Nik Butler: Beer Festival inspires loyalty and enthusiasm

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For over a Decade Horsham has hosted a festival that has for the most part been privately funded and consistently well attended.

Like the Broadwood Morris Day of Dance the event occurs as a reflection of our heritage and it thrives through the enthusiasm of those who support it.

The September festival generates a level of background buzz which leads to a rush of ticket sales which begin far ahead of the event.

Tickets go on sale on June 7th at the Beer Essentials on Ea(s)t Street and if last year is anything to go by then people will have already formed small consortiums with which to bulk purchase tickets.

Further it is likely that many will arrive to queue at an exceptionally early time with a view to getting the much sought after “Saturday evening” slot.

I cannot think of another annual event in Horsham which generates such loyalty or enthusiasm. In having attended the event from its first appearance at the Drill Hall I know what to expect and the level of commitment and passion which the organiser Gareth Jones pours into those days.

I can look forward to seeing again the familiar faces who will swap tales of preferred ale experiences and compare annual notes on beverages.

In many ways the experience reminds me of the Horsham park festivals of the eighties. There is a consistency to the experience which was not based on consumerism but on community.

It is a moment for members of the public to contribute towards something local.

As the Beer Festival occurs so will the Food & Drink event which appears to have wrapped itself around the experience and whilst many of my bacchanalian mores may be met in that market of consumption it feels a poor cousin to the few hours of ale in the company of those Beer Festival attendees.

Horsham may not lack for events yet it seems to lack variety in them. Having set a great deal of import in supporting the independent and the boutique what we should be doing is demanding better support and improved aid in enabling independent groups to create events for the people and with the people.

When Saturday comes around be assured I will be there as early as possible with money in hand and the hope that I may be early enough to gain entry to the time of my choosing.