Not all heroes wear capes. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, our heroic frontline workers have served and cared for our communities through challenging times. So let’s raise a glass to their commitment and bravery at this year’s Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival.
Following last year’s virtual festival, the popular charity event returns to Magna in March with three days of beer, bands and a barrel of laughs from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th March. Named the Festival For Heroes, all frontline workers from the public services or armed forces will receive a free drink token as a thanks for their efforts.
Thanks to the dedication of a small number of volunteers, Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival has grown to become the biggest all hand-pulled beer festival outside of London.
Some of you may be a seasoned regular with a glass in the cupboard from every year, while others might have fond memories of beer festivals gone by; some might have met their significant other over a half pint, while others may have found a new true love in what’s inside the glass.
The festival was originally the idea of Jan Charters who was the headteacher at Oakwood School in the early ‘90s. The popular event ran for almost two decades at the school before it then moved to Magna in 2011 to cope with the rising number of punters attending year on year.
And with hoptimism in the air for 2022, this year’s festival looks set to be bigger than ever thanks to a stellar line up of bands and top-quality ales that are sure to draw in the crowds.
As usual, there will be four bars selling over 150 beers and ciders from breweries around Yorkshire for revellers to navigate their way through, with prices set at £1.60 for half and £3.20 a pint.
Two of the bars will stock beers from the four subdivisions of Yorkshire – north, east, south and west – with cask ales from popular breweries such as Abbeydale, Bradfield, Exit 33, and Stancil.
There will also be the Chantry Boardwalk bar manned by a team of volunteers comprising of Rotherham Sitwell Rotary and Rotherham Rotary members. The Chantry bar will have the core range of award-winning cask ales such as New York Pale, Iron and Steel Bitter, Black Diamond Stout, and Steelos.
The fourth bar will be sponsored and staffed by members of Rotherham Round Table and their companies.
If you don’t like beer, there will also be a range of wines and prosecco cocktails and the good news is the gin bar is back again. There will also be free soft drinks available for the designated drivers, so everyone is catered for.
Of course, it is not just about the beer. The festival also celebrates the best that South Yorkshire’s underground music scene has to offer.
Throughout the event, there will be two stages – one in the main hall and the other in the Chantry Boardwalk room – which will play host to a range of bands performing a variety of genres from heavy rock to soul and funk.
Kicking things off on the Thursday night is the Beatleg Bootles who will be bringing some good old-fashioned rock and roll with hits by The Beatles.
Then try not to spill your beer while laughing at the inimitable Everly Pregnant Brothers who are performing at the Rovvrum festival for the very first time. Big Shaun and the gang will be headlining the main stage on opening night with their tongue-in-cheek ballads about everything from Henderson’s relish and chip pans to pile cream and rammel drawers.
On Friday, the main stage will welcome back two popular indie bands who both hail from South Yorkshire. Matilda Shakes will get the night underway before The Leathernecks bring their energetic performance of indie hits from The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys.
Saturday’s doors open at 12pm where there will be a marketplace in the red hall with stalls from small independent businesses from around South Yorkshire.
The main stage begins with a mid-afternoon heavy rock session featuring original material from local talent. One of Rotherham’s best kept secrets, punk rockers TowHead bring alternative rock with a Yorkshire bite featuring gritty vocals by frontwoman Penny Cook. Next up is rising metal band, Dead Romantic, who will be hitting the beer festival following their UK tour. Wrapping up the afternoon is festival favourites, At The Acade, with a mix of indie rock and blues.
Throughout the weekend, the Chantry Boardwalk stage will have a soul and Motown theme with bands that will be playing that funky music for you to shuffle and shake your tail feathers to. Just some of the soul bands performing are Funky Business, The Basement, Magnetics, Soul Battalion with their brass section, disco reggae band Papa Soul, and beer festival regulars, The G Men.
To end the festival in style, Saturday’s main stage will welcome three of the UK’s best tribute acts to Rotherham with a rock and roll hall of fame. Get ready for dancing in the dark as the East Street Band recreates Bruce Springsteen’s iconic backup band. Don’t be left feeling dazed and confused as Letz Zep are next in the line-up with a tribute to Led Zeppelin.
And finally, in times like these there’s only one band to round up a festival about heroes. If I said they’re not like the others would you guess who it was? We won’t leave you waiting everlong, as Saturday night’s headline act is the mighty Fu Fighters, the UK’s premier tribute to Dave Grohl and the Foos.
With such a lot to pack into your visit, be sure to keep your energy up with some grub from the two street food stalls that will be at the festival.
Whether you’re in it for the beer, bands of both, by attending Rotherham’s Real Ale and Music Festival you’ll be helping support people in Rotherham living with the effects of cancer. All proceeds from the festival will go towards their chosen charity, Rotherham Cancer Care Centre at Clifton which provides counselling and therapies to cancer patients and their families.
As a charity festival, the huge event is organised solely by volunteers, so remember to be kind to those behind the bar who are giving their free time to pull pints. The team are still on the lookout for volunteers to help out before, during and after the event. So if you have a few hours to spare to clean the pumps, put posters up, man the bars, or set up the stages then your help will be invaluable.
All volunteers work shifts over the weekend and will get free food and drinks, as well as a festival t-shirt and the chance to see these amazing live acts perform. You can apply online where you can find all the relevant documentation.
On the website you can also find more details about sponsorship packages, the full music line up, and how to buy tickets.
Festival for Heroes
Thursday 3rd – Saturday 5th March
Over 150 beers and ciders from local and national breweries plus wines, prosecco cocktails and gin
Food stalls, merchandise, small business marketplace (Saturday afternoon)
Live music from a host of local bands and tribute acts including Everly Pregnant Brothers, Fu Fighters, Letz Zep, At The Arcade, and many more
Find the full music line-up on their Facebook page
Thursday 3rd March 6pm-11pm
Friday 4th March 6pm-11pm
Saturday 5th March 12pm-11pm (free re-entry with the 2022 RRAMF glass)
One free drink token for key workers (proof required on entry)
Book your tickets online: www.magnarealale.uk
Proceeds will go towards Rotherham Cancer Care Centre
Magna Science Adventure Centre, Templeborough, Rotherham S60 1FD