FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

TICKETS

CAN I PAY AT THE GATE OR DO I HAVE TO OBTAIN AN ADVANCE TICKET?

Either! One of the benefits of an advance ticket is to allow you to get into the festival quicker and have priority if there is a queue at the gate. If you want to pay at the gate, you can, but this is subject to joining the queue. If the site is at capacity, we will operate a one out, one in policy to ensure we stay within our fire limit. Ticket holders have guaranteed on entry in this situation. Advance tickets give guaranteed entry for three hours after opening; after this time you will still have priority entry but, as noted, we may be at a one out, one in policy and you may have to wait a little while.

DO CAMRA MEMBERS GET A DISCOUNT ON TICKETS?

No, but if you’re a CAMRA, EBCU or RURAS member then bring your membership card along on the day you attend to receive an additional two half pint tokens free of charge on top of the four half pint tokens already included in your advance ticket.

WILL I BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE FESTIVAL AND RETURN LATER?

We operate a short term pass-out system where you are able to leave the festival for upto 30 minutes to replenish essential supplies, eg cigarettes, cash etc.
Note that when you return, you may need to queue to get back in again. We recommend that you make sure you have enough supplies before you enter the festival.

CAN I KEEP MY FESTIVAL GLASS?

Yes, it’s included in your admission fee. If you don’t have a bag with you, you’ll be given a plastic bag to carry it home in when you leave.

WHAT ARE THE 2019 FESTIVAL OPENING TIMES?
 Thursday 7th May  16:30 – 23:00
 Friday 8th May  11:00 – 23:00
 Saturday 9th May  11:00 – 16.30
 Saturday 9th May  18:00 – 23:00
 Sunday 10th May  12:00 – 19:00 (or until the beer runs out)

DRINKS

WHEN WILL THE BEER AND CIDER LISTS BE AVAILABLE?

The beer and cider lists are (usually but not guaranteed) available about a month before the festival starts, but as always the beer listings are subject to change before we open.  Once open to the public, the Drinks page will show a live updating list of what is available on each bar.

WHAT OTHER DRINKS ARE AVAILABLE?

In addition to real ales, key keg beers, ciders & perries, we have a range of foreign beers, wines and mead. Soft drinks, tea and coffee are available from some of the food stands.

GLUTEN FREE BEERS?

There will be a selection of gluten free beers available and these will be highlighted in the LiveBar on the Drinks page and in the programme.

WHAT ABOUT VEGAN/VEGETARIAN BEERS?

There will be a selection of vegetarian and vegan beers available and these will be highlighted in the LiveBar on the Drinks page and in the programme.

WILL THERE BE ANY BEERS LEFT ON SUNDAY?

We expect to have a large range of beers still available on Sunday, although this will not be the full range. We have to balance our beer order to give us enough beers to last the festival without having too much beer left at the end of the festival. This is impossible to predict, but it has been a number of years since we last ran out completely. The LiveBar on the Drinks page will give a list of what beers are still available and we will be updating it regularly.

IS THERE DRINKING WATER AVAILABLE IN THE FESTIVAL?

Free drinking water is available at any of our bars during the festival, just simply ask the staff behind any of our bars to fill up your glass or drinking bottle.

WHAT DRINKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR DRIVERS?

We have a range of soft drinks, and many of the food concessions also sell tea, coffee and soft drinks.

WILL THERE BE ANY LOW ALCOHOL OR ALCOHOL FREE BEERS?

We usually have several foreign botted beers under 1% ABV and a number of beers at 3.5% ABV or under on cask. The 2018 festival had three bottled beers and 15 cask beers available at <3.5% ABV. We also have a range of soft drinks, tea and coffee for sale, plus free tap water.

WHAT IF I DON'T WANT A WHOLE PINT OF BEER OR CIDER?

We serve all of our real ales and ciders in third pint as well as half pint and 1 pint measures. If you want 1/3 pint tokens, either the Entrance or the CAMRA membership stand will be able to change 2 x 1/2 pint tokens for 3 x 1/3 pint tokens

CAN I USE THE TOKENS FOR KEY KEG ALES, FOREIGN BEER OR WINE?

