Hucknall Beer Festival Update – Event postponed until July

2022 Hucknall Beer Festival Update – event postponement until July

With great sadness we advise that the 2022 Hucknall Beer Festival will not take place in February as it normally does. The event was planned for the weekend of the 10th-13th February 2022 however, having continued to monitor news and updates relating to COVID-19, the planning group feel there are too many uncertainties and risks at the current time to go ahead in the new year. Instead the event will be postponed until the summer.

Hucknall Beer Festival is a fundraising activity for The John Godber Centre, which is a registered charity (charity number 1132272) and the venue is many things to many people, a place of celebration, a place of community, a place of business and as a charity and business there is a responsibility and moral obligation to protect finances and remain in a financially stable position to protect employment and our charitable aims long term. The John Godber Centre has been here to support our community as a place to meet and socialise for 114 years and we intend for it to remain here, long beyond our years, for future generations to enjoy their life events and activities. As the current guardians for the building we feel, along with the festival planning group members, this approach is the most responsible and sustainable way, to ensure that the long term aims of the Centre can be protected.

The costs associated with the beer festival are funded by the trading arm of the John Godber Centre, St Mary’s Trading Company. Both the Trading Company and the John Godber Centre, like so many businesses in the hospitality and events industry have had a turbulent couple of years with multiple closures and restrictions and even now both continue to feel the ongoing impact of COVID. This is having a detrimental impact on the charity’s resources and though both remain financially stable there is an unacceptable level of risk in committing the thousands of pounds, as a charity, upfront that is necessary to host our annual Beer Festival. We have been fortunate to have had a number of events return to the venue since the summer however they have been limited and with reduced numbers and income levels and without the level of reserves there would have been if we had been operating at full capacity over the past year it is a huge risk to commit finances to the event so soon in 2022.

To go ahead in February would require decisions and financial commitments to be made now, to the ordering of glassware, to brewers, particularly for those creating ales to enter into the annual CBoN competition and cider makers to reserve a good choice of local ciders.

The event relies heavily on support from volunteers and the manpower necessary to operate the event, both the Centre team, Trading Company staff and Nottingham CAMRA and community volunteers that to lose someone so close to the event could have a huge impact on the events delivery, and to lose multiple members could result in the event not being able to run at all.

The event also operates on the kindness and generosity of sponsors and as the time is taken to rebuild their businesses post COVID we can’t be sure of the same level of financial support this winter. We do know there will always be the kindness and support to us from those who have championed the festival and Centre in the past.

An added complication is that real ale is not like other drinks offerings, once tapped and vented it cannot be moved and sold elsewhere. If the worse should happen and the event needed to be cancelled there would be a lot of cash to pour down the drain in disposing of the cask ale. Having done this for the Centre bars once already, and seen our colleagues in the hospitality and brewing industry forced to do this multiple times due to COVID as a charity this would be even harder to bear and unethical to take that risk with charity finances.

We feel confident that we could have planned the event in such a way to be made COVID secure and had begun working on these plans to ensure that we could reduce the risk of transmission for those who work, volunteer and use the venue. Our current concern is the financial risk of the event being forced to cancel last minute or government restrictions being put in place that mean the event could not operate close to its usual excellent high standards.

Though we’re sad to share this news and explain that our annual event in February won’t be going ahead next year there is some hope and positive news in that we are not saying we are cancelling the 2022 festival, we are instead postponing it and will be holding the event in the summer for the first time.
The 2022 Hucknall Beer Festival will instead take place Thursday 28th- Sunday 31st July 2022.

This provides us with more time to plan the event, allowing for a brighter outlook as we move away from winter. Though it will be a different kind of event it also allows us the opportunity to try new things that a winter festival doesn’t, including potentially, outdoor seating, more catering opportunities, and additional entertainment. The ales and ciders on offer will be different to those at the winter festival with brewers and cider makers having a number of their summer specials also available. For the charity there is also the opportunity to increase our cash flow levels with spring and early summer events to financially underpin the festival.

The festival will return to its usual dates in February 2023 and we can confirm the 2023 Hucknall Beer Festival will take place 9th-12th February 2023 with the return of Nottingham CAMRA’s CBoN competition.

We’re proud of all the efforts made by hirers, staff and volunteers throughout the pandemic to reduce the risk of transmission and all the steps we’ve taken to keep the festival’s home open for the community and to minimise the risk to all and how we’ve responded to public health measures. We hope that everyone will understand our cautious approach to 2022s Hucknall Beer Festival and the decision to postpone the date. We’re excited about the opportunity the summer festival will offer for us, our local venue colleagues and the community.

We’re thankful for the support and kind words about our plans to date and understanding that a lot of time, care and thought has gone into every decision made during the past couple of years for the John Godber Centre. We’re thankful for the hard work and thoughts of the planning committee, Centre teams and leadership. Also the sponsors who have pledged their support already, the volunteers who had agreed to return and those who have enquired and expressed their interest in attending February’s event already.

We’re very fortunate that local Hucknall brewery Lincoln Green Brewing Company has kindly offered their fundraising support to the 2022 festival already and we’re pleased to share the news that they will be brewing a special beer to be released in February for the festivals original dates. 10p from every pint sold will be donated to Hucknall Beer Festival which along with other fundraising activities, sponsorship and the Trading Companies usual financial commitment will ensure the summer event is able to go ahead with reduced risk to the charity’s reserves.

We’re pleased that things have been moving to a more positive and normal place for the events industry but having worked so hard to keep the charity going we feel delaying the annual beer festival by a few months will be the best possible option to safeguard our responsibilities to our employees, the charity and all venue users long term and still allow us to host a great Hucknall Beer Festival in 2022.

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