Bedford Beer and Cider Festival 2021

Will we? Can we? Should we? The last twelve months have seen us all asking more questions. Assumptions have been blown out of the window. Things we would do without really thinking have become problematic or impossible. The restrictions we live under have changed back and forth, sometimes quite rapidly. Planning ahead has become conditional. “We will do such and such assuming we can.” We have to make best guesses about how circumstances will change over the coming weeks and months.

This time last year we had heard about this new infection that started in China but life here in England proceeded as normal. Part of that life was looking forward to the 43rd Bedford Beer and Cider Festival with our first committee meeting. Responsibility for various roles were assigned and a policy document was agreed. From there, as we know, things went downhill as the pandemic spread and we realised how serious it was. Inevitably in the end it became obvious that it would be impractical to hold the Festival, and whether people would come if we did, so we had to pull the plug and officially cancel it.

Twelve months later and it is time to start planning again. We may be in lockdown at the moment and this whole thing has gone on longer than we thought it would but the picture is getting brighter. The number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths are still very high but they are falling. The only graph showing an upward trend is the number of vaccinations. On that basis I would expect to see a much rosier situation come October.

The Great British and Cambridge (among others) Beer Festivals have both been cancelled for a second year. However they are both much bigger and earlier in the year than ours is. On both counts they had already reached the point when they needed to make significant financial commitments to hire the premises. The organisers decided the risk was too high (and uninsurable) so they cancelled.

We have several months before we would reach that point so now is the time to hold our first organising meeting. It will be on Monday 22nd February at 8pm and held on Zoom as we cannot yet meet in person. We will be appealing for volunteers for various jobs nearer the time but now we need people to take leadership positions.

An email has gone to those who assumed those positions last year, but we also need people who want to find out more of what is involved. Getting to know what is involved will strengthen our team by providing more support for our experienced managers. If you are interested email me at beerfestival@northbeds.camra.org.uk

Roger Stokes

Beer Festival Organiser

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