.ams2...

Raising the profile?


Pete

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 9:32:34 AM8/25/08
to
On 25 Aug, 12:38, "gavin" <thesli...@cosmicdancer.freeserve.co.uk>
wrote:
> "Michael Jones" <michael.jonestwonineth...@tesco.net> wrote in message
>

>
> Raising the profile?

By getting a few junior execs from a 2nd rate firm pissed for free/on
the cheap. They then go back to there normal haunts drinking the amber
nectar etc.

Pete Y

p.s. Comments by the cook Oliver, as reported in today's papers, don't
help the cause either.

gavin

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 11:30:48 AM8/25/08
to

"Pete" <pyar...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:6daf75f4-0d79-47e8...@r66g2000hsg.googlegroups.com...

> On 25 Aug, 12:38, "gavin" <thesli...@cosmicdancer.freeserve.co.uk>
> wrote:
>> "Michael Jones" <michael.jonestwonineth...@tesco.net> wrote in message
>>
>
>>
>> Raising the profile?
>
> By getting a few junior execs from a 2nd rate firm pissed for free/on
> the cheap. They then go back to there normal haunts drinking the amber
> nectar etc.

No idea - never been involved.


gavin

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 11:41:54 AM8/25/08
to

"Pete" <pyar...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:6daf75f4-0d79-47e8...@r66g2000hsg.googlegroups.com...

Actually I think they do. He is talking about the binge culture which is
fueled by cheap fizz from supermarkets - the other end of the scale from
real ale.


Brett...

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 12:20:45 PM8/25/08
to
My observations on the points I have an issue with...

>
> 1. While each venue has advantages and disadvantages, most people
> preferred Olympia to Earls Court.

Actually most people prefer the location of Earls Court but Olympia as a
venue.


> 2. No venue is perfect - its just some are less perfect than
> others !
> 3. GBB Festivals have been run at other venues in the past outside
> the above....Brighton, Leeds etc. From the punters point of view,
> they havent been a "disaster". Headquarters dislike them as they dont
> earn them so much income.

Too simplistic. You are not comparing like with like. GBBF is unique and as
others have said requires unique circumstances.
In addition CAMRA HQ has nothing to do with the location for the event.


> 4. CAMRA is fast becoming a corporate entity - their number one aim
> is to grow, make more income, and grow more. Yes they drive great
> campaigns - that is what CAMRA is for, but "grow" is top of the
> agenda.

What do you mean by corporate?
Have no problem with the next bit - if it wishes to be a sucessful
campaigning organisaiton then yes absolutely.


> 5. Leaving London will reduce CAMRA's opportunity to grab thousands
> of tourists as potential members. Accept it - those in charge will
> not move it. The GBBF is CAMRA's number one recruiting exercise.
> Current members get small benefit from it, with expensive entry fees
> and beer. This is a deliberate policy of the executive, who do the
> pricing. I've spoken to breweries and the Wetherspoons people. They
> want to reduce their prices, and even give away beer, but CAMRA force
> them to charge inflated rates. Why should Bar Nouveau charge around a
> pound more than they do in their own pubs down the roa


This is all mixed up. It fails to recognise that some beers are cheaper than
others - see previous point about Cannon Royall mild.

> 6. Another pricing question. How is it I (or any member of the
> public) can buy the latest West Coast (USA) Beer Guide new from Amazon
> (including postage) for less than I can as a member at GBBF ? I wrote
> to Whats Brewing about this, and surprise surprise they didnt publish,
> nor respond.......

Bulk purchase discounts. The cheapest way to purchase the GBG is by direct
debit.


> 7. While many of us help out volunteering, organising, setting-up,
> for small beer or a few tokens at festivals, the corporate boys behind
> the scenes watch over the coffers, doing what they can to maximise
> income, travelling around on expenses, and ensure we fall into line
> with headquarters guidelines.

Totally meaningless. Who are these mysterious "corporate boys" you are on
about?

> 8. Peterboro, Reading, Cambridge etc are fantastic alternative
> venues. Why ? They are run by local people, not the executive, and
> offer a much better value product. I dont care if I have to plan hard
> to get there, stand on grass, or avoid the odd puddle or leakage. And
> without doubt all the people are happier, and its infectious !

There are lots of great CAMRA beer festivals but they are not the same as
GBBF!
Plus the national executive only make up a proportion of the GBBF working
party.


> 9. There is without doubt a growing dissatisfaction amongst the grass
> roots hard-core. I know several who now refuse to volunteer at GBBF
> any more. And isnt there a push from above to force local tented
> festivals to start charging members more ? (Cambridge comes to mind
> as an example.....).

