Lots of beer – the old festival way
Our Ale-soaked Festival reporter Old Soapwobbler has been granted an exclusive insight into next year’s festival.
Early closing on Saturday this year is apparently a trial for a radical new approach to the Norwich annual beer festival.
CAMRA is celebrating holding a beer festival in the City for forty years now so regular visitors are starting to feel their age a bit.
After lengthy discussions and preparation ‘meetings’ (in the pub) it has been decided that next year Norwich CAMRA will change to Norwich CAMLCOC – Campaign for Lovely Cocoa – and will feature mugs of cocoa and associated craft products to appeal to loyal CAMRA members who have been doing all this beer stuff for a bit too long.
In keeping with recent beer flavour trends some of the cocoa will be made especially sour, with all sorts of old tut thrown in to add flavour, texture and laxative qualities.
The cider stall will be replaced with a load of Horlicks.
Following the trend that CAMRA have set for many years, the toilets will all be closed before customers are really in need of them. The festival organiser, Horace Wad, says that this is because they will have insufficient bearded volunteers to hold customers hands as they take the stairs down to the toilets.
Horace Wad (83) said: “We will have cocoa made from milk from all over Norfolk in the Blackfriars Hall, just like our local ales this year. But the main bar in St Andrews Hall will feature cocoas with milk from all over the place, even some from as far away as Suffolk. We’ll put a proper warnin label up on those of course.”
Ladies will be permitted to visit the CAMLCOC Festival too, but may be asked to provide a certificate of suitability from Clive Lewis.
Under 35s will not be allowed entry unless they can show a current wheelchair pushing licence and accompany relatives old enough to know better.
The musical tradition of the CAMRA Festivals will continue at the CAMLCOC Festival, virtually unchanged. Friday night entertainment will be provided by a black and white vintage analogue TV on centre stage featuring Val Doonican show repeats. A genuine vintage ‘Queen’ poster will allow customers to remind themselves that they are indeed champions. The St Andrews Hall organ will not be unleashed. The strict St Andrews Hall sound limiter technology will remain in place, so CAMLCOC customers are unlikely to hear anything anyway.
Customers at this year’s final beer festival will have noticed the bag check. In another development from current policy bag checks will change from random to mandatory. Any customers who do not have an adequate holdall, bag for life or shopping trolley will be refused entry.
The layout of the halls will rain largely unchanged, with a stall next to the entrance selling tokens and a ‘Hello mug’ to eager customers which they can fill with their own preferred choice of cocoa from the choice that might be available. In line with tradition this will be served by volunteers who may well interrupt an important conversation to actually serve someone.
In another departure from current practice the organisers have recognised that regular customers need to sit down quite a lot, so rows of hard plastic waterproof seats will be provided along with orange shirted security staff to ensure that no unnecessary hanky-panky occurs in this new comfortable setting.
Organiser Horace Wad says: “We hope our customers will like these changes, but above all this festival will be all about the volunteers, not the customers, so we reckon they will still come flockin in.”
The marquee used for the ‘foreign’ beers from Europe will be retained for one year only selling hot Belgian chocolate, but in deference to the overwhelming support in Norwich for Brexit will be wiped out without any trace at all for the 2019 and replaced with a bingo game.
The customary trade session at the start of the festival will next year be exclusively for the staff and owners of Norwich cafés, which now outnumber pubs by about seven to one.
Profits if there are any will go to the Arthur Summer Home for the Terminally Bewildered.
A national CAMRA spokeswoman, who preferred not to be named said: “This seems to be yet another example of what Norfolk CAMRA call ‘do different’. We disown them completely”.
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “Yes.”
© Old Soapwobbler 2017