View Full Version : Student Brewer - The Plan Sep 24-26

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20-06-2010, 11:50
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Last year we put on a beer festival over the last weekend of September, not a major event, just 20 ales.
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The festival took enough to break even and then a little more, but the level of interest was remarkable. It turned out that the Commonwealth of Hay were executing Richard Booth, the King of Hay, on the Sunday of the festival, which brought in a lot of extra people.

This year I've spent a lot more time thinking about it. And I think we're on to a winner.

Hay is known as the town of books. The Hay Festival, sponsored by the Guardian, brings in approx 100 000 people over 10 days. Hay has a population of roughly 1800. It attracts big names - Clinton, Clarkson, Clegg, as well as people with names that start with other letters. You can find out more about it at www.hayfestival.com (http://www.hayfestival.com/)

This year, more than just a couple of people, guests and locals alike, have mentioned that it doesn't seem to have much emphasis on literature any more - which is how it started. A prime example is what they call it - it used to be the Hay Literature Festival, now it's just Hay Festival.

I was chatting with a couple of people down at the Cardiff beer festival (don't get me started - grrr) and the idea of 'beer and books' came up. When I came back, the organisers of the 'execution' that took place last year told me they were doing it every year now, with the honour guard, and they would like to link it to the beer festival. The idea of the execution last year, and repeating it every year la Guy Fawkes, is to promote the town of books, in the same way Richard did nearly 30 years ago when he pronounced himself King of Hay, his horse the Mayor, and issued Hay Passports to the people of Hay. Daft - but it worked!

So we have a beer festival. We have an annual promotion of the town of books, which would like to be linked with the festival. And in the last week I've confirmed 3 published authors that would like to be involved with what one of the called 'The Real Hay Festival'. Personally I don't like that - I'd rather keep it separate to the main event in May. I'm not competing with them, the idea is to promote new and upcoming authors, alongside a great selection of beer and cider, with local live bands looking to get some audience time.

I've spoken with the Association of Welsh Family Brewers, and they are happy to help, so expect tutored tastings and a damn near 100% Welsh beer festival, ranging I hope to between 40 and 50. I can't say it will all be Welsh - Wye Valley produce some damn fine beers and as their on the doorstep, and very supportive of the pub and it's push on real ale, we'll be showcasing hopefully some rarer cask ales from them.

So the initial programme would appear to be:

Friday - festival opened, authors interviewed/book signing/reading a chapter. Live music in the evening.
Saturday - more authors, winners of the poetry competition announced and poems read out, Open Mic Night, tutored tastings and meet the brewers
Sunday - If they've recovered, more meet the brewers, the execution of the King of Hay, Hog Roast, Jazz on the lawn, meet the authors
Monday - drink the bar dry.

If anyone has anything to suggest - I'm open to anything. Last weekend of September - perhaps a conkers competition. Any authors, preferably up and coming but I won't complain if *insert famous author here* wants to turn up and sign books. Any beer writers, brewers, anyone connected in some way with beer and books, point them in this direction.


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