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Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 October 2014
Opening hours: Wednesday - 6pm to 11pm, Thursday to Saturday - 11am to 11pm
*Advance Tickets for both Friday and Saturday have now sold out with only a small amount of pay on the gate admissions available on the day on a strictly first come first served basis.
As last year, the festival will be fully open on Wednesday evening, including entertainment on the bandstand and catering stalls. All beers and ciders that are ready will be on sale, except the limited number that are being judged in the SIBA competition the next day, which should mean around 650 different cask beers will be available to try. This gives you a chance to sample some of our rare and interesting beers ahead of the traditional Thursday opening and at a discounted admission price. The East Midlands CAMRA Regional Cider Competition will be being held during the Wednesday evening, so you will be able to view this if you wish.
Tickets are again being sold as a package, which includes a commemorative glass (refundable at £3) and 10 beer tokens (refundable at 50p each) - two tokens will buy you a third of most beers and ciders and three will buy a half pint. CAMRA members are given a further five tokens on production of a current membership card on entry. You can bring your own Govt. stamped glass if you wish - but if you want to drink thirds it must have a third of a pint line on it as we will have no measures available. Customers can opt to take an extra 6 tokens in lieu of a commemorative tankard if they wish
The package price for all day, any time, admission on Thursday, Friday* and Saturday* is £15. On the Wednesday evening this price is discounted to a bargain £10!
'EarlyBird' tickets are available on Thursday, Friday* and Saturday* for those who wish to enter the festival before 1pm, but please be aware there are no pass-outs or re-admissions. This is for special advance ticket holders only, not for customers paying on the gate, and the discounted price for EarlyBird tickets is £12.50. Customers with an EarlyBird ticket will not be admitted after 1:00pm and the tickets are not refundable.
So go on get your advance tickets - you know it makes sense!
Finally and sadly, a few negatives that we have to make clear and will be enforcing this year:
Sorry no dogs are allowed on site - this is a City council ruling that applies at all times of the year.
Pass-outs will not be available again this year, due to abuse of their use at previous events.
Due to licensing restrictions, under-18s are not allowed to purchase tickets and they are not permitted to enter the beer tents, age will be verified on entry. Under 18's are allowed into the castle grounds during normal Castle opening hours (City Council admission charges may apply) but they will be required to leave site at 5pm .
Cash entry will be possible at the full prices quoted above (no EarlyBird discounts). However entry is dependent on available space in the grounds and there may be long queues at peak times, and occasionally cash entry will have to be suspended altogether. This is why it is strongly recommended you buy advance tickets to this massively popular event, as this guarantees access.
Not got an advance ticket?
So when are the best and least favourable times to attempt entry without an advance ticket?
Wednesday Evening. - There is usually plenty of space and you are virtually guaranteed to get in. All of the bars and stalls are open and there is a full programme of entertainment. Some people feel this is the best session to attend.
Thursday – Whilst Thursday’s are becoming increasingly popular we have yet to see a situation where attendances have reached capacity, although Thursday evening gets pleasantly busy. Pay on the gate admissions are unlikely to be limited although we can’t guarantee this. We would still recommend buying an advance ticket to be 100% certain and if you are able to arrive before 1 pm an Early Bird ticket will save you £2.50 (these prices are not available on the gate).
Friday - The Friday session usually fills up gradually during the afternoon and by early evening we are often at capacity. The earlier you arrive the better your chances of being able to pay on the gate, but once we reach capacity it is “one in” “one out” with long queues possible.
Saturday - This is becoming the most problematic day with regard to cash admissions and unfortunately organisers do get some disappointed cash customers who don’t get in at all. By 9.30 am there will usually be a queue of would be cash payers starting to form and sometimes the policy of one in one out system comes in as early as 12 noon or even earlier. Of course very few customers wish to leave that early and so customers can queue for lengthy periods once we reach that position. It is then not usually until the evening when more than a slow trickle of cash customers can be let in.
CAMRA apologies that they are unable to give a better indication than that regarding cash admissions. They wish they could increase the capacity of the venue to allow more customers in but we presently use most of the suitable available space.
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