Saturday, 10 May 2014

Smugglers Den Pie and Ale Festival

Last weekend was the weekend of the Smugglers Den pie and ale festival, an event that we regularly attend. It always boasts a brilliant line up of live music, a fantastic selection of beers and ciders and a brilliant selection of pies and pasties, what more could anyone want.

We arrived on the Saturday and the place was packed, we thought this was a great sign for what should have been a good night but this wasn't just a busy beer festival this was like being in a room playing sardines. We joined the bar queue to get our first drink and was quite disappointed that most of the ciders had already run out. I know it's predominantly an ale festival but personally I'm there for the cider and was saddened that the ones I wanted to try were already gone. After some lengthy queuing to get a drink, then some more queuing to get a pasty and a little more queuing to use the loo we had been at the festival for nearly an hour and so far all we achieved was some very British queuing. After fighting through the crowds of people we started to watch the headline band. Unfortunately the sound quality wasn't great, and it was impossible to hear the vocals clearly so we decided to venture outside into the garden to chat amongst friends. The garden was rigged with fairy lights and spotlights but sadly these were not switched on so it was particularly dark. Even the bar staff were struggling outside picking up beer glasses and bottles by torch light.

Now I love this festival and have been many years and even camped over for the whole weekend in the camp site opposite but something just wasn't right on the Saturday night this year, whether they were just busier this year than previous and the beer and cider was running out quicker than planned or the staff were simply too busy to notice the garden lights weren't on? but things weren't quite as enjoyable as previous years. As the night started drawing to a close and the crowds bustled for space to dance to the band things were starting to turn sour. As the ale took affect people were falling onto tables and the final straw was a fight breaking out between girls. As locals dived in to pull the girls apart punches were flying, awful language was flowing and girls involved were knocked to the ground this was definitely our queue to leave.

This is starting to turn out into an awful review of the smugglers den ale and pie festival and like I said earlier this is one of my favourite beer festivals and decided to put Saturday night behind us as just a mixture of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately witnessing the worst of the night but this wasn't going to stop me and so as Sunday night arrived I headed back for another night at the beer festival.
Once arrived the festival wasn't as busy, now I'm not saying it was quiet, far from it, it was nice and busy but you could move, you could get to the bar and you could get a drink.. if they had it left!
Smugglers Den Pie and Ale Festival
Sadly by the Sunday night all the guest ciders were now gone, the staff had done a great job at getting a few extra ciders in to replace them and the bar inside was well stocked with cider so this wasn't going to put a damper on things. Also it is worth commending the staff on the slightly different layout of the festival tent. The previous night people couldn't move and were cramped in by the tables and chairs. Sunday was like a totally different festival most of the tables and chairs were removed and people had the space to dance and get to the bar with ease and the night was already starting to feel much better. Going out into the garden it was noticed that the fairy lights around the garden and spotlights were switched on. With a pie in a box and a pint in my hand we enjoyed some live music before the headline act of Black Friday came on and turned the music up a notch. I had a thoroughly enjoyable night and would recommend this beer festival to everyone. I don't know what happened on the Saturday night, maybe a full moon or something odd!
Pie in a box, Smugglers den pie and ale festival

I'm now well and truly looking forward to the next weekend beer festival which will be at the Plume of Feathers in Mitchell on the weekend of the 16th and 17th of May, although still feeling a little cold the summer festivities and beer festivals are definitely here and I'm loving it.