This is all very much my mate said stuff but anway...
No to the second bit.
If the first bit is true then you'd need to explain how that square's with
the record volunteer staffing numbers this year.
Finally if these grass routes members are unhappy they can always put
themselves forward for the working party and to make their comments known
via the staff comment form.


mplatting

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 12:43:57 PM8/25/08
to
On Mon, 25 Aug 2008 11:55:16 +0100, "Michael Jones"
<michael.jone...@tesco.net> wrote:

>. How is providing privileged, first
>class access to an event for people on a corporate jolly advancing the aims
>of CAMRA?
>

Well of course it isn't! CAMRA to some extent has become a
self-perpetuating monster, particularly at national level.

It's ironic that an organisation that purports to condemn over-priced
beer is prepared to charge £3 a pint at its flagship event, despite
the fact that you can go round the corner and drink similar real ales
for under £2.50. And, in other parts of the country, similar beers for
well under £2. 'Well' under. Yet another reason to re-locate their
flagship event. (Won't ever happen sadly, too many snouts in too many
troughs for that).

It sends out the wrong message. It suggests that CAMRA is an
organisation at the end of its useful life. It's done a fantastic job
up to now, but the lure of commerce and making money has turned it
into something far different from its original inception, which , I
think, was something to do with campaigning for real ale.

The Submarine Captain

unread,
Aug 25, 2008, 12:51:43 PM8/25/08
to
Michael Jones a écrit :

> How is providing privileged, first
> class access to an event for people on a corporate jolly advancing the aims
> of CAMRA?

By using the opportunity to reach out to that kind of audience with a
"there's more than Carling to beer" message. A good few of the groups
taken care of by "corporate hostility" also book tutored beer tastings.
Having led some of them over the past four years, I can tell you they're
filling a much-needed gap in beer awareness among them suits... it can
get pretty hairy at times, but is IMHO worth the effort.

--
Warning : you may encounter French language beyond this point.

Je viens de secourir un Lyonnais en détresse... avec le cyanure, ça ne
traîne jamais !!

Christine

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Aug 25, 2008, 1:07:52 PM8/25/08
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In article
<bbbe0a1d-0d21-4c5d...@z66g2000hsc.googlegroups.com>,

alebuff <ale...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> I've been reading through this thread with much interest. I am a
> punter, life CAMRA member, freelance journalist, done my time as
> volunteer at many festivals all over the country, and judged at a fair
> number too, including GBBF 2008.

> There are many valid points being made here by many people, but there
> are obvious recurring themes. I'd also like to interject with a few
> observations:

allow me to interject with mine, having worked at 30 GBBFs and been on the
organising committee for 5.

> 1. While each venue has advantages and disadvantages, most people
> preferred Olympia to Earls Court.

Who are these "most people"? We moved from a greenhouse, with its toll on
staff, punters and beer through the excessive heat, to a car park.

> 2. No venue is perfect - its just some are less perfect than
> others !
> 3. GBB Festivals have been run at other venues in the past outside
> the above....Brighton, Leeds etc. From the punters point of view,
> they havent been a "disaster". Headquarters dislike them as they dont
> earn them so much income.

No, the venues are far, far too small for current needs (in fact they don't
exist any more!). That's why they don't earn so much income.

> 4. CAMRA is fast becoming a corporate entity - their number one aim
> is to grow, make more income, and grow more. Yes they drive great
> campaigns - that is what CAMRA is for, but "grow" is top of the
> agenda.

> 5. Leaving London will reduce CAMRA's opportunity to grab thousands
> of tourists as potential members. Accept it - those in charge will
> not move it. The GBBF is CAMRA's number one recruiting exercise.
> Current members get small benefit from it, with expensive entry fees
> and beer. This is a deliberate policy of the executive, who do the
> pricing.

No they don't: that is done by the Finance Committee, who are mostly
volunteers (ie. Camra members like you).

> I've spoken to breweries and the Wetherspoons people. They
> want to reduce their prices, and even give away beer, but CAMRA force
> them to charge inflated rates.

Wrong. We'd love to drop the beer prices, but the brewery sales people are
greedy and won't even give us discounts for bulk buying. (I'd love to name
names but I think I might get shot if I do). However, giving away beer is a
distinct no-no in the current licensing climate.

> Why should Bar Nouveau charge around a
> pound more than they do in their own pubs down the road ?

Dunno. Ask Wetherspoons how they've managed to twist the arms of those
brewers foolish enough to supply them with cheap ale. I know of one brewer
(no longer brewing) whose wife went in hospital, and who himself nearly had
a nervous breakdown because of JDW's attitude towards small brewers.



