Monday, 31 May 2010
The Great Yarmouth Beer Festival
Last night we helped out an old friend of Andy by playing for the Yarmouth Beer Festival. The venue was in the Priory Centre, so named because it is housed in a former priory founded less than fifty years after the Norman Conquest by Herbert de Losinga, Bishop of Norwich. While this made for a great atmosphere, the stone walls and very high ceiling made for a lousy sound. Sensibly, Andy turned off the reverb on the PA half way through the first number. The naturally occurring 'hall reverb' that companies like Yamaha and Lexicon have spent years perfecting was something we just had to live with.
As befitted a beer festival we played a lively mix of klezmer and up-tempo jazz with the occasional slow number (eg Pennies From Heaven) thrown in to give the dancers a rest and calm a crowd that was out for a good time.
Paul being away, we were joined by the much travelled Gary Rudd who has recently returned from India. He was en route from Lincolnshire to Suffolk so this fitted in very well. And again, we had the benefit of Hugh's accordion and trumpet.
We were well looked after. On arrival we were presented with a half pint glass each and a tokens to exchange for the wide range of beers and ciders exhibited. Both sides of the long hall were lined with barrels behind long bars. Having work to do I gravitated towards the weaker end of the spectrum but I made an exception for Loxely Ale, still not too strong at 4.2%, which I chose in honour of Robin Hood. I know that sounds daft but, when faced with such a vast array of possibilities (there were ninety beers and a few ciders to choose from), doing the first thing that comes into one's head often saves time.
Last night I thought Andy had drawn the short straw by electing to drive but this morning I'm not so sure. The whole point of a beer festival is to taste lots of different drinks and, in the absence of a spittoon, it is considered polite to swallow. I can only be thankful that there was too little time after the gig to indulge my curiosity further.