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Huge beer festival coming to Ipswich Corn Exchange

PUBLISHED: 18:30 05 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:05 06 March 2019

Stevo Long and Ed Barnes of Hopsters  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stevo Long and Ed Barnes of Hopsters Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The Bluetones' Mark Morris and Youtube hit Lewis Floyd Henry will headline at the event.

Do you remember the glory days of the CAMRA beer festivals at Ipswich Corn Exchange? If the memory has sparked a bit of nostalgia in you, you’ll be elated to know that one local businessman is rallying to bring back beer festivals to the town centre for good…and the first one’s planned for this September.

Ed Barnes, a local DJ and owner of Hopsters craft beer shop on St Nicholas Street, says he’s overjoyed to revive what will be simply called the Ipswich Beer Festival, and promises it will herald a new era for this kind of event in Suffolk’s county town.

“The main reason we wanted to do this is we really loved the old beer festival at the Corn Exchange,” Ed says. “It’s a brilliant venue where you can fit in tons of beer, so we can offer a great selection. And the difference between now and when there was last a beer festival is huge with the explosion of craft beer. There are so many good breweries and there’s so much more choice out there. We want to bring together both keg and cask beer – the best of real ale and the best of craft beers. It’s not going to be like old school festivals. We’re about making it accessible and bringing beer into the 21st century with great entertainment and food too. We’re so spoilt for choice when it comes to beer today and I want this to be a modern platform, for modern beer. I can’t wait. I’m very excited!”

Already a few months in the planning, Ipswich Beer Festival will run in five sessions across September 19 to 21. Ed says he hopes to have dozens of breweries and cider makers at the event with around 150 different beverages to try. Several East Anglian breweries are already on board, from award-winning Burnt Mill and Ampersand, to Green Jacks and Adnams, with hopes Adnams may also set-up a bar showcasing their spirits.

A new beer festival organised by the owner of Hopsters in Ipswich is coming to the Corn Exchange  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotosA new beer festival organised by the owner of Hopsters in Ipswich is coming to the Corn Exchange Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotos

While food offerings are still being planned, much of the entertainment is already in the running. “We’ve 100% got Mark Morris from The Bluetones which I’m really chuffed about,” says Ed, “and we’ll have Lewis Floyd Henry too. He is ridiculously cool and his Youtube videos go viral all the time. He plays rock ‘n’ roll mashed up with hip hop and I think he’s ridiculously good. I’ve been a fan of his for a while.”

Ed hopes the beer festival will bring an added dimension to the local what’s on scene, and says we need to make more of all the great events the town has to offer. “Ipswich is amazing fertile ground for businesses. If someone says nothing’s going on, I think there’s an open opportunity to do something. I grew up in London and if I’d stayed there there’s no way I would have the life I have, because everything I’m doing would already be happening. Now, if I see an opening for an event or idea, I say ‘I can do that’. For example, Lewis Floyd-Henry’s never played in Ipswich before. I think him and Mark Morris will sell tickets on their own!”

If the first festival is a success, Ed plans to host two a year. Tickets are £8 for Thursday evening and £12.50 for Friday and Saturday sessions.

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