Time called on Hitchin festival which can’t find venue

TIME has been called on a busy festival which attracts thousands of people a year, because it cannot find a new venue.

The future of Hitchin Beer Festival is under threat.

And organisers North Herts CAMRA have been forced to cancel next year’s festival in the meanwhile, because they cannot find anywhere to hold it.

The festival, which has been running for 20 years, used to be held at the town hall which is now undergoing a major redevelopment project.

Chairman Brian Mason said: “We can’t find anywhere, so we’re having to abandon it completely.

“We’ve looked at the boys’ school, the girls’ school, and lots of places, but no where’s big enough. No where is as big as the town hall. We can’t have a marquee because it’s too expensive.”

There had been hopes the weekend-long festival, also ran by Hitchin Round Table, could have been held in the town hall for another year.

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But those were dashed in autumn when North Herts District Council said it would be too expensive.

The event, which is usually held in early spring, is one of the main events in the town’s annual calendar and the largest beer festival in the area.

“It is a massive shame, really disappointing, but there’s nothing we can do,” added Mr Mason.

“People have said about going to somewhere like Royston, but it’s out of the way and people won’t go too far out of the town centre.

“If they [councils] want people to use facilities, there needs to be a bigger hall. We can’t reduce the number of beers, it wouldn’t work and wouldn’t be worth the effort.”