Monday 4 August 2008

The Ultimate Volunteer Holiday

1,000 beer loving volunteers set to serve 65,000 visitors at the
Great British Beer Festival

As holidaymakers abandon overseas breaks in their droves this summer, 1,000 dedicated volunteer members of the Campaign for Real Ale are heading for the capital this week to run the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court.

CAMRA thinks the event is the most fun you can have volunteering. The beer consumer group expects to welcome over 65,000 visitors and will offer them a choice of 700 real ales, foreign beers and real ciders & perries. It is gearing up for a record attendance, as the weak pound attracts overseas visitors keen to try a good pint of British real ale.

The Great British Beer Festival is CAMRA's flagship event, but the group also runs 140 local beer festivals throughout the year, all organised and manned by volunteers who have to be members of CAMRA.

Marc Holmes, Festival Organiser said, “People sometimes tell me I'm mad when I could spend my annual holiday in the sun, but we don't see this as giving up our holidays as we are collectively driven by our enthusiasm and commitment to real ale and to promoting it to as many people as possible. We get to meet up with friends at the Festival and it's a great social occasion for volunteers as well as hard work! It's an alternative credit-crunch beating holiday!”

“We couldn't run the Festival without our unique team of volunteers from across the country as it simply wouldn't be viable economically. It's difficult to think of any other event which attracts such huge volunteer support. As pubs face difficult times it shows great commitment that so many people care about this great British product, real ale.”

CAMRA's volunteers come from all walks of life. The Festival is organised by a volunteer working party which includes an investment banker, a teacher, an IT consultant and a bus driver. It takes most of the year to organise the event and volunteers enjoy many different jobs including stewarding, serving on the bars, giving tutored beer tastings as well as delivering and unloading hundreds of thousands of pints of beer and stacks of cooling equipment.

Mr. Holmes added, “It's a slick operation these days and it gives me a real sense of pride when I see the empty hall turn into a festival packed with beer and people enjoying it socially. I think many people think the Festival is run by brewers, but CAMRA organises the whole lot and carries all the risk. We are determined to encourage as many adults as possible to try the joys of real ale. We're convinced they'll be converted and will choose real ale in pubs and come back to the festival again and again."


For more information

CAMRA Press Office (From Monday 4th August- Saturday 9th) - 020 7244 3925
Jon Howard - 07939 425471
Tony Jerome - 07736 948186
Mike Benner - 07971 591224

The Great British Beer Festival

Tuesday 5th-Saturday 9th August
Earls Court, London

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