There was the rare opportunity to get drunk in church recently as the inaugural Grosmont Beer and Music Festival took place.
Held at St Matthew’s Church on August 30-31, the event was opened on the Friday by the Reverend Christine Hadden-Reece, who pointed out that any reluctance at the first suggestion of a beer festival in a church should be dispelled.
Organiser George Morton explained: “Not only were the monks renowned for their brewing of fine ales, but Christine was also suprised to discover the story of Saint Brigid of Ireland. Born in the year 457AD, St Brigid gained notoriety for turning bathwater in the beer to the delight of not only the lepers in her care, but also to visiting clergy.”
Friday afternoon saw a steady stream of callers to the church, among them a group of ‘gallon walkers’ partway through their trek of eight rural pubs, as well as Coast-to-Coast walkers who sat in the sunshine and watched passing steam trains.
This was followed in the evening by an open mic session and the church echoed to the sounds of folk musicians, ukelele bands and even a spot of heavy metal.
The event continued on Saturday with Mr Morton, Grosmont’s Sub-Postmaster and beer-buyer for the Crossing Club, proudly explaining the origins of each different brew.
Then from 7pm the church was transformed into a concert venue with cloths and tea-lights on tables.
Throughout the evening the dancefloor heaved as revellers danced along to the music, including the Vicar herself. Bands to perform included Robin Hood’s Bay’s District 504, folk foursome Roundell and singer-songwriter Shona Mairi.
Mr Morton added: “The whole event was magical and judging by the number of those who attended asking ‘when can we do this again?’ St Matthew’s could well become a venue for regular community events in the future.”
A cheque for £1,100, the proceeds from the Festival, was presented to the Reverend Haddon-Reece by representatives of the Crossing Club.