First beer festival at Gilbertson Park gets the thumbs up from punters

A quiet start to Saturday after a busy night n Friday as Gilbertson Hall hosts the beer festival. Photo:Dave Donaldson

The first Shetland Beer Festival, which took part at the Gilbertson Park in Lerwick last night and today, was voted a big success.

The event was to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and run by the organisers of the biannual Relay for Life which will be back next May.

Well over 200 people came through the doors of the games hall last night, and after a more subdued afternoon a good turnout expected again tonight.

Music was provided by a variety of local bands including Mirka, Da Bashies, Vair, Sheila Henderson, Brian Morrison, David Bisset and Loveshack, with DJs also taking a turn.

There was plenty of entertainment for youngsters in the afternoon in two marquees on the training pitch next to the games hall, while a barbecue also did a good trade.

Beer was the main ingredient, however, and it was excellent to see a range of draft ales available, along with bottles, alcohol-free beer and soft drinks.

No less than five bars were inside the hall, run by Beervana, Thistly Cross Cider, JW Gray, Lerwick Brewery and Shetland Reel Gin, while a separate bar manned by members of Lerwick Amateur Swimming Club (LASC) served up a range of “mocktails” for those too young for alcohol.

Manning the pumps! Guizer Jarl Lyall Gair and Steve Lamming give a toast to a successful festival. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Relay for Life chairman Martin Henderson said members of his commitee had become aware of other beer festivals being held for charity on the Scottish mainland and someone had suggested a local one.

“We are always trying to do fundraisers for the event and we thought ‘why not give this a go’,” he said.

“The first port of call was discussions with Cancer Research UK about the appropriateness of holding a beer festival under the charitable banner of Relay for Life.

“We looked into that and they said they were happy with us to proceed with it.”

Mr Henderson said the next stage was finding a venue suitable for the occasion, followed by holding meetings with the Shetland Health Promotion team about getting the right message across.

“This is just a social event and a family occasion … to enjoy the music that’s on offer and have a good time with friends and people you have not seen for a while.

“On Friday night it was very enjoyable. The atmosphere was very relaxed and very sociable and everybody was thoroughy enjoying the night. The feedback has been very, very good.”

He thought the “mocktails” bar, run by the LASC, had been a very welcome addition to what was on offer.

“That’s a good thing to put on,” Mr Henderson said. “That option for people who are not drinking. The idea is to have it inclusive for everybody.

“It’s a lot of hard work in a short space of time and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our main committee and also the support of the volunteers and musicians. We can’t forget them.”


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