I was kindly invited to attend the Banchory Beer Festival (family day) on Sunday 12th August with my son. It was the festival’s 5th year and we were looking forward to experiencing the festival for ourselves.
We took the stagecoach 201 bus which is great as it stops right outside the festival entrance and you can spot the festival blue tents from the bus so you know where you need to get off. Perfect, as we weren’t 100% sure where we were going. Good location!
Upon arrival I was given a reusable cup along with the festival programme and a voucher for a free case of beer from a subscription service. Inside the cup was a token to get one half pint of any beer at the festival. These items are included with each adult ticket. It’s great to start an event with a freebie! Thumbs up so far!
As I had a token for one free half pint I thought I would take this opportunity to try one of the beers (I am not a beer fan usually). The programme has descriptions of all the drinks on offer which is great as I know nothing about beer if I’m honest, and it can introduce people to something new. I chose the ‘Rippet Rasp’ – “a pale ale with a lovely burst of dry raspberries.”
I love raspberries so I hoped this would turn me in to a beer fan… Unfortunately I still didn’t like beer even with hints of raspberry flavour – I gave it my best try but ended up throwing most of the drink away. So it’s safe to say I am just not a beer fan but despite the name ‘beer festival’ there was still plenty of other fantastic drinks on offer including prosecco, gin and cider.
My next drink choice was a Prosecco with “hints of ripe golden apple” at £4.50. This was delicious and paid for using the festivals new cashless payment app ticketco.
This cashless payment style is really easy to use – you download the app, select the event you are attending, add in your payment card details and purchase a top up. The lowest amount you can top up is £15 which I found a little annoying as I knew I wasn’t personally planning to spend that. However you are able to claim a refund for the money unspent after the festival. You then just need to show your QR code which gets scanned at the bar when you make a purchase. Simple! I liked this.
During our time at the festival we heard two acoustic solo singers; Emma Hay and Cameron Brown who were both very talented, followed by some more lively upbeat duos and bands. We really liked Have mercy Las Vegas which were fun, energetic and good for a little boogie. We also heard some of the Jig splitters which sounded great before we headed off for the bus home, just missing the last of the Festival.
The stage was inside the tent along with the two bars (one for beer and cider and one for prosecco and gin) and long wooden tables and benches to sit at. It was a nice atmosphere and not too overpoweringly loud (my son is not a fan of music that is too loud inside tents but he coped alright with this one… Just loud enough for everyone to get in the dancing spirit). I think the music suited the event well and we would be happy to see Have Mercy Las Vegas on the line up for future events we attend!
Food on offer at the festival included wood fired pizza, burgers, curry/Indian food and ice cream. I made sure my son had a sandwich before we got there as he’s not a big burger/curry fan and I didn’t want to spend too much after just returning from a few days away. I however had the chicken rogan josh with rice and pitta bread from Shri Bheemas at the festival which was lovely! I couldn’t resist and it was definitely worth it, so good!
We both had ice cream (from Portsoy ice cream stall) even though it was a colder rainy day on Sunday! My son had the chocolate mint chip in a wafer ‘boat’ which was really cool and I had the Jaffa cake ice cream. This is one of the best ice creams I have had in a while… I really want more right now! Typical me, one of my favourite bits of the event was the food!
There was also a ‘kids bar’ with fruit shoots, cartons of juice, sweets and crisps so my son had some juice and treats from there. This was a good addition to the event and had a sort of tuck shop feel to it…
The Sunday of the festival was advertised as the family friendly day of the 3-day festival with bouncy castles, balloon modeller and magician, face painting etc. We didn’t see any sign of the magician/balloon modeller or any information on the day of this which was pretty disappointing. The bouncy castle and fun run inflatable went down a treat though even in the rain! My son went on these several times and enjoyed it along with lots of other children who attended.
The only kids activities were the bouncy castles, face painting and the kids bar so there wasn’t a huge amount to keep children entertained… I would have loved to have seen the magician and perhaps a little more activities suited to families. Many kids were enjoying having a little dance to the music in the main tent though so there was this too.
Best bits of the festival
• Have Mercy Las Vegas band
• The curry (Shri Bheemas) and ice cream (Portsoy Ice Cream)
• Variety of drinks on offer and describing them in the programme
• Token for a free drink included in ticket price
Room for improvements
• More family entertainment on the Sunday
• It could have been more accessible for wheelchair users etc
Overall we had a fun afternoon out at Banchory beer festival and I would be interested in going again next year… However I would like to see more family entertainment if I was to go on the Sunday with my son again. It is definitely an event to check out if you’re in Aberdeen or nearby! Maybe see you there next time? 💕
*We were gifted tickets for the event in exchange for a post however all views are my personal honest opinion.