From The Highest High To The Lowest Low

We have just had one of the best days of our lives, having welcomed every independent brewery we’ve brewed with and a few more, and over a fifteen hundred people to what many were congratulating us as one of the best beer festivals they’ve ever been to.

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I’m writing with some of the worst news we could possibly receive right now. The police have informed us that Upper Campfield Market is not, as we have been assured on many occasions by the managing agent acting on behalf of Manchester City Council, licensed for the sale of alcohol. The attending police officer earlier this evening, the two licensing officers, a licensing solicitor, and even the night-time tzar of Greater Manchester, appear to have exhausted every option to allow us to operate in Upper Campfield Market tomorrow. If we ignore the licensing team, and run tomorrow anyway, I risk an unlimited fine or six months imprisonment.

Despite meeting every other operational requirement and licensing condition, we have been told there is nothing further either GMP or Manchester City Council can do to help.

We are utterly devastated.

I am writing to express our deepest apologies to all the ticket holders for tomorrow’s sessions, many of whom are travelling from afar and have planned their lives around attending our festival this weekend, and to issue a desperate cry for help.

If we can find a new venue, or multiple adjacent venues in good time, we will mobilise every bit of labour, every ounce of grit, and determination, with the aim of pitching up with at least all the mobile bar equipment, beers, glassware, and our brewing family, and still pouring as many of the beers we can, however reduced the rest of our festival offering may be (such as DJs, food traders, and our custom venue decoration). Should we be successful in finding a new venue, we may need to change the session times, the number of breweries pouring beer, and any number of other things to get anything off the ground at such short notice.

If you know of a space, or adjacent spaces in Manchester that are licensed for 1000 people to consume alcohol, and is not already booked up, please email us here. We will follow every lead, make every call, and beg every favour we can.

I want to reassure all of you that are due to come to Friends & Family & Beer tomorrow, that if we are unable to piece anything together in time, we’ll do our utmost to make it up to you.

Already many of our closest friends in the industry are at work trying to help us find a way forward.

Lastly, as I’m sure many of you can appreciate, running our first festival was already a well contained yet incredibly stressful time for our team. Though there will be immense disappointment amongst many, please consider us and the rest of the team and the emotional turmoil we’re going through right now before you lash out.

Today was one of the best days in our lives. We’re going to work through the night to try to salvage everything we’d planned and dreamed of for tomorrow.

Paul Jones