|A 'Merseyside Beer Exhibition' glass|
from 1978, given to me by Tru Smith.
CAMRA's beer festival in Liverpool is one of the earliest in the country, and was originally called the Merseyside Beer Exhibition. It has been in a number of venues, but for many years has taken place in the impressive venue of the Catholic Cathedral crypt. It is always well-run, has a good range of beers, interesting food on sale and live music in one room. Our band has played there too, something of a career high!
So what is the problem? Quite simply, lack of volunteers, as reported in the Liverpool Echo. Having worked at quite a few beer festivals over the years, including Liverpool once, I know that there's usually no problem staffing the bars: everyone wants to work behind the bar, enjoying the craic with the customers and the easy access to the beers. Fewer people want to do the other jobs, including setting up and taking down, stewarding the event, sitting on admissions, etc, but these are essential. A few cheeky volunteers insist they they will do nothing but bar work, but that is to my mind unacceptable.
There's no shortage of competition in Liverpool nowadays, something I referred to in April, but it would be a shame to see this long-standing festival go to the wall.