Two community-based organisations in Keswick are counting the cost of the cancellation of the town’s annual beer festival, which was due to take place this weekend.
Proceeds from the event are usually split between hosts Keswick Rugby Club and Keswick Lions, joint organisers of the festival which attracts thousands of revellers and sells out every year.
Some ticket holders have cast aside their disappointment and will be holding virtual Keswick Beer Festivals from their gardens around the UK this weekend, raising a glass to absent friends they would have met at the “Party On The Pitch.”
But festival chairman Nigel Hale said while many regulars are positive about next year’s event, the loss of funding for the local rugby club and Lions could be far reaching. Over the last few years, the festival has raised £50,000- £60,000, which is split equally between the groups.
Nigel said: “Although the majority of sponsors and ticket holders have rolled over their entries to next year, our two organisations will lose around 90 per cent of the funding for this year, which will curtail activities.”
The Keswick Beer Festival We Love You website, which has 1,600 members, has scores of posts lamenting the fact that this year’s event has been cancelled because of Covid-19. All remain positive, with posters pledging to be back in 2021.
Nigel added: “We are encouraging regulars to post videos and photographs from previous years and one of our regular bands – The Moobs – have put on a post and will be putting up a video of a previous performance at the festival.”
Ged Mole, from the band, sent a message to say: “We wish we were driving over to be with you but… what we can do is post some songs from a video of a full performance, taken by Kevin Duffy a few years back. Just watching it tonight brought back so many smiles and memories. We’ll meet again, we know where, we know when (hopefully!). Big love and hugs to all our KBF friends from all – The Moobs.”
He added a post on the festival Facebook page saying: “Please watch out for a KBF Watch Party hosted by The mOObs at 9pm tonight (Friday)…..I may have to load the videos to the main page first but I’ll queue them in the order they were played that night (2016) and we can laugh and comment. A few moments made me giggle and …to be honest….you guys are the stars of the show.”
Suzanne Whyte is in a group of girls who regularly come to Keswick Beer Festival, always in fancy dress. Suzanne said on the website: “We girls are gutted not to be meeting up with our Keswick Beer Festival family this year. Will settle with Zoom ‘beer festival night’ with dress up. Keep safe and we’ll see you all next year… which will be bigger and better.”
Next year’s festival will be Friday 4th June and Saturday 5th June.