Please note that the information here will be updated as we near the 2022 event.
Please note that the information here will be updated as we near the 2022 event.
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.
Please try to print out your ticket if you can, as these can be scanned more quickly will help the queue to move faster. If you don’t have a printed ticket and need to show your ticket on your phone, please ensure that you have your ticket open on your screen with the brightness turned up when you get to the front of the queue.
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.
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.
Yes, it’s included in your admission fee. If you don’t have a bag with you, you’ll be given a biodegradable plastic bag to carry it home in when you leave.
|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 – 17:30 (or until the beer runs out)|
The times for the 2022 festival will be confirmed nearer to the event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We have a range of soft drinks, and many of the food concessions also sell tea, coffee and soft drinks.
We usually have several foreign botted beers under 1% ABV and a number of beers at 3.5% ABV or under on cask. The 2019 festival had five bottled beers and 10 cask beers available at <3.5% ABV. We also have a range of soft drinks, tea and coffee for sale, plus free tap water.
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
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately we don’t offer a partial refund for the festival glasses, they’re part of the entrance fee and yours for you to keep and take home!
If you do not wish to keep your festival glass you can hand it in at the exist as you’re leaving or at any of the bars to be reused at local pubs and other CAMRA festivals.
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).
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.
The site map of the 2020 festival will be available shortly before the festival starts, once the final layout has been confirmed.
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.
Sunday is family day and we provide child-friendly activities and entertainments.
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
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
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.
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 roaring ‘20s, Saturday is singers and bands and Sunday is circus.
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:
|12.45||Kevin Thorner||Abi Powell|
|13.30||James Kell||Helen Wren|
|14.15||Dan Curtis||Colours & Fires|
|15.00||Sam Rich||Small Strings|
|16.30||Dolly & The Clothespegs|
|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|
Jobs at the festival fall into one of these general categories:
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
Unfortunately not, but we encourage you to tweet your pictures with #RBF20!
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.
Unfortunately not, but we do accept contactless payments. However if you still require one, the closest cash points can be found at Reading train station or there are Nationwide, Natwest and Barclays banks in Caversham.
We do! We have a number of contactless terminals where you can get cashback in the festival. However with how busy the festival gets, it is still a safe option to bring enough cash for the entire session.
We do not have cloakroom facilities 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.
No. We are not licenced to sell tobacco products. We recommend that you make sure you have enough supplies before you enter the festival.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.