Well that was just an amazing weekend.
You came to St Clements in your thousands and boy were you thirsty. We offered you our largest range of beer ever, with the largest ever quantity ordered and you drank it all. We expanded the Belgian Beer bar to become a World Beers bar and you drank it all. We had more cider than ever before and an emergency redelivery and you drank it all.
Over the three days we had over 4000 drinkers attend the festival – not including the pregnant, the kids and so many dogs.You drank more beer and more cider than you’ve ever drank before – almost 11,000 pints of cask ale and 3000 pints of cider. On Saturday the beer was flying out at 9 pints a minute and you drank the cider bar dry by 6.15. The wonderful John from Merrylegs Cider drove back from Somerset direct to the festival to restock us, but another 12 boxes of cider were sank in 90 minutes.
Regrettably we did run out of beer, although the last pint was sold just 10 minutes before closing time. It’s been three years since we last ran out and even at 5pm on Saturday, we thought we’d have enough to last the night. But you queued, and drank and queued and drank – overall drinking 3000 more pints than you did in 2014.
To hold the festival at the end of the hottest week of the year took incredible stamina from our super team of volunteers and we salute them. The temperature for almost all the festival was over 25 degrees in the shade but they kept on working. Your thirst for beer on Saturday was relentless. From 1pm – 8pm you were queueing patiently while our volunteers worked solidly, many foregoing breaks to keep the beer flowing. The volunteers on the gates and beer tokens cleared queues in no time at all and were there to answer all your questions.
We hope our visitors appreciate the amount of effort our volunteers from both St Clements and Trafford & Hulme CAMRA put into the festival. The team from CAMRA started delivering the three tonnes of equipment last Saturday and worked tirelessly to get four bars, 56 handpumps and 111 casks of beer ready for opening on Thursday. The fencing, the marquees, the toilets, hundreds of tables and chairs all brought in specially for the festival. Despite the extreme temperatures, the vast majority of the cask beer was kept in pretty good condition considering thanks to the skills of our ‘cellar’ team (oh how they wish the church has a cellar).
At the end of Saturday night, the team keep working – as I write, St Clements is holding Sunday service, the volunteers having worked late into the night to return the Church building back to a place of worship. Once morning service is over, they’ll be back on site, packing up, cleaning, tidying so by end of Monday, you’d never know we’d been there.
Last but by far from least – we would like to thank you – our customers. It is you who make the festival such an incredible event. Every year we get new visitors who can’t believe how friendly the festival is. From babes in arms to pensioners, the Chorlton community supports us year on year. Our visitors from further afield join the spirit of the festival – despite massive numbers, we don’t get any trouble, we get very few injuries and you treat the beautiful buildings and grounds with respect. And at the end of it all, you raise vital funds which St Clements will put back into maintaining and expanding the facilities they offer – putting heart & soul into the local community.
Thank you all – see you in 2016.