Sunday, 12 August 2012

Back Home?

No, not in Manchester, that's tomorrow. I mean back at Olympia for the Great British Beer Festival. I worked quite a few years there and liked it. When we moved to Earl's Court, we got used to that too, despite it always feeling that you were working in an underground car park. Going back to the renovated Olympia with its new mezzanine floor where we on the German bar were located, was wonderful. Light, airy, sunny and with pretty good aircon,it was uplifting. Light does make it all seem better. Better for staff and better for customers. There was loads more seating too, which is always a good thing.

I know there are logistic and size issues, but I reckon if we got the other hall too, then it could be a great and appropriate venue once again. Nobody compared it unfavourably to Earl's Court and none of my colleagues working there wanted it to go back if we could do it as well in Olympia. Can it move back to Olympia at its full size? That's a question I don't know the answer to, but I know it is being looked at. This was a great GBBF despite difficulties and the lack of tube trains, but overall it was brilliant. I had my own doubts about it going ahead during the Olympics, but it all seemed fantastic and it really worked - as usual due to excellent organisation and a vast army of volunteers and of course the enthusiastic crowd of happy topers.

So well done Olympia and well done us. CAMRA, like London can put on a good show I reckon.

This photo was nicked from the internet. Doesn't it look good?I forgot to take a similar one.


Gueuzel said...

I couldn't agree more. I know that the economic advantages of having a bigger venue must be clear, but there are other factors to consider. It just had a better vibe this year - maybe it was the sunshine coming through the roof, or some sort of knock-on feel-good factor from the international school sports day down the road. Whatever it was, it made for a great event.

If Earl's Court in the past few years has been about the sheer range of beer available, for me 2012 was about putting the "Festival" back in GBBF.

Pete Drinks said...

The totally inadequate seating in Earl's Court last year was so off-putting that I didn't even bother going this year. I don't want to stand around all day; I want to sit down and enjoy the experience, not have to treat it as some sort of endurance test.

If there really is enough seating at Olympia then I really hope GBBF stays there. I'll even go next year if they do!

Anonymous said...

earls court is to be demolished and replaced by housing if planning permision is given so i dont think the gbbf will be going back. cheers john

Tandleman said...

You may find the key word in your comment is "if".

RedNev said...

The GBBF has been in various places over the years - as you know, TM, I worked at it in Leeds. Is there any reason, other than suitable venues, why it has to remain in London?

Glyn Roberts said...

I enjoyed it this year, that upstairs area was like an oasis of calm, loved it.

Paul Bailey said...

GBBF, at Olympia, was like a breath of fresh air, and certainly was like coming back home. I remember my disappontment at walking into Earl's Court for the first time, after GBBF first moved there, and straight away missing the sunlight flooding in from that wonderful glass canopy at Olympia. I hope, as one correspondent has hinted, that Earl's Court is to be demolished, as it is a gloomy, unattactive and totally souless place (even though I once saw Led Zeppelin play an amazing gig there back in 1976!).

I attended on the Friday, and our small party parked ourselves on the mezzanine area, described by Tandleman; I even had the pleasure of meeting the great man himself! (more of that later on my blog, once I get round to finishing the post). It really was an excellent location im this characterful, old historic building.

If CAMRA are able to get the use of the adjoining hall, (as in previous festivals), then surely Olympia would be the ideal venue for GBBF to continue in. I certainly hope so, and judging by the comments from people I spoke to during my visit, I'm sure many others do as well.

Finally, well done to all concerned with the festival. My faith in GBBF has been restored.

RedNev said...

Well, is there?

Tandleman said...

Crikey Nev. I'm not in charge, but essentially only London can do it at the size it is at reasonable cost.

To downsize would be presumably thought as a backward step.

RedNev said...

I know you're not in charge but I thought you might have some idea of the thinking, in view of your extensive festival experience (particularly NWAF). I see two possible reasons:
1. No suitable venue elsewhere that CAMRA could afford.
2. A conviction that we should now always hold our premier festival in London anyway.
I'd guess it's the second one.

John Clarke said...

Nev, You guess wrong I'm afraid.

I know people on the organsing committee and they really have looked at other options and each one has either been too expensive or has had other major logistical problems. People seem to think there is some great conspiracy here but I'm convinced that is not the case.

Next year the West Hall at Olympia will also be available and this will mean that the site has as much space as Earl's Court