This year saw our 7th Sunderland Octoberfest take place over the period 8th to 10th October.
While we still have to hold the usual post-festival meeting for the organising committee & have the final numbers to crunch we’ve gleaned enough so far to state we’re happy to declare the festival another success.
In general the number of visitors remained similar to the two preceding years with slightly less than last year attending on the Thursday & Saturday but a significant increase on the Friday. Those attending mainly stayed longer & drank more than the national CAMRA average for an attendee at the venue.
Feedback reaffirms that of previous years, that the festival while smaller than some of those by our neighbors has a very chilled & laid back atmosphere. In general those attending enjoyed the plentiful & comfortable seating both in the hall & outside in the garden area.
Once again a large number of those attending were not CAMRA members, several students took advantage of our free entry for students & we hope had a positive experience of cask ale/CAMRA run festivals etc. Once again the branch was able to recruit new members.
Beer wise we had the same volumes as last year with 30 Ales which had particularly sold out by the final hour, plus an extra reserve cask added on Saturday. The first beer to fall was the Roosters Baby-Faced Assassin which went on the Friday at about 20:00; Stewarts Pentland IPA was the next.
The festival saw the first time we had beer in traditional wooden casks for 5 of the ales. (Supplied by 3 local breweries.) This appeared to go down well with the attendees.
After last year, when we ran out too early, we increased the amount of Cider/Perry this year by almost 30%. We sold more Cider/Perry than last year’s total with all the Cider going. Lilley’s Crazy Goat being the first to fall. Some Perry was left but for
tunately this has been sold on to a local venue.
Previous years the feedback has criticised the food, which is offered by the venue not ourselves. This year we encouraged the venue to try a menu of gourmet Burgers & Sausages from a quality local supplier. These where a big improvement on previous years & seemed to go down very well with the attendees. Contributing, we think, to the longer stays & drinking of more beer & cider.
Not everything went as well as hoped however with recent changes & job losses at the venue leading to some access problems, especially during the setup phase prior to the festival starting. This meant several of the volunteers needed to change times of availability often at very short notice, so we’re grateful to all the volunteers for their commitment & to their families for being so understanding. There was also some flood damage at the venue which resulted in part of the floor gaining comic properties! All in all nothing that had a major effect on either the festival or those attending.
Beer of the festival 2015 by popular demand was the Roosters Baby-Faced Assassin & I’m sure a delegation from the festival volunteers will ensure they receive a suitable certificate. (A dirty job but someone has to do it!) Runner up was Camerons Thirst Blood & we’ll also see they receive a certific
Finally thanks to all who came down to Octoberfest 2015 & making it a success. Thanks to Linda & all her staff at the Bonded Warehouse, also to Maxim Brewery & Camerons Brewery who sponsored the event.
We’re taking a short rest then back to planning next year’s event!
Anyone wanting an alternative view of the festival should check out Ken Pauls Beer Blog. Ken has four articles on his blog giving his personal viewpoint of setup, the festival itself & take down. Well worth checking out.