Pompey Beer Festival Cancelled!

Sad news indeed. I did hear a rumour about the cancellation a few weeks back but hoped it wasn’t to be so. checking Southsea Food Social this morning confirmed my fears. I’ve only been the once last year and had already built it in to my yearly calendar as an unmissable date. What, getting married. Sorry. Pompey Beers festival is on.

Read more from organiser Shep Woolley about why the festival has been axed HERE and thanks to a comment from ‘Beer Drinker’ tou read more HERE and see all the comments surrounding this issue.


  1. Paul Gonella

    10 August

    A real loss and a short sighted blunder by the new management company no doubt.

  2. Beer Drinker

    10 August

    from a News article of 26 April 2011:


    “Portsmouth Cultural Trust, which took over the running of the city’s Guildhall on April 1, has decided to axe this year’s real ale celebration, which was due to take place in mid-August.

    But organiser Shep Woolley fears this could lead to the event going the same way as the Southsea Show, which was cancelled in 2006.

    The trust had said it would honour any bookings made at the venue before it took over.

    But in an email to Mr Woolley, Claire Looney, the culture transition project manager, said: ‘Clearly the beer festival is organised in a very different way from all the other events and activities in the building.

    ‘We have decided that instead of rushing to get everything in place for an event in 2011 we would like postpone this year to work on something – potentially larger – for 2012.”

    However, when asked via email, this reply came from Ms Looney (the ‘Culture Transition Project Manager’):

    “The Portsmouth Cultural Trust took over the operation of Portsmouth Guildhall on 1st April and we have been working hard to honour the provisional bookings which were made by the previous building operator. Regrettably we had no indication or detail of any of the booking arrangements of these events until after 1st April.

    We approached the co-ordinator of the Beer Festival in early April to offer him the opportunity to deliver the 2011 Festival but on a slightly different contractual basis – in line with the type of arrangement made with other community bookings, and to work with him to build a bigger and hopefully better festival for 2012.

    It was his choice not to proceed with the event in the Guildhall on the revised basis and I understand that he is now considering alternatives. I do appreciate that the event involved a considerable number of people and that for many this was a sad decision which it is perceived will kill the event.”

    So, according to Mr Wooley, who has been running the festival successfully and profitably for many years, it was the new managemnt trust who pulled it; According to Ms Looney, it was him.

    I leave it to the readers of this web page to decide whom to believe.

  3. Rusty Sheriff

    10 August

    Bad news… 🙁 I really enjoyed it last year.
    It’s the only way I remember when my anniversary is too. I’ll be in trouble this year.

  4. Pudding Snack!

    11 August

    Ha! Nice one Rusty.

  5. Gareth C (@thegreatmorass)

    11 August

    Time for a Strong Island Beer Festival I think…..what about the Pyramids as an alternative venue?

  6. Beer Drinker

    11 August

    There is a new beer festival, on the 14th and 15th October 2011 at the Groundling’s Theatre (near the Hard), see:


    and click on ‘news’.

  7. Tristan Savage

    11 August

    Interesting stuff. Cheers Beer Drinker. I’ll do a post on that.

  8. Shep Woolley

    27 December

    Its now the 27 December – and I’ve just found this comment page. I fully understand what ‘Beer drinker’ has to say about who was /is really to blame – well take it from me – twas not I that pulled the plug. I needed the trust to underwrite the finances because I am not VAT registered, they refused. Miz Looney made no alternative offers in fact after our last meeting on was convinced it would go ahead.but t sank again. (very sad) She said NO & only She – . maybe you should be asking for the minutes of the meeting that pulled the plug – I think you find that there are none!
    If you feel that I am some sort of money mogul, then I’m afraid you are wrong. Of course I made a profit and I worked hard for it – from January til August & that hard work kept the prices LOW and quality UP. If the trust had have suggested that it went ahead and it was then reviewed for 2012 I would have understood and welcomed any input… but it was NO and NO and NO & believe me despite what the council leader says and what Mz Looney comments – they robbed Pompey of its beer festival. Not I.

  9. Shep Woolley

    27 December

    sorry about the spelling on the last post.. I was drinking the left over beer….. good gig on new years day – at the Phoenix in Duncan Road the proceeds to St Simon’s homeless funds.

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