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24-01-2016, 10:18
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Last week I attended the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival (http://mancbeerfest.uk/) held in the former G-MEX in Manchester City Centre. In general, I’m not a great fan of beer festivals as a customer, as I much prefer drinking in a pub environment, but this one was hard to fault, in particular the generous provision of seating. Martin Taylor gives it a highly positive review here (https://retiredmartin.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/manchester-beer-festival-a-triumph/). I also had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face a number of people who I’d previously only encountered through Twitter and the blogoshire.
However, it reminded me of a perennial problem encountered by the solo drinker at a beer festival (which wasn’t me on this occasion) – what to do with your glass when you go to the toilet. If you’ve found a seat, you can leave it there, but the chances of it disappearing must be far greater than in a pub, especially since the glass deposit is worth three quid. But, if you’re standing up, you have little choice but to take it in with you. There were guys holding a pint glass in one hand while unzipping and aiming with the other, which takes a bit of practice. In happier days, I remember seeing a bloke doing this with a fag in his mouth too! Others managed to balance their half-pint glasses on the top of the urinals. I assume the ladies take them into the WC and put them on the floor.
The whole thing is blatantly unsanitary, and unsatisfactory on many other levels. It’s the sort of issue that people are reluctant to discuss but really needs to be addressed. Maybe a table could be placed at the entrance to the toilets for people to leave their glasses.
Incidentally, while I wouldn’t regard this as a criticism of the organisers, as it’s the responsibility of the venue, the gents’ had small queues on Wednesday evening. I wonder if they were overwhelmed on Friday night – and the ladies’ maybe even worse. This is a common problem at beer festivals, because the demand for toilets is inevitably going to be much greater than at any other events held in the venues. Not an issue at Stockport, though, which is held in a football ground where the toilets are designed to cater for large numbers at the same time.

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