Where and When
On Monday 14th July the scene was being set for the third Oxted Beer Festival and I was given the honour of photographing the event from construction to destruction and all that happened in between. The event took place at Oxted's very own Master Park on Church Road on Friday 18th,19th and 20th July. The marquees were supplied by Crown Marquees who did a grand job.
The festival took place during the hottest week of the year, thankfully the Westerham Brewery made sure there was enough beer to satisfy the thirstiest punter!
I went equipped with two Nikon bodies one with my 70-200mm lens and the other with my 24-120mm lens and Nikon Speed light. I was dipping in and out of the festival around studio and location work I had booked in. This is my account of what I saw and photographed.
Oxted Beer Festival was the brain child of Peter Hanrott, he just wanted to get a few friends together on Master Park for a beer or two with some live music, some cricket on the green to raise money for the good of Master Park and for the Oxted and Limpsfield Cricket Club. This year The Oxted and Limpsfield Community Sports Association (the “OLCSA”) has been created to run the festival and hold all the funds raised so that local sports clubs can apply to the association for funding, thus all funds raised are ploughed back into helping local sports clubs and infrastructure projects including Master Park.
From this tiny thought grew a fun filled community spirited festival that the locals have come to love and enjoy! With the added benefit that Peter can share it with the majority of Oxted now. Without the help of volunteers from the front gate, to the clearing up, the event would not have been able to take place.
Beers, Cricket, Live Music and More...
Local businesses were invited to sponsor a firkin, with over 100 opting to get their name out there and support this well attended and worthy event. This year saw a huge variety of beers to choose from that were sourced from breweries all over the country. I sponsored "First Light" at 5.5% proof, it was pretty strong even for the discerning beer drinker! I could just manage a quarter of a pint! The bar was manned by volunteers, from the ladies serving the Pimms to the men and women pulling the pints, it was a community coming together at their best, and it showed, everyone was in good spirits.
All sponsors and their guests were invited to a VIP event to sample the beers from 5pm - 7pm on the Friday before the gates opened to the public and the party officially started.
Having photographed the Beer Festival last year this years event was on a much bigger scale and had the same vibrant atmosphere.
The currency for the festival was the "Stilling" where your pounds were exchanged at
"The Beeroo de Change".
Friday night did not disappoint with live music from Payback to get the party swinging, I had to remind myself I was in Oxted and so lucky to have this on my doorstep!
Just a tip when you are photographing bands in low lighting conditions, up your ISO to at least 1600 or better still 3200, don't use flash unless you want to kill the atmosphere!
The other bands appearing over the weekend, to name a few were Eric and the Claptones, The Reservoir Frogs and on Saturday evening Randy and the Rocketts - they were all so good and got the crowds on their feet.
During the afternoon families were there to enjoy a relaxing time, it was lovely to see so many familiar faces come together for a good time.
If beer wasn't your tipple then you weren't disappointed as there were pitchers of Pimms to cool you down and wine, Champagne, with soft drinks too!
This years main sponsor Natterbox supplied the glasses in half and one pint sizes which were given out on entry and kept by each person for the duration of their stay and to take home as a souvenir of the occasion.
You could even watch the golf, cricket and F1 on the TV in the main marquee, so there really was something for everyone.
Each day there was cricket on the green to watch,
Oxted & Limpsfiled CC XI played 3 times, once with each of the following:-
Kalibazar Wanderers, Old Hamptonians CC and Reigate Priory CC who entertained the crowd.
I had the opportunity to photograph the cricketers in action, some of whom were professionals from Jamaica.
There was even a streaker who interrupted the game on Saturday evening, and disappeared as quickly as he arrived!!
For the first timeThe Riot Bar was introduced in a separate marquee, for those who wanted to chill out and sip cocktails to a different beat.
As well as supping pints there were food stalls to curb those hunger pangs including Oxted's very own "Gurkha Kitchen" and the new "Thai Pad" restaurant (well worth trying), there were pizzas prepared and cooked on site, dim sum, burgers, curries and Jamaican patties, something to suit every taste.
Thanks for reading, if you didn't go this year, its well worth going to next year, you won't be disappointed!
My next newsletter will be in two weeks time about my experience at the Wilton Classic and Supercar Show in Salisbury.
Bye for now.