Make mine a quadruple

Old station, Pocklington
Old station, Pocklington

A PINT-SIZED festival is ringing the bell on its current venue - and is predicted to more than quadruple in size.

The Pocktoberfest is now in its eight year, but organisers will give the ale-based October event a huge face lift by moving from its original home at the Arts Centre to the old railway station building on Station Road.

Plans are also in place to transform it from a humble tipple-tasting event into a beer and music weekend festival, including a line-up of top music stars headed by legend Billy Bragg.

Organisers, The Pocklington and Market Weighton Round Table, admit that demand had finally outstripped supply with the Arts Centre’s 250-capacity no longer big enough to cope with drinkers being packed into the venue in recent years.

Committee member Chris Waite said talks with Pocklington School, who use the railway station as their sports hall, had been successful and the Arts Centre was backing the switch by negotiating the music line-up.

It is hoped upwards of 1,600 people will flock to the town for the revamped event, giving the local economy a much-welcomed boost, as well as raising money for charity with all proceeds from the weekend going towards local causes.

Mr Waite said: “The issues of safety and growth were unavoidable and we simply needed somewhere bigger. We’re thrilled that thanks to Pocklington School, this year’s Pocktoberfest will be able accommodate several hundred more visitors.

“To secure the likes of Billy Bragg and Thea Gilmore is huge coup for us and we’re very excited at the prospect of seeing all this year’s artists perform.

“It will help us raise a lot of money for some fantastic local causes.”

Janet Farmer, manager of Pocklington Arts Centre and the music programme for the festival, said: “Pocktoberfest is a fantastic event that will bring large numbers of people into the town. With the support of local organisations and the business community, this year’s Pocktoberfest looks like being a landmark event in Pocklington’s calendar.

“Pocktoberfest has always had close links to Pocklington Arts Centre and these are further strengthened with the venue programming the music element of this year’s event. We are delighted with the line-up - there is an exciting range of high-profile musicians performing over both days, which we believe will have a broad appeal.”

Launched in 2004, Pocktoberfest is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival held each Autumn in Munich.

The Round Table were able to attract independent breweries from around Britain to supply barrels of beer for the weekend, as well as the German lager traditionally sold at Oktoberfest.

Proving popular from the off, its reputation has grown and attracted ale enthusiasts from as far as London.

This year’s event is planned for the weekend of 29-30 October.

The Saturday will be geared more towards the beer aspect of the festival.

It will be £10 entry and includes the inscribed glass, the programme and a number of free drinks tokens. Local musicians will also be taking to the stage.

Sunday’s programme will include the full music festival line-up with Billy Bragg, folk musician Thea Gilmore, American ‘rock grass’ band Hayseed Dixie, alternative country band Ahab, folk rockers 3 Daft Monkeys, acoustic singer songwriter Sean Taylor and alternative folk/rock quintet Ellen and the Escapades.

Tickets for the Sunday are priced at £39.50 and will soon be available from the Arts Centre. For details ring (01759) 30154.

Sponsors are still being sought for the event and anyone interested in getting involved should email steve.parker@pocktoberfest.co.uk or visit www.pocktoberfest.co.uk