Make it a double: Leeds beer festival's venue switch to attract twice as many ale enthusiasts

A Leeds beer festival is switching venue to help cope with demand – and organisers say it could more than double the numbers and become one of the area’s biggest annual events.
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Garforth Beer Festival has been packing out the town’s Miners’ Welfare Hall on Main Street with its annual ale celebrations for several years, but this summer's will be moved to Garforth Country Club, taking the usual capacity from around 200 up to 500.

With the effects of Covid restricting numbers in recent years, the organisers – Garforth and District Lions Club – have opted to shift the merriment to the nearby club on Aberford Road.

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All funds raised will be ploughed back into events in the town that are organised by the Lions and free to the public, including the Bonfire Night fireworks, the summer gala on Glebelands and the annual Santa Claus sleigh tour of the town.

President of Garforth and District Lions, Mark Dobson (left) and Danny Wilson, steward at Garforth Country Club, gearing up for the beer festival in July.President of Garforth and District Lions, Mark Dobson (left) and Danny Wilson, steward at Garforth Country Club, gearing up for the beer festival in July.
President of Garforth and District Lions, Mark Dobson (left) and Danny Wilson, steward at Garforth Country Club, gearing up for the beer festival in July.

Local councillor and current president of the Garforth and District Lions, Mark Dobson, said: “The Welfare Hall was great, but for a number of reasons including the capacity and Covid, and having that many people in a confined space, it seemed a perfectly legitimate time to expand it. We’re hoping it will be a much bigger, better and more successful event.

“If we can get a nice, fine day for it, it has the potential to be the biggest event we organise, aside from the Christmas event.

“Tickets sales are going really well, we’re up to the high 300s. We know it’s holiday season and people will be keeping an eye on the weather forecast, but when they’re gone, they’re gone and we would hate people to miss out.

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“We’re hoping it will become a nice addition to Garforth’s summer programme.”

Mark Dobson hopes the festival will become one of the town's flagship summer events.Mark Dobson hopes the festival will become one of the town's flagship summer events.
Mark Dobson hopes the festival will become one of the town's flagship summer events.

Earmarked for Saturday, July 8, from 12 noon until 9pm, all of the beers are being sourced from popular Yorkshire-based breweries. There will also be selections of wine, prosecco, gin, cider and lager. Food will be on sale, while a number of acts have been booked to play, including a Meat Loaf tribute singer.

As well as using the club's indoor facilities, the spacious car park will also be utilised, with hopes that the weather will also play its part. Those attending are being encouraged to bring their own picnic chairs.

With a team of volunteers giving up their free time, helping to organise the beer festival is Diane Campey, a former landlady of The Gaping Goose in Garforth and now a committee member of Garforth Country Club.

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She said: "There’s quite a lot to organise but it’s coming along. It’s the first year here and it’s all a little bit new but we’re hoping it will be the first of many held here.

“We just want really good turn out to support the Lions and keep all these events free for the public in Garforth.”

Tickets are £10 and are available from the country club. They include the first drink on the day, and a commemorative tankard to take away. Those attending are being advised that the event will be cash only.

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