The tokens may not be directly exchangeable for our range of key keg ales, which are priced separately; or imported foreign beers, which are sold by the bottle; or wine, which is sold by the glass. Details of the pricing for those drinks will be displayed at the relevant bars.

I DON'T LIKE BEER. CAN I BRING MY OWN ALCOHOL?

It is against the law to take your own alcohol onto licenced premises and the festival is no exception. You wouldn’t expect to be able to take your own alcohol into the pub and we are no different.
There are lots of alternatives to beer available including cider, wine and soft drinks.

WHERE CAN I GET ALLERGEN INFORMATION ON THE DRINKS?

Allergen information will be displayed on the beer listings in the programme, but for the most up to date information, please ask at the bar and our bar staff will be happy to advise you.

ACCESS

HOW DO I GET TO/FROM THE STATION?

For full details of how to get to the festival by foot, bus and train – including a walking route map from the station – please view the Find Us page.

ARE THERE PARKING FACILITIES?

There is no parking directly at the festival site, however the nearest parking is Hill’s Meadow car park on George Street which is adjacent to the festival and easily accessible on foot (via a 2-3 minute walk under Reading Bridge by the river).

WHERE CAN I GET A TAXI?

We will be encouraging the local cabbies to pick up from Hill’s Meadow car park on George Street. Alternatively, you can walk to the taxi ranks at the station.

DO YOU HAVE A MAP OF THE FESTIVAL SITE?

The site map of the 2019 festival will be available shortly before the festival starts, once the final layout has been confirmed.

CHILDREN AND DOGS

ARE CHILDREN ALLOWED AT THE FESTIVAL?

Yes, children are welcomed on site until 8pm, except for the Saturday evening session, which starts at 6pm and is for adults only. They must be accompanied at all times by a family member over 18 years old and are not allowed in the immediate vicinity of the bars. Sunday is family day and we provide child-friendly activities and entertainments. As last year, there the NCT will be at the festival, providing space for families to change and feed babies. There will be changing mats, chairs, beanbags and also NCT information. These facilities will only be available during sessions and times where Children are welcome at the festival.

WHAT IS FAMILY DAY?

Sunday is family day and we provide child-friendly activities and entertainments.

ARE DOGS ALLOWED AT THE FESTIVAL?

Dogs are allowed at the festival but need to be kept on their lead and under control at all times.
Sadly, we can’t serve your dog a pint, but we appreciate that pets get thirsty too, so we provide water bowls for our four-legged friends. Pets are not permitted in the vicinity of the bars or food stalls

FOOD

WHAT FOOD WILL BE AVAILABLE?

We have a range of carefully selected quality food stalls providing both hot and cold food choices. See the food page for full details.

CAN I BRING MY OWN FOOD?

Yes, we perfectly understand that for many of you this is preferable (although you will miss out on some true culinary delights) but please use the bins provided for any containers or wrappers. Picnics are allowed, but we may ask you to move your picnic blanket if it is blocking any exits or busy walkways

ENTERTAINMENT

WHAT ENTERTAINMENT IS THERE?

Thursday evening sees the return of the pub quiz, whilst on Friday and Saturday there’s music on the main stage all day. The games area and tombola will be open every day, and at the weekend we’ll have the Balloon Platoon. On Saturday we’re joined by the Kennet Morris Men, with free face painting on Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday is Family Day and the ‘Half Pints’ area will be providing crafts and activities for children.

WHAT GAMES ARE AVAILABLE?

Starting on Thursday and continuing throughout the festival are the traditional pub games. A selection will be available to play every day, including long alley skittles, shuffleboard, table skittles, shut the box and toad in the hole. Each of the games costs £1 a go or you can purchase a games card giving you six games for £5. Following on from its popularity last year, the outdoor games area will be returning for a second year. There are prizes for all ages and tastes, ranging from inflatable toys and novelty hats, to bottled beer, T-shirts and bar towels, so why not come on over and see if you can beat the high scores?

