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Summer Slipping Away as Festival Season Arrives....

August. Still the summer, but with autumn breathing down its neck. The nights are drawing in, and there is now the whiff of another phase of the year in the air.

That means that the past few weeks have seen the start of the festival season, as following the Cross Keys in the middle of August, we had the Brighouse Summer Festival, and then over the Bank Holiday Weekend just gone we had the Indyfax Festival in Halifax, plus the Rock of the North Festival at the Cock of the North in Hipperholme.

I managed to visit all of them for at least a short part of the time. The Brighouse Summer Festival lived up to its name by starting off with winds plus the odd shower, which did contribute to a few delays in the bands performing. I saw a curtailed set from The Rainey Street Band, then after a beer at the Market Tavern, I headed over with some friends to Millers Bar, where as I mentioned a week or two ago the beer choice is getting more interesting, with, amongst others, Blackjack and Brewsmith making an appearance. I had a sojourn to the always reliable and ultra-friendly Commercial/Railway, before heading back to the music where Blood, Sweat, and Beers were on top form in their shorter than usual set.

I was back on the Sunday where I unfortunately missed the Hall Brothers, but did manage to catch an excellent performance with some of his quality songs from Roger Davies, the best I have seen him play in ages. Roger, whilst he was solo at the festival, now mostly performs with a band, is regularly doing gigs up and down the country, and is well worth checking out. It was a bumper day on the musical front, as later we headed up to the Beck for another brilliant exhibition of bluegrass and Americana from The Rainey Street Band, with support from the ever-entertaining JP Totham. Despite what was probably a more low key event than in previous years, it was an excellent weekend!

During the intervening week I met our Tom in Huddersfield at the Grove, first visit there for a while, and enjoyed a superb pint of Blonde from Little Critters, a relatively new microbrewery in Sheffield, and having also enjoyed some good beer from Neepsend, at the recent Cross Keys beer festival, which also comes from Sheffield, it looks like another trip to that city could be on the cards.

The Bank Holiday weekend arrived, I made a brief visit to the Indyfax Festival at the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe before Town's lunchtime kick-off versus Guiseley (which, incidentally, they won 2-0), where I enjoyed an excellent pint of The Pale Armadillo, from the Tempest Brewery from the Scottish Borders. After the match, I headed over to York with my brother, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law to meet up with some more of the family for a meal. In terms of beers and pubs, I enjoyed my first visit to The Falcon Tap, whilst the best beer I had was a pint of Bad Co Comfortably Numb at The Old White Swan, a Nicholsons pub on Goodramgate. The price, though, at a ridiculously eye-watering £4.05 for a 3.8% beer, made me decidedly uncomfortably numb! I know York is a tourist spot, but taking that into account, it is still an outrageous price - although not as bad as the price of a pint of Cloudwater DIPA which was on sale for £13.40 at a place in London recently! We caught up with rest of the family for a lovely meal and a good catch up for a few hours. I said my goodbyes to everyone, and managed to enjoy a quick pint of Yorkshire Sparkle from Treboom at the Maltings on my way back to the train.

The following day was our Tom's birthday, and with Annie we headed into Halifax for an hour or two to enjoy the Indyfax Fesival. This had previously been held at the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe only, but this year was extended to include The Grayston Unity, The Pump Room, and the Alexandra, with a number of events taking place at each of them across the weekend. We called in at the Grayston Unity, which had live music on in the back yard, and we enjoyed a set from local singer-songwriter Jess Thristan. The crowds had descended on the Grayston to the extent that the queue for the bar started outside the front door! We enjoyed an excellent pint of Brew York X-Press as we stood in the sunshine. From there we went to the Alexandra, similarly busy and as good as ever. Good to hear that their 150-capacity music venue next door, The Lantern, is set for a November opening, with a couple of artists already booked. We made our way to the Victorian, again busy, the beer was good, but we ran out of time to get to the Pump Room. This was a shame as it celebrated its first anniversary over the weekend, and had opened up its downstairs bar. By all accounts it was very busy too, and congratulations to Tony and the team on their anniversary. 12 months ago I wrote about their arrival on the local scene here.

We needed to get to Hipperholme to catch some of the Rock of the North festival. Blood, Sweat, and Beers were performing, and without the time constraints of the previous week we got a full two and a half hours of superlative rock and blues with the band in excellent form. The place was very busy, and fortunately unlike the Spring Festival, which I wrote about here, the bands were able to play outside. It was a lovely evening, and good to catch up with a lot of old friends there.

More festivals follow in the next few weeks in the local area, including:
22nd/23rd September - Rastrick Festival, at St John's Church, Rastrick; Todmorden Beer Festival, at Todmorden Cricket Club
28th -30th September - Halifax and Calderdale Beer Festival, at the Town Hall, Hebden Bridge.
13th-14th October - Bailiff Bridge Beer Festival, at Bailiff Bridge Community Centre.

One notable absentee from the list is the Huddersfield CAMRA Beer Festival, which it seems has not been organised this year, which is a shame as it was always worth a visit. Despite that, there are still plenty to go for if you get the chance, and I am pretty sure I will be visiting one or two of the above!

And so, the sun may be setting on Summer, but there is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks....

Sunset over Brighouse


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