> 6. Another pricing question. How is it I (or any member of the
> public) can buy the latest West Coast (USA) Beer Guide new from Amazon
> (including postage) for less than I can as a member at GBBF ? I wrote
> to Whats Brewing about this, and surprise surprise they didnt publish,
> nor respond.......

That's true for any book published anywhere in the world. Ask the Book
Depository how they manage to negotiate pricing discounts. I suspect it's
because if you buy from Amazon you're not contributing towards the coffers
of the campaign.

> 7. While many of us help out volunteering, organising, setting-up,
> for small beer or a few tokens at festivals, the corporate boys behind
> the scenes watch over the coffers, doing what they can to maximise
> income, travelling around on expenses, and ensure we fall into line
> with headquarters guidelines.

"Corporate boys"? Do you mean those volunteers who give up lots of spare
time (and only claiming bona fide expenses, if they bother to claim at all
- I didn't for quite a few years) to try and organise the national
festivals? Corporate - if I ever meet you sonny...

> 8. Peterboro, Reading, Cambridge etc are fantastic alternative
> venues. Why ? They are run by local people, not the executive, and
> offer a much better value product.

The National Executive of Camra are involved now with the National
Festivals. That was not always the case: I remember one Great British Beer
Festival where not one National Executive member bothered to even turn up!
You are completely wrong - the national festivals are run by volunteers -
just like you and me.

> I dont care if I have to plan hard
> to get there, stand on grass, or avoid the odd puddle or leakage. And
> without doubt all the people are happier, and its infectious !

You don't listen to those people who don't go then, or who go and have to
leave because there's nowhere for disabled people (or tired people) to sit,
or find it much more conducive to a good time to drink in the pubs in those
towns. I'm one of them.

> 9. There is without doubt a growing dissatisfaction amongst the grass
> roots hard-core. I know several who now refuse to volunteer at GBBF
> any more. And isnt there a push from above to force local tented
> festivals to start charging members more ? (Cambridge comes to mind
> as an example.....).

Is there?

I won't work at my local festivals because I don't find them well run, and
my attempts at offering constructive criticism either fall on deaf ears or
get greeted with abuse.

> 10. For 2012, Matt's suggestion is by far the wisest and least
> disruptive - why not just move the date ?!?!?!

Because we won't get the staff (school holidays)?

> Now dont get me wrong - I am not against CAMRA. I hope to reman an
> active member for a long time but I also intend to make my voice
> heard. Dont accept that those in charge always get everything right -
> they dont ! The campaign to force guest beers into pubs led to
> limitations on the number of pubs owned by breweries, and the
> formation of the pub companies. This is an unnecessary set of
> middlemen that also take a profit out of the "brewer to punter"
> system. Yes the availability of real ale has increased, but it is
> much more expensive than it needs to be.

We know those in charge don't always get everything right. But at least
they're trying and not sniping from the sidelines. Why don't you try and
become more involved at national festivals?

> phew, enough from me this miserable rainy bank holiday in Ilfracombe

> alebuff

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Christine

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Aug 25, 2008, 1:10:52 PM8/25/08
to
In article <Vcwsk.89730$lO6....@newsfe20.ams2>,

Michael Jones <michael.jone...@tesco.net> wrote:
> Quite what a group founded to campaign on behalf of the ordinary
> consumer is doing in the corporate hospitality market is a question
> that hasn't really received the attention that it deserves. How is
> providing privileged, first class access to an event for people on a
> corporate jolly advancing the aims of CAMRA?

So who do you think are in this "corporate hospitality market"?

Having worked in this section for a couple of years, I can tell you it's
nearly always existing Camra members who want to educate the people they
work with in real ale. It's another campaigning tool, and shouldn't be
decried so easily. Why don't you come and work a session at Great British
Beer Festival next year in the corporate hospitality team and see for
yourself?

--
Christine Pampling
www.pandorasboxhealing.com

Alan

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Aug 25, 2008, 2:35:50 PM8/25/08
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In message <BLSdnZWJQqd-Ri_V...@posted.plusnet>, Brett...
<blan...@saltwells.dudley.gov.uk> wrote


>Bulk purchase discounts. The cheapest way to purchase the GBG is by direct
>debit.

I believe you will find that it's cheaper to buy the GBG at Amazon and
if the total purchase at Amazon is over £15 the price includes postage.

>Finally if these grass routes members are unhappy they can always put
>themselves forward for the working party and to make their comments known
>via the staff comment form.

