Live music to be served up at beer festival

The Simpsons Malt beer marquee at the annual Berwick Food and Beer Festival always attracts real-ale enthusiasts, keen to sample the wares of a great range of artisan brewers.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 27 July, 2018, 14:00
Richard Simpson, vice chairman of Simpsons Malt, with produce from some of the local artisan brewery exhibitors at the Berwick Food & Beer Festival.

Visitors can now also enjoy gin from the Kelso Gin Co, Thistly Cross Cider and a range of fine wines from Berwick’s own Pier Red.

Attending for the first time in 2018 will be the Cheviot Brewery – a new micro-brewery based on the Ford & Etal estate. Cheviot Brewery will be joining Credence Brewing, Born in the Borders, Bear Claw and many others.

This year’s Meet the Brewers opening event on the evening of Friday, August 31, will be particularly lively as the festival is staging its first family-friendly ceilidh from 6.30pm to 8pm, held in conjunction with The Maltings Theatre.

The ceilidh band Heads on the Block, which has been getting crowds in the mood for dancing for more than 25 years, will be guiding dancers through all the usual favourites, including the Dashing White Sargent and the Canadian Barn Dance.

Kids are very welcome at the ceilidh and in band member Jim Smith’s experience, they often make the best dancers

“Children are brilliant at a ceilidh, they often pick up the dances quicker than the adults, they just go for it and have no inhibitions,” said Jim.

After the ceilidh, foot-sore dancers can take a rest and enjoy the music of award-winning singer-songwriter Iain Petrie.

The live music continues throughout the Food & Beer Festival weekend.

In the marquee on Saturday afternoon you can catch the Mike Davids Band, an eight-piece band who will be playing a mellow, yet rocking, blend of blues, swing and jazz.

In the late afternoon it’s rock ‘n’ roll from The Killer Cats. Legendary Brazilian bluesman Andre Christovam, who has performed with Carlos Santana, follows. The Steve Morrison Blues Band and local band Hardly Original will round off the evening.

On Sunday, Borderline will be bringing their brand of funk to the festival, followed by some mellow 60s tunes from Driftin’ Back.

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Inside the Barracks itself there will be the usual array of food and produce stalls to browse.

Keep an eye out for new stalls this year which include Lilliard Gin, the Game Larder, Katy Cloud Marshmallows and Fairley’s Fine Condiments.

Co-director of the festival Ruth McNeely is delighted with the mix of new and experienced stallholders:

“We are delighted to welcome many of our regular stallholders back once again,” she said. “As this is our 11th festival some of our original traders have now retired and we wish them a very happy and well-deserved retirement.

“Although we are reaching capacity for this year’s festival it is lovely to welcome a few new stalls this year filling in the gaps of those who have left. We are once again so grateful to our sponsors without whom this event would not be possible. It is with their help that the Berwick Food & Beer Festival can keep attracting more and more visitors to Berwick, increasing the overall revenue for our town.”

Younger visitors will enjoy the two on-site museums and can get hands-on in the Kids’ Kitchen. Three to five-year-olds can create their own picnic box while older kids can make mug-cakes.

Those who want to test their food knowledge can have a go at identifying a weird and wonderful array of fruit and veg. Entry to the festival is free for under-12s.

When you get peckish the festival’s fantastic street food trucks will be waiting to cater to all tastes. From the Tandoori Naan Hut to the mouth-watering burgers of Well Hung & Tender, there will be plenty to keep you going all weekend.

Tickets are: Weekend, £10; daytime, £3; Saturday day and pm, £6; Friday pm £3/Sat pm £5.