Reading Beer Festival 2012 – 3 days to go

After enjoying being part of the event last year, I was quick to volunteer again this time round. Today was my first session – getting up at 8am on a Saturday was pretty hard and same again on Sunday – although only a half-day.

The weather wasn’t ideal, a strong contrast with the sun of last year and the ground was starting to tear up under the tyres of the lifting vehicles. Today’s work involved moving barrels around and laying plastic flooring, both pretty simple jobs. I did find it mildly amusing that I started organising people and tried to work out easier ways of doing things.

Yesterday the barrels were delivered and stored in a corner of a big tent. Today, they had to be sorted out and moved to the correct section of scaffolding. We only had a few  trolleys so there was a lot of rolling and pushing of barrels to get them relocated. This was probably the hardest work I’d done since … ooh, must be last year’s beer festival.

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Last year I was working on scaffolding which sounds simple but isn’t. The whole length of shelving supported by the scaffolding has to be as level and straight as possible down the length of the huge tents so that the barrels sit safely and the ground is nothing like a bowling green.

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As I said, huge tents:

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The temporary flooring (not the heavy duty metal road for the vehicles) had to be assembled sheet by sheet. It’s marvellous stuff and clicks into place without too much brute force with a sort of toggle-and-slot arrangement. Drinkers will now be able to visit the toilets without sinking into music festival amounts of mud.

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Staff (all volunteers) have a tent all to themselves with kitchen and hot/cold drink facilities. After a hard morning’s work, lunch of chilli bean soup and baguettes was a very quiet affair.

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The staff tent has a supply of beer too…

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Last year the weather was so warm on some days that beer in some of the barrels at the festival burst out past the plugs and a lot of effort was made to keep the cooled with water and “condoms”. This year it’s so cold that we may have to keep the beer warm for punters.

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