Countdown to beer fest

EXCITED organisers of the new-look Pocktoberfest predict the weekend’s merriment is going to be simply “fantastic”.

Final preparations are underway for the upcoming beer-tasting bonanza which opens its doors for business this Saturday afternoon.

Organised between the Round Table and the Arts Centre, Pocktoberfest is to be held at the town’s old railway station, having outgrown its home at the Arts Centre.

But the venue is not the only change, with a music festival being lined up for the Sunday, headlined by 80s rocker Billy Bragg.

Round Table’s Chris Waite said: “We have had a busy week. Everyone is working flat out at the moment as, having reached our sponsorship target of £10,000, ordered the beers and booked the artists all that’s left now is the hard work of setting up in time for our official ‘opening’ on Saturday.

“There is a palpable sense of rising excitement amongst our small but happy band of volunteers as we know this event is going to be fantastic. One of the great side effects of this event is that we already know we are attracting a lot of new people to Pocklington and I hope local businesses will see the benefit of this.

“I must, of course, say a big thank you again to Pocklington School and the Arts Centre for their huge support without which this event wouldn’t be possible.”

Arts Centre manager, Janet Farmer added: “A great deal of time and effort has gone into the planning of this year’s Pocktoberfest.

“We really hope all those who attend have a fantastic experience and enjoy this larger scale festival. A big thank you must go to Pocklington School, especially the head, Mark Ronan, and Andrew D’Arcy for their continued support and assistance in staging this event.”

The upcoming festival will be the eighth to have been held. In all previous years the Arts Centre has played host but, as the event’s reputation and popularity grew, it was unable to cope with the number of real ale enthusiasts descending on the town.

The capacity of the old railway station, which is usually used by Pocklington School, could see four times the number of revellers catered for than the Arts Centre.

And while the Sunday is focusing more on the music, Saturday is still dedicated to those who want to sample the beers on offer. Over 20 brews are confirmed, along with real Oktoberfest lagers from Germany.

Yet many are anticipating the arrival of local flavours, including the three Brass Castle Hill beers, made at Pocklington town centre’s new “nano” brewery. There is also a tipple brewed in Brough which is being specially named, Pocktoberfest, while cider is being provided by Moorlands Farm at Newbald.

Other interesting brews from around Britain include Broomstick, Magic Lantern and Jock’s Trap.

The doors will open this Saturday, 29 October at 1pm, with entry costing £10 which includes four free beer vouchers, a glass and beer programme. Tickets for Sunday’s music festival, which starts at 2pm and includes Billy Bragg, Seth Lakeman, Thea Gilmore and Hayseed Dixie amongst the bill, are £39.50 (students and under 18 tickets are £20).

Tickets can be bought for either day by logging onto www.pocktoberfest.co.uk/ or www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk or by phoning 01759 301547.