NEARLY 2,000 revellers enjoyed a good swill of beer and a line-up of live music at the South Cotswold Beer and Music Festival in Chipping Sodbury at the weekend.
Yate and District Rotary Club’s biggest annual fundraising event saw 500 people enjoy a choice of over 100 ales, ciders and perries for a Friday night drink at Chipping Sodbury Rugby Club. Headline musicians Retro Electro, a 1980s synthesiser band, had the crowd up and dancing with covers of hits from the era.
Saturday’s main event sold out more than five weeks ago with 1,300 people turning up for the much-loved festival under sunny skies again this year. Music throughout the day included four-piece acoustic band Dry Clean Only, rockabilly covers band Redhouse, party band Metro 13 and ska outfit The Emperials.
Rotarian and organiser David Picton told the Gazette: “We had good weather right to the end of both days and that guaranteed a good party atmosphere.
“Both days finished with two great local bands who both looked and sounded great and all the feedback we have had on social media has been very positive.”
Mr Picton said despite two stag parties and hordes of drinkers at the festival, there was no trouble making it a real family event.
“We didn’t hear one foul word from anybody,” he said. “People were so well behaved.
“The two stags, dressed up as women, had a dance off on the Saturday which was absolutely superb. One group had come from Northamptonshire which is good, I think we represent very good value for money as we have kept our ticket prices the same for the past two years.”
Cider sales were up again this year, a reflection of national trends, and there was less than 10 per cent wastage on all drinks which included ales from local firms Cotswold Spring Brewery, Gloucester Brewery, Great Western Brewery, and Uley Brewery. A barbecue sold burgers and rolls from Hobbs House and more 70 people camped at this year’s festival.
“Takings for tickets and beer were nearly as good as last year,” added Mr Picton. “Our donations to our various charities will be slightly lower because our costs keep going up but in our 19th year we have now raised more than £200,000.”
Yate Rotary club supports local and international charities including a dam project in Kenya, Shelter Box, The Big Issue Foundation and Paul’s Place, Yate Foodbank, the Great Western Air Ambulance and various local schools.
The club only has 30 members and Mr Picton said a pool of 150 volunteers from Chipping Sodbury Scouts, several other local Rotary clubs, Chipping Sodbury Lions, St Nicholas Youth Centre and friends and family made staging the festival possible.
“Without them we couldn’t do it,” he said.
“Next year is our big 20th anniversary. We don’t know what we are going to do to mark it yet but it will be something special.”