The Hersham Beer Festival – A Review
The Hersham Beer Festival – My Review
Attending the ‘perfect pint sized summer festival’ for the first time, Toni Waters (@misstoni_w) reviews this well established event that supports the 1st Hersham Scout Group, and local beer, ale, lager and cider producers.
The Hersham Beer festival is an established event on the local calendar, but I have to admit that this was my first time attending! As a Walton local, I had intended to go to the Walton Beer and Jazz festival, but unfortunately it was sold out, so up stepped Hersham to save the day and fulfil my beer and festival cravings, and I can say that I really wasn’t disappointed!
We chose to go on the Saturday (due to ‘work commitments’ ), and got to the site early enough to take advantage of the ‘happy hour’, so our beer tokens went further than expected. The selection of craft beers, ales, lager and ciders was truly impressive, and their names just made the whole experience even better! Choices included ‘Posh Pooch’, ‘Gobble’, ‘5am Saint’ and ‘Janet’s Jungle Juice’. I can proudly say that me and my friends sampled as many of them as possible – all enjoyed responsibly of course!
Although the focus of the festival was the huge array of beers and ciders on tap, there was also entertainment in the form of comedy and music. When we arrived, we were greeted by some acoustic music, with a singer cracking out some brilliant covers of classic tracks. With the sun shining (in between the torrential downpours), the sound of his amazing voice accompanied by the simple strumming of a guitar set the scene perfectly.
The festival had also joined forces with ‘The Comedy Works’ to provide some light entertainment at the beginning of day 2 of the festival……and they didn’t fail to impress! The ‘warm-up guy’ (his name evades me I’m afraid) was absolutely on point! No mention of Brexit at all which was brilliant! And the fact that he gave out beer tokens to those brave enough to sit in the front rows, made it event better.
The main comedy act of the day was none other than ‘Lee Nelson’.
You know, the guy who showered FIFA’s Sep Blatter in money, or tried to get on the plane with the England team to go to the World Cup in 2014, or most recently interrupted Donald Trumps speech in Scotland? Well all I can say is that he was absolutely brilliant. He totally hooked the audience in, and got the rest of the day/evening off to a great start, just a shame that he disappeared off so quickly after his set….I was hoping for a selfie!
Following on from the comedy, the ‘Midnight Tokers’ were next in line to entertain the masses, and they totally rocked it. The performance could not be faulted in any way. Having never seen them perform all I can say is………these guys are brilliant! At this point, it seemed that everyone had made full use of the happy hour and had sampled many of the beers available, so there was a really great atmosphere. People were up dancing, and I know for a fact that I joined in with the singing!
Towards the early evening it was the turn of the DJ heavyweights Ministry of Sound to really get the party started, picking up capably from where the Midnight Tokers had left off. From the reaction of the crowd, the transition from bands to house music went down brilliantly!
Even though the site is pretty compact, the organisers managed to cram an awful lot in. I didn’t realise until half way through the day that the festival had its own cocktail lounge! Beautifully decked out with fairy lights, glitter balls and disco lights it gave a brief respite from the masses outside, and to top it off, DJ Kieran Byrne for a more chilled out sound. The two bars serving the ales, lagers and ciders were perfectly positioned to make full use of the space, and had been strategically placed at either end of the venue to ensure that there was no crowding. Seating was limited, but once you got into the spirit of the event, you were too busy chatting to everyone and dancing that it wasn’t needed!
It is at this point that I will say though, the volunteers who run the festival are consummate professionals. The seats from the comedy performance were cleared away quickly, and they were always happy and cheerful, even when they looked as though they could do with a few beers themselves!
Rounding off the night was ‘The Supergroup’. This collection of truly awesome musicians was the perfect way to round off Saturday night. The Hersham Scout Hut had been turned into THE music venue of the area for this performance, and the fact that there was a bar in there as well just made this a perfect venue. The atmosphere at the main stage was amazing and the reimagining of classic tracks was a credit to the group. The audience responded in the only way they knew how…..by dancing and singing their socks off. To round the night off, Disco du Fromage played all those tracks that you forgot that you knew the words to (and wished that you didn’t!!)
All in all, a great night.
Now this is only a one day review I’m afraid, as I wasn’t able to get tickets for the Friday, but I have on great authority from a friend (who has attended the festival for the last 6 years) that the Friday night (with Hed Kandi on the decks, and The Brokeback Mountaineers and High Barnets on the garden stage and main stage respectively) was just as good, with
“….a vibe that you do not get at any other Hersham event. The High Barnets never fail to disappoint”.
Judging from the Facebook and Twitter pictures, I can see that they had just as much fun on the Friday as we did on the Saturday
Well that’s it. My review of Hersham Beer Festival 2016 – ‘The perfect pint sized summer festival’.
I hope you have found this a worthwhile review, and it has hopefully helped you decide to support the local events that go on in and around Walton and Hersham. Please remember to support these local events; it’s what creates our community.
I will leave my friend Lisa Warwick with the final words:.
“All in all, a great event with a wonderful atmosphere”
Some words from the Performers:
The High Barnets have been lucky enough to have headlined the Hersham Beer Festival since the the very first one, 9 years ago.
Since then we have seen it grow and grow in popularity. It’s one of our highlight gigs of the year and as most of the band are from Hersham, it feels a bit special.
There’s always an exciting, electric atmosphere hanging in the air that you can actually feel before going on stage.
You feel the anticipation of the night build and as soon as you hit that first chord, the roof blows of the place.
Great crowd. Great beer. Great music. Great weekend.
Ricky Simmonds (Ministry of Sound and Capital FM DJ): “One of the funnest gigs I’ve ever done”.
Darby Todd (Supergroup): “We had a great time playing for you guys! Hopefully see you again next year!”
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