Last orders for beer festival

Real ale fans enjoy some of the tasty treats on offer at the Lytham Beer Festival.
Real ale fans enjoy some of the tasty treats on offer at the Lytham Beer Festival.
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Lytham’s popular Beer and Cider Festival has been scrapped this year, organisers have revealed.

After six years at the town’s Lowther Pavilion, the three-day autumn event has been called off, initially for one year only, in favour of a new festival at Blackpool Football Club.

Organisers the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Campaign for Real Ale say there isn’t time for them to organise festivals in both Lytham and Blackpool and well as that held annually in Fleetwood.

But Lytham business leaders have told of their disappointment at the loss of an event which has traditionally attracted hundreds of visitors to the town.

“This is really sad for Lytham,” said Robert Silverwood, vice-chairman of the Lytham Business Group.

“It was a well established event which had grown and grown over the years and brought business to pubs all over the town as the beers fans made their way to the Lowther.”

Gary Haydock, manager of the newly-refurbished Ship and Royal, in Lytham town centre, said: “I remember going to the festival last year and it was quite a good event.

“It not happening this year will mean that potentially hundreds of punters will not be in the town, using the pubs in the area. I’m quite disappointed.”

CAMRA spokesman Russell Cobb said: “We have, for some time, wished to run a festival in Blackpool but the main stumbling block has been finding a suitable venue.

“Now that the football club is providing this for us, we are keen to proceed but given the amount of time and effort that goes into the organisation of a festival, holding three in one year is just not feasible.

“As a result, the branch has decided, for this year, to run Blackpool instead of Lytham. With a larger hall capacity and a more central location, we are confident that Blackpool Beer Festival will be as successful and enjoyable as Lytham has been over the years. We sincerely hope that South Fylde real ale aficionados will give the new festival their support.”

Tim Lince, acting manager at Lowther Pavilion and chairman of the managing Lowther trust, today said the venue will always welcome the event back.

He said: “We offered 
CAMRA the opportunity to come back this year for the standards hire costs which apply to any dance school or other group looking to use the venue but they have decided to go to Blackpool.

“If they want to come back, we would welcome them with open arms.”

The Lytham festival, traditionally held in October, attracted hundreds of ale fans over three days last October.

While the first Blackpool event is set to be held on a similar date this autumn, other festivals are taking place in Fylde such as the second Fylde Rugby Club Beer Festival.

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