This is the second beer festival I’ve attended at Gateshead Rugby club having previously been to their Ale festival in May and loving it.
This year they’ve switched things up a bit and marketing it less of an ale festival and more of a summer festival. And considering the temperature was in the late twenties when we visited on the Saturday afternoon this was the right call.
This time round, and because the weather was so nice, they made great use of the outside space with plenty of tables and chairs, as well as people on pic nic blankets. Although there wasn’t the range of ales on offer as there was back in May, there was still plenty on offer and the lager and different flavoured fruit ciders were perfect for the occasion.
Admission was £10 which gives you entry to the festival, no commemorative glass this time – but it’s not an ale festival remember 😉. To be honest the whole vibe of the day is worth the entry fee and it helps to keep the crowd down more than anything. There was just the right amount of people there; busy enough to have a great laid back atmosphere and not too many that you had to queue too long for token or at the bars.
They operated a token system similar to last year, which always works well and the fact that you can pay by card is always a massive relief. £10 got you 5 tokens and one token got you a half. Tasters were available though which I found useful when deciding which flavour cider I was going to try next. Turns out the peach is my favourite, which when you consider how many bellinis I drink, makes a lot of sense.
There was also a retro bar offering all the 90s drinks you can think of from your teenage and early adult years and the food options were spot on; hot dogs, burgers, wraps an kebabs. Exactly what you want on a hot summers day. The club bar stays open in the clubhouse too so there’s almost no end to options of things to drink.
Music wise they pretty much nailed the line up with something for everyone with mainly covers bands. You could sit in the marquee and fully immerse yourself with the bands or stay outside on the lawn and listen from afar. Giroscope and Hip Hop Hooray were particular stand outs for us
I’ve not always been a fan of festivals, it’s often an excuse to have a captive audience and hike the prices way up but I think the guys at the Gateshead Beer & Music festival have struck the right balance. Can’t wait to do it all again next year!