If you’re feeling lucky, visit the tombola for the opportunity to win a wide range of beer and pub-oriented prizes, plus some quirky items and soft toys. The Games team will be in fancy dress: Friday is pop culture, Saturday is circus and Sunday is pirates.

WHAT BANDS ARE ON IN 2020?

As soon as the bands are confirmed for 2020 we’ll list them here, in the mean time the below list was the bands which played in in 2019:

Time Friday Saturday
12.00 Nicole Allan Travis
12.45 Kevin Thorner Abi Powell
13.30 James Kell Helen Wren
14.15 Dan Curtis Colours & Fires
15.00 Sam Rich Small Strings
15.45 Steve Morano
16.30 Dolly & The Clothespegs
17.15 Garry Millard
18.00 Green Man
18.30 Rob Sowden (compère) Lucas Anderson (compère)
18.45 The Mysteries Nicole & The Papas
19.30 Rob Sowden (compère) Lucas Anderson (compère)
19.45 Oubliettes Nicole and the Papas
20.45 Rob Sowden (compère) Lucas Anderson (compère)
21.00 Sam & The Gang Swallow
CAN MY BAND PLAY AT THE FESTIVAL?

If you would like to play at the 2019 festival, contact us for more information.

VOLUNTEERING

HOW DO I VOLUNTEER TO WORK AT THE FESTIVAL?

You can volunteer to work at the festival by filling out the online Volunteers form available at bit.ly/rbf9help.

Once you’ve filled it in, the Festival Volunteer manager will contact you.

WHAT JOBS CAN I DO AT THE FESTIVAL?

Jobs at the festival fall into one of these general categories:

  • Be active
  • Explain things
  • Work on tills
  • Keep people safe
  • Chat to people
  • Tidy things up
  • Keep records
  • Organise!
  • Be behind the scenes
  • Remain seated

So as you can see there are a wide range of roles available for every one. Your actual role will usually be decided before the festival and will be e-mailed to you prior to the festival starting. If you’ve done a role before and enjoyed it, there is a comments section on the volunteering form where you can request to do it again.

WHERE CAN I STAY WHILE WORKING AT THE FESTIVAL?

We have a (small!) campsite on site at the festival for volunteers wishing to stay while volunteering. Camping space is at a premium and must be agreed with the Festival Volunteer manager beforehand.

Please don’t turn up on the day with a tent as there’s a good chance we won’t be able to fit you in!

WHAT ARE THE PERKS OF VOLUNTEERING AT THE FESTIVAL?

There are many perks while working at the festival including, free beer & free food, free entry into the festival (if you work two or more shifts) and a free volunteer’s t-shirt (while stocks last).

CAN I TAKE A SESSION OFF AND DRINK WITH MY MATES?

As a volunteer, you choose which sessions you would like to work. As a member of staff, you are free to take time off and drink with friends.

TRADE DAY

WHO CAN APPLY FOR TRADE SESSION TICKETS?

Anyone in the pub or brewing trade can apply for trade tickets. Please Contact Us for more details.

CAN I BRING MY TRADE STAND TO THE TRADE SESSION?

If you would like to bring a trade stand to the Trade Session, please get in contact with us.

SPONSORSHIP

HOW MUCH IS IT TO SPONSOR SOMETHING AT THE FESTIVAL?

There are a number of sponsorship options available. See the Sponsorship page for more details.

MISCELLANEOUS

CAN I BRING MY OWN CHAIRS TO SIT ON?

We provide tables and benches both outside and in the marquee. You can bring your own chair, but please note that within the marquees, we have to maintain clear walkways at all times. This means that at busy times we may ask you to not use your chairs indoors or ask you to move to a less crowded location. The same applies to picnic blankets.

CAN I PLAY FOOTBALL?

No, sorry. We do not mind the odd toddler pretending to be Beckham, but other people do not want to have their drinks knocked over or a football land in their lunch. Same rules apply for cricket, etc.

