Frequently Asked Questions.

Tickets

Can I pay at the gate or do I have to obtain an advance ticket?

Advance tickets mean that you 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 priority on entry in this situation.

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 festival opening times?

Thursday 3rd May

 16:30 - 23:00

 Friday 4th May

 11:00 - 23:00

 Saturday 5th May

 11:00 - 16.30

 Saturday 5th May

 18:00 - 23:00

Sunday 6th 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 now available showing what is on order. This may change before we open. The lists will be updated as we get information. Once open to the public, the LiveBar page will be active and you will be able to see a live updating list of what is available on each bar.

What other drinks are available?

In addition to real ales, key-cask 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.

Will there be any gluten free beers at this year’s festival?

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

Will there be any vegan/vegetarian beers available?

There will be a selection of vegetarian and vegan beers available and these will be highlighted in the LiveBar on the website 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 page on the website will give a list of what beers are still available and we will be updating it regularly.

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.

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 cask ales, foreign beer or wine?

The tokens may not be directly exchangeable for our range of key cask (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 Travel page.

Are there parking facilities?

The nearest parking is Hill's Meadow car park on George Street.

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?

Yes, you can download a copy of the map here.

 

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. This year there will be an NCT tent next to the First Aid tent, providing space for families to change and feed babies. There will be changing mats, chairs, beanbags and also NCT information

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 outside the First Aid tent. 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 entertainments are 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 this year?

Friday Saturday
12.00 Kevin Thorner 12.00 Nicole Monique Johnson
12.45 Travis Preston 12.45 Real O'rael
13.30 Aaron Tull-Dare 13.30 Sophie Sheehan
14.15 Gary Millard 14.15 Liam Barnes
15.00 Mike Parker 15.00 Reading Ukulele Group
15.45 Hollie & Nicole    
16.30 Martha Roper    
17.15 Nicky Booty    
18.00 Bright Shadows    
18.45 Green Man 18.45 Love Shovel
19.30 Rob Sowden (compère) 19.30 Lucas Anderson (compère)
19.45 Dandy Man 19.45 Nicole and the Papas
20.45 Rob Sowden (compère) 20.45 Lucas Anderson (compère)
21.00 Damien A Passmore & The Lovable Fraudsters 21.00 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?

Information about volunteering can be found on the volunteering page

What jobs can I do at the festival?

There is a wide variety of jobs at the festival. Information about volunteering can be found on the volunteering page

Where can I stay while working at the festival?

There is free on-site camping space for staff who are volunteering at the festival.

What are the perks of working at the festival?

There are many perks while working at the festival including free camping, festival T-shirt, free beer & free food.

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. Your admission to the festival is free.

 

Trade Day

Who can apply for Trade Session tickets?

Anyone in the pub or brewing trade can apply for trade tickets. See the Trade Day page 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, contact the Trade Team. See the Trade Day page for more details.

 

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?

No, but we encourage you to tweet your pictures with #RBF18

Is it a cash bar at the festival, or am I required to purchase tokens?

We accept cash at all bars. There are some tokens included in admission packages which are accepted at the main beer and cider 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.

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 a building) it is illegal to smoke indoors. You are welcome to smoke or vape in the garden area.

Are cigarettes available on the 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.

 

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 CAMRA 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.

In contrast, brewery conditioned - or keg - beer has a longer shelf life as it is not a living product. Once the beer has finished fermentation in the brewery and has been conditioned, it is chilled and filtered to remove all the yeast and then it is pasteurised to make it sterile. This is then put in a sealed container, called a keg, ready to be sent to the pub.

The problem is that removing the yeast and ‘killing off’ the product through pasteurisation also removes a great deal of the taste and aroma associated with real ale. Because there is no secondary fermentation occurring in the keg in which it is held, there is no natural carbonation of the beer so gas (either carbon dioxide or a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen) has to be added to “fizz up” the beer. This creates an unnaturally fizzy beer rather than the gentle carbonation produced by the slow secondary fermentation in a cask of real ale.

How can I get involved with the festival?

If you are a CAMRA member you can volunteer to help at the beer festival – see our volunteering page for more details.