When grass root membership becomes dissatisfied and p***** off with
always being told that the only way to change the organisation is to
become a lot more active than they wish to be they tend to stop being
'active' in any form.
--
Alan
news2006 {at} amac {dot} f2s {dot} com

mplatting

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Aug 25, 2008, 3:09:54 PM8/25/08
to
On Mon, 25 Aug 2008 18:07:52 +0100, Christine
<chris.ra...@dsl.pipex.com> wrote:

>
>No, the venues are far, far too small for current needs (in fact they don't
>exist any more!). That's why they don't earn so much income.

Ah so there we have it! The GBBF is all about making money.

>
>
>Wrong. We'd love to drop the beer prices, but the brewery sales people are
>greedy and won't even give us discounts for bulk buying.

Bet most 9's are considerably less than £70 which is less than £1 a
pint. Other festivals sell at considerably less than the GBBF. One
festival I attended a few months ago sold beer at £1.50 a pint and
still made a decent profit.


>
>> Why should Bar Nouveau charge around a
>> pound more than they do in their own pubs down the road ?
>
>Dunno. Ask Wetherspoons how they've managed to twist the arms of those
>brewers foolish enough to supply them with cheap ale.

'Foolish enough'? Selling beer to an organisation which sells about
10% of all the real ale sold in this country? You'd be foolish not to!
Wetherspoons branches are often votel local CAMRA "Pub of the
Season/Year"
>

>That's true for any book published anywhere in the world. Ask the Book
>Depository how they manage to negotiate pricing discounts. I suspect it's
>because if you buy from Amazon you're not contributing towards the coffers
>of the campaign.

Are you saying that CAMRA make nothing out of selling at wholesale
prices to Amazon et al? Surely if they make anything then you're
'contributing towards the coffers of the campaign.'

>> 8. Peterboro, Reading, Cambridge etc are fantastic alternative
>> venues. Why ? They are run by local people, not the executive, and
>> offer a much better value product.
>
>The National Executive of Camra are involved now with the National
>Festivals. That was not always the case: I remember one Great British Beer
>Festival where not one National Executive member bothered to even turn up!
>You are completely wrong - the national festivals are run by volunteers -
>just like you and me.

..but the local festivals are still better value.


>
>> I dont care if I have to plan hard
>> to get there, stand on grass, or avoid the odd puddle or leakage. And
>> without doubt all the people are happier, and its infectious !
>
>You don't listen to those people who don't go then, or who go and have to
>leave because there's nowhere for disabled people (or tired people) to sit,
>or find it much more conducive to a good time to drink in the pubs in those
>towns. I'm one of them.

So no loyalty to or respect for other CAMRA festivals then! Thought
you might have demonstrated a bit of mutual support.
>

>
>> 10. For 2012, Matt's suggestion is by far the wisest and least
>> disruptive - why not just move the date ?!?!?!
>
>Because we won't get the staff (school holidays)?

There are quite a few school holiday periods to choose from.
>

>We know those in charge don't always get everything right. But at least
>they're trying and not sniping from the sidelines. Why don't you try and
>become more involved at national festivals?

A lot of us get involved in local CAMRA and pub festivals and simply
don't have to time and resources to come to London.


Matt Wheeler

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Aug 25, 2008, 4:08:06 PM8/25/08
to

<M Platting> wrote in message
news:lbv5b41l5d7c57rck...@4ax.com...

>
>>
>>> 10. For 2012, Matt's suggestion is by far the wisest and least
>>> disruptive - why not just move the date ?!?!?!
>>
>>Because we won't get the staff (school holidays)?
>
> There are quite a few school holiday periods to choose from

Not forgetting that the school summer holidays (in England) is 6 weeks
from late July to end August. The 2012 games start at the end of July,
and I'd expect the Paralympics will start a couple of weeks after the
main games finish.
According to the London 2012 site, Earls Court is only needed for the
Olympics and not the paralympics, so there is still a couple of weeks
mid to end of August which could be available for GBBF instead of the
first/second week. Maybe do a date swap with Peterborough and have
that at the start of August and GBBF across (or finishing) on the Bank
Holiday weekend.

Matt


Brett...

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Aug 25, 2008, 5:17:04 PM8/25/08
to

"Alan" <junk_...@amac.f2s.com> wrote in message
news:17H+yNEG...@amac.f2s.com...

> In message <BLSdnZWJQqd-Ri_V...@posted.plusnet>, Brett...
> <blan...@saltwells.dudley.gov.uk> wrote
>
>
>>Bulk purchase discounts. The cheapest way to purchase the GBG is by direct
>>debit.
>
> I believe you will find that it's cheaper to buy the GBG at Amazon and if
> the total purchase at Amazon is over £15 the