DO YOU HAVE WIFI?

Unfortunately not, but we encourage you to tweet your pictures with #RBF19!

IS IT A CASH BAR AT THE FESTIVAL OR AM I REQUIRED TO PURCHASE TOKENS?

We accept cash at all bars along with a number of contactless card machines. There are some tokens included in admission packages which are accepted at the main beer and cider bars. Each token grants one half pint at all the main bars.

IS THERE A CASH MACHINE AVAILABLE?

Unfortunately not. The closest cash points can be found at Reading train station or there are Nationwide, Natwest and Barclays banks in Caversham.

DO YOU ACCEPT CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS?

We do have a small number of contactless terminals where you can get cashback in the festival but these aren’t guaranteed to always be available. Your safest option is to ensure that you bring enough cash for the entire session.

IS THERE A CLOAKROOM?

We do not have cloakroom facilities at the festival.

CAN I SMOKE/VAPE AT THE FESTIVAL?

As with any public building (yes, the marquee is classed as a building) it is illegal to smoke indoors. You are welcome to smoke or vape in the garden area.

ARE CIGARETTES AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE AT THE FESTIVAL SITE?

No. We are not licenced to sell tobacco products. We recommend that you make sure you have enough supplies before you enter the festival.

WILL THERE BE BAG SEARCHES?

As with all public events, we reserve the right to search any bags on entry to the festival. This can slow down admission to the festival so we recommend that you only bring essential bags with you.

I'VE COMPLETED THE ALE TRAIL, WHERE CAN I PICK UP MY SHIRT?

If you have completed the Ale Trail and sent your completed booklet off then you will be able to collect your Ale Trail t-shirt from the CAMRA Membership stand.

WHY DO YOU GIVE OUT SO MANY PLASTIC BAGS AT THE END OF THE FESTIVAL?

Unfortunately one of the conditions of our license is that all festival glasses being taken away from the site at the end of the evening must be contained in a strong bag. This is something that is imposed on us by Reading Borough Council.

You are welcome to take your glass away in your own bag so please do your part for the environment and bring a reusable bag/rucksack with you to take your festival glass home.

THE FESTIVAL ORGANISERS

WHO RUNS THE FESTIVAL?

The festival is run on behalf of CAMRA, entirely by a group of dedicated volunteers. That includes all of the stewards, bar staff, games team, organisers, etc. None of them are paid at all, so please remember that they really don’t and won’t tolerate any kind of abuse.

WHAT IS CAMRA?

CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale (and cider) is an independent, voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights, with over 190,000 members.

WHAT ARE THE AIMS OF CAMRA?
  • To maintain consumer rights
  • To promote quality, choice and value for money
  • To support the pub as a focus of community life
  • To campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of national heritage and culture
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN FOR REAL ALE (CAMRA)?

Visit the Reading and Mid-Berks CAMRA Branch website, or the CAMRA National website for more information about CAMRA.

WHAT IS REAL ALE?

Real ale is a natural product brewed using traditional ingredients and left to mature in the cask (container) from which it is served in the pub, through a process called secondary fermentation. It is this process which makes real ale unique amongst beers and develops the wonderful tastes and aromas which processed beers can never provide.

Real ale is a natural, living product. By its nature this means it has a limited shelf life and needs to be looked after with care in the pub cellar and kept at a certain temperature to enable it to mature and bring out its full flavours for the drinker to enjoy.

WHAT IS KEYKEG?

A KeyKeg is, at its simplest, a plastic bottle containing a bag full of beer. Unlike a conventional keg, the gas you pump in to force the beer out and into your glass doesn’t touch the liquid. It flows around the outside of the bag, pushing the beer out of the keg without it becoming too fizzy.

Check out the Reading & Mid-Berks Branch website for a full explanation.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED WITH THE FESTIVAL?

You can volunteer to work at the festival by filling out the online Volunteers form available at bit.ly/rbf9help.

Once you’ve filled it in, the Festival Volunteer manager will contact you.

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