This was the first one in Greenwich - and it was somehow related to Catford's demise because of greedy landlords at their old venue. It was in the grounds of the Naval College.
Was it any good?
Well. I went on a Sunday. There was practically no beer. It was expensive and the charging seemed to take no account of the usual depletion of stocks that always happens at the last day of beer festivals.
It had one of those signs that really really really annoy me. It went something like this "Due to the immense popularity of this event the selection of beers is greatly reduced" and then something like "so don't complain - just count yourself lucky we let you in". Total rubbish - "the reason it's so bad is because it is so good". " We haven't let you down you have let yourself down by bothering to come here". "Don't blame us for your stupidity". Tossers.
You couldn't see the river despite being located right up close to it. Nuts.
The Jazz? Well I can take it or leave it. That's if the million and one jobsworth security guards would let me take or leave anything without first getting their permission.
Al fresco joy - they did get that right (on the Sunday at least). But open air is not my preferred way of doing beer.
A complete lack of pillocks in jangly hats and people wearing anti-EU T-shirts. Hardly any beards longer than mine. I consider these to be bad signs.
I know a big concern might be keeping out some of the baseball-hat wearing brigade but the net effect was far too twee and smart-arsed. Looking at this extended Dejeuner Sur L'herbe I felt a quick machine-gunning wouldn't have gone amiss. And didn't Catford always manage to deal with the anti-socials without using looney high prices and batallions of block head security guards? And without turning it into Brideshead Revisited?
The beer seemed more expensive but there have been tax changes so I'll let the government get the blame for that one. But you can't pin the over-priced hot-dogs on Mr Brown or the soft drinks.
The location and weather were lovely (despite the stage blocking out the river) and some of the people serving were amusing - some because they were drunk or incompetent but others because they were pleasant people. The company I was with was very nice too but they certainly weren't provided by TGBJF.
Up to now I had considered a visit to a Twickenham Festival years back to have been the worst I had attended. It was the last hour or so and there was a not very interesting bit of mild on offer and that was that. I still enjoyed my pint. It cost about 50p and there wasn't any charge for coming in to the event itself. And the people were a laugh and it wasn't a police state and I always remember it warmly when I recall it with friends who were there.
Did the Jangly hat people know it was one to avoid? Did they sense it in their bones?
It does seem hard to think I won't go to this in future - after all we were so excited there was going to be one so near. Maybe things will evolve -maybe it will get better or maybe it will change its name to a "Hoegaarden and Sol Festival" and we can all forget about it.
Verdict - completely misconceived , exploitative rubbish peopled with the worst kind of Greenwich poseurs, a dreary soundtrack but a nice location.
Catford whereforth art thou?
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