Calling time on organising the Cambridge beer festival but the show will go on

PUBLISHED: 05:00 24 May 2017

Cambridge Beer festival first night, Festival Organiser Bert Kenward and Anthony Cox who is taking over the reins as Bert steps down after eight years. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Beer festival first night, Festival Organiser Bert Kenward and Anthony Cox who is taking over the reins as Bert steps down after eight years. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Bert Kenward to hand over running the festival to Anthony Cox next year

Cambridge Beer festival first night, Charles Brown (Snoopy) Bar Manger brings his own drinking vessels. Picture: Keith HeppellCambridge Beer festival first night, Charles Brown (Snoopy) Bar Manger brings his own drinking vessels. Picture: Keith Heppell

It’s been a barrel of fun but Cambridge Beer Festival head Bert Kenward is to call time on his tenure as organiser after eight years.

The current 44th Cambridge Beer Festival, which opened on Monday on Jesus Green, will be his last as the main organiser and he will hand over to his deputy Anthony Cox.

But with the weather set to reach temperatures in the 20s for the rest of the festival, Mr Kenward hopes he can go out on a high with a new attendance record.

Last year 42,000 passed through the gate to savour all manner of real ales, cider, wine and mead, and with the weather forecast in his favour, he believes this festival could be better than ever.

Cambridge Beer festival first night . Picture: Keith HeppellCambridge Beer festival first night . Picture: Keith Heppell

Mr Kenward said: “I said I would do four years and I’ve now 
done eight. It takes a lot out of you for three weeks and being responsible for the whole thing is quite wearing.

“I write software in my proper job but I come here for three weeks and organise a beer festival. In 2001 I was doing my exams and it was suggested I went to the festival to work for one evening. It was one of those slippery slopes. But in 2009 the then organiser stepped down and I was asked to do it. I said ‘no’ a number of times but he then pointed out that no-one else was going to do it, so I said ‘yes’.

“It was a joint record of 42,000 last year. So, it could be a record this year. It would be nice just to have another successful year really but yes, going out on a record would be nice.

“We’ve got a lot more volunteers now. We have about 400 this year over the week.”

Cambridge Beer festival first night . Picture: Keith HeppellCambridge Beer festival first night . Picture: Keith Heppell

The first night of the festival saw the green thronging with people and got the new week off to a great start.

The longest running CAMRA beer event, and currently one of the largest of its type in the UK, it features a wide range of beers of all styles from the UK and around the world, as well as cider, perry, mead and wine.

The festival is organised and run by unpaid volunteers who get cheap beer and free food.

It is also famous for its CAMRA cheese counter, where a wide range of cheeses, together with locally produced bread, pork pies, ham and other savoury items are available.

The festival also has a foreign beers counter.

Entry is free between 12-3pm (Tuesday to Friday) with a £3 entry fee on Saturday (all day).

The festival is closed between Wednesday and Friday 3-5pm. The entry price is £4 at other times but £5 for Thursday and Friday. The last admission is half an hour before closing time.

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