Following last year’s forced landing, the Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival is getting ready to take flight once again with a salute to the Battle of Britain’s 80th anniversary.
This February, the popular charity event returns to Magna after a year off from the annual ale calendar in 2019. But they are firmly out of the no-fly zone and ready to welcome thousands of people back to into the fold to enjoy three days of ale, acoustics and aviation.
Since starting at Oakwood School back in 1992, Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival has continued soaring to success, becoming a beacon for top quality beer and bands in South Yorkshire.
The event moved to Magna in 2011 and this year marks the 26th festival which will take place between Thursday 27th and Saturday 29th February.
As this summer commemorates 80 years since the Battle of Britain occurred in 1940, the event organisers have chosen to theme this year’s event around some of the fantastic RAF fighter aircraft that defended Britain’s skies during World War II – aptly calling it Sup, Sup and Away.
As usual, there will be four bars selling over 150 beers from breweries around the country for revellers to navigate their way through. The sky is the limit to try something different from your usual tipple of choice – as long as you drink responsibly…
The bar in Magna’s ‘red room’ entrance hall will be named the Spitfire bar, serving a range of Kentish beers to celebrate the country over which the Supermarine Spitfire famously fought. Of course, Shepherd Neame will be there with their iconic Spitfire ale.
The second bar is named in honour of the Spitfire’s second in command – the Hawker Hurricane – and will stock range of beers from the North East. In the early days of the Battle of Britain on what has become known as Black Thursday, 141 German Luftwaffe aircraft launched a raid against the north east cities of Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Squadrons from RAF Unsworth fought back in a hoard of Hurricanes.
There will be a range of breweries from the Northumberland and Durham areas including Tyne Bank, Whitley Bay and Wylam, with the organisers on the look-out for a beer named Hurricane to complete the line-up.
In the main hall, the bar will be called the Lancaster after the most famous and successful of all WWII planes, the Avro Lancaster Bomber.
Behind the bar there will be a mix of Lancashire and Yorkshire breweries which will be putting the roses rivalry aside to celebrate the best of British ales. Blackburn’s Thwaites brewery will join the likes of Abbeydale, Bradfield and Stancil from South Yorkshire.
The fourth and final bar is the Boardwalk bar which will be manned by the team at Chantry Brewery in Rotherham who will be bringing their core range of award-winning cask ales such as New York Pale, Iron and Steel Bitter, and Black Diamond Stout.
If you don’t like beer, there will also be a range of wines, prosecco and ciders and, for the first year, a gin bar.
“We’ve always held off having spirits behind the bar due to the strength. There is no such thing as a real ale lout. But gin will open up the festival to more people due to its popularity,” event organiser, Steve Burns says.
There will also be free soft drinks available for the designated drivers, so everyone is catered for.
All of the four bars will be staffed by volunteers, including members from both Rotherham and Rotherham Sitwell Rotary Clubs, who are giving their free time to pull pints in aid of Maples Cancer Centre at Clifton which is once again the chosen charity that the festival is raising money for.
“It is thought that the average person buys three and a half pints at a beer festival. Every pint is £3 so that’s about £10 spent on beer per person. Added to that the entry fee and everyone who attends will be putting about £20 into the pot to help us raise as much as we can to support Maples Cancer Centre,” Steve says.
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 local bands performing a variety of genres from rock to ska.
On the opening night, the main stage will have a relaxed blues vibe with the sounds of Rotherham’s country Americana soulstress, Lauren Housley followed by headliners, The Fargo Railroad Company, a Southern rock band from Sheffield.
Over on the Boardwalk stage, Mexborough’s plucky funny man, Ukulele Bailey, kicks things off with his humorous covers based around real life. Indie rock band, Frestan, make their Magna debut, before Harmony of Spheres bring a sense of progressive rock with hits by Genesis, Pink Floyd and Rush to leave you feeling comfortably numb.
As Friday night gets under way, the main stage will have a mix of sounds; from the funky synth pop hits by Vuromantics, to the alternative rock group Mollyanna and their lead singer, Bernadette Dales who sounds like a cross between The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan and Hayley Williams from Paramore.
Headlining Friday night’s main stage is At the Arcade, a blues, rock and indie band from Rotherham who launched onto the music scene at the 2016 beer festival.
Two acts will take to the Boardwalk stage on Friday night with indie cover band, Ruinetti, upping the ante with songs by The Libertines, Courteeners and Gerry Cinnamon. They will be followed by Handsome Dan and the Mavericks who will bring a bit of modern ska to the festival for those who like to skank to the sound of Madness and The Specials – baggy trousers and all.
Saturday’s doors open at 12pm and the two stages will be packed with talent to end the festival on a high.
Indie rock band, Matilda Shakes, start off a busy Boardwalk stage on Saturday afternoon and will be followed by Re-Creation and their classic 70s rock hits from Bowie to The Beatles. As evening arrives, be prepared to be wowed by voodoo pirate blues band, Papa Legba’s who will set the stage for rockers, Bloodlines.
Finishing off the Boardwalk lineup is Ian Dury and the Blackheads, a tribute to the late and great son of new wave punk rock.
Over on the main stage, the fun starts with The Leathernecks and their energetic performance of indie hits from The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys.
To end the festival in style, Saturday’s main stage will also have double headliners from two of the country’s finest tribute brimming with swagger. Kazabian, the UK’s number one tribute to the mighty Kasabian, will be crying out loud as they set the Magna stage on fire, before rock n roll stars, Oasis Maybe, will be giving a supersonic tribute to the Gallaghers to close the event.
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, Rotherham’s Real Ale and Music Festival is proud to be back and celebrating the best of British.
Sup, Sup and Away
Over 150 beers from local and national breweries plus wines, Prosecco, cider and the NEW gin bar
Live music throughout the event from a host of local bands and tribute acts
Find the full music line-up on their Facebook page
- Thursday 27th February 6pm-11pm £8 entry
- Friday 28th February 6pm-11pm £10 entry
- Saturday 29th February 12pm-11pm £10 entry (or free re-entry with the 2020 RRAMF glass)
- Free entry for veterans and active service men and women (proof required on entry)
Book your tickets online: www.magnarealale.uk
Proceeds will go towards Maples Cancer Care Centre in Rotherham
Where: Magna Science Adventure Centre, Templeborough, Rotherham S60 1FD
X1 Steel Link service drops visitors right outside Magna