Market Bosworth Rail Ale Festival Report 2017

Market Bosworth Rail Ale Festival, Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2017

This year saw the 8th annual Rail Ale Festival run by the Battlefield Preserved Railway in conjunction with Hinckley & Bosworth branch of CAMRA. Historically, the first event was held in the booking hall at Shackerstone Station in 2010. Since then the event has grown into an official CAMRA beer festival running alongside a vintage rally. The ales were served in the The Goods Shed, Station Road, Market Bosworth Station CV13 0PF, and also from the Griddle Car on the trains. Again this year, trains operated on Friday afternoon.

The report from Becky; Beer Festival Organiser

My first festival. A busy week, set up began a week before. Elliswood brewery van helped transport across. Racking up on Saturday. Floor painted on Sunday. Returned on Monday to receive majority of beers and had to get them on the racking and chilling- a very busy warm day.

The majority of stillage was East Coast beers from Northumberland, Tyne & Wear to Kent, with several counties in between. The remainder of the stillage was filled with local beers, all within a 20 mile radius of the festival. The first beer to sell out on Friday was Durham brewery White Velvet closely followed by Green Jack Summer Dream and the market Bosworth IPA. There were 42 beers left for the Sunday- several only had a gallon of so left, so they didn’t last very long. There were 34 ciders including 2 bottled. We had a foreign beer bar for the first time with 13 beers covering a variety of styles. There were 13 different varieties including lambic, Sour, Trappist, Abbey, Whitbier and 3 Pilsners. A German variety of Pilsner, Jever, sold out. The next best sellers were Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel and the St.Bernardus- both of which we only had a few bottles left.

We didn’t have fantastic weather with rain every day. We were lucky and people still came; some even having walked to the festival despite the weather. The weather did impact on the Pimms bar and cider took a slight dip-especially the fruit ciders.

Good live music was provided by Busker and Natalie Nightingale, a good and versatile singer who sang from Ave Maria to Bon Jovi! The Morris Men came on Sunday. The rain didn’t stop the trains running, but they were quieter in terms of passengers. People came from near and far with some glamping visitors and also a couple who got married on Saturday at Bosworth Hall and spent their first day of married life at the festival. We got air time with Radio Leicester's Ben Jackson on Thursday morning, also the treasure for clueless on Sunday morning. Radio car travels around visiting a variety of locations and give listeners a four line clue. Great fun with Ady and Dale arriving on Sunday.

Thank you to Adrian and Gina the volunteer team at the Battlefield Line, they work equally as hard as CAMRA do. A huge thank you to all of the CAMRA volunteers; set up, running and also the take down-wouldn’t happen without you. Special thanks to Graham Lancaster-a great right hand man, Jackie-bar manager, Sam-cider bar manager, Alan for the transition help, lists, labels and also to Rose for the Pimms bar, to Bethan and Alan for counting the money and organising the tills every day. John Moyes was there every day, thank you. Thanks to the sponsors; Sue and John from Pestle for the cider bar and Tim at Elbow Room for main bar and programme.

So, after the craziest week I’ve ever had, I felt like I’d been hit by a steam train, I had a fabulous time as my first BFO and might, with a small amount of persuasion, even do it again!

Becky Oakes - Festival Organiser