This was my first time at this event, and on the whole I was impressed:
- 100+ beers and ciders on cask
- Fast attentive bar service
- £1.50 a half, which is very good value
- Good tasting notes
- Camping available if you wanted to
- Live music
- Good selection of non-alcoholic options and foods to keep drivers and kids topped up
- Billed as being family friendly, but there wasn’t much for kids to do – apart from a horse and cart ride around the car park field
- Far too many people crammed into too small-a-space, especially when groups of folks turn up with their gazebos, chairs and the like
When you organize this event next time, please try to make a bigger area for festival-goers to congregate – give some room for people to spread out a bit and make sure the stage with the music is somewhere where everyone can see it.
My kids only managed to last about an hour and half before they became over-whelmed by the sheer amount of people compressed into such a small space – especially when we all had to pile in the tent to escape the thunderstorm.
It was difficult to navigate the site without tripping over gazebo guy ropes, dog leads, folding chairs and lord knows what else.
And please: next year have a free bouncy castle…most people I saw leaving early were going because their kids were bored or kicking off about something or other (mine included). Beer festivals are normally a great family day out and mine usually get wildly over-excited at the idea of going to one (Arthur couldn’t sleep the night before the Hooky one, as he normally gets cake, crisps and pop all afternoon, plus unlimited bouncy castle time with his mates…imagine his disappointment when there was no castle at all)
Parents with happy children will stay a lot longer and spend so much more on food and drink…
Despite the above, the festival was well organized and there was a MAGNIFICENT beer list: http://www.hookybeerfest.co.uk/2014-festival-beers with really great tasting notes that helped me choose the four beers that I sampled:
Dark Star – Hop Head:
Hyde’s – Anvil Sharp Motueka:
Hopshackle – Hopnosis:
Oakham Ales – Scarlet Macaw:
Will definitely be going back to Hooky next year as long as there’s more opportunity to keep the kids amused while I sample beer… :o) I’m also happy to report that ALL of the money raised at the festival goes to charity. So good on them.