The Rum Festival – Newcastle Saturday 5th May 2018

The Rum Festival Newcastle Review 2018 by the fat rum pirateThe Rum Festival are actually a number of Rum Festivals that tour around the country. This is their second year and they have expanded to cover even more towns and cities all around the UK.

Which is one of the things I really like about The Rum Festival events – they are pretty much on your doorstep. This particular event was even more convenient (for me) as there was a Daytime and Night-time session. So I opted for the daytime event which kicked off at 12 and finished at 5pm.

The Rum Festival is organised by Lucy Douglas. The vibe is relaxed and Lucy sees the events as a party with a serious theme of Rum Education. Done in a relaxed and welcoming manner. I’m sure some of you may have attended Beer or Whisky festivals in the past and found them a little “stuffy”. Full of older men with beards and a touch of the anorak about them.

Entry to the Rum Festival varies from around £8 to £15 depending on whether you get a concession and/or book an early bird ticket. I’ll give you a rundown on how I found the experience.

First up was finding the event. Which was fairly easy – it was moved quite late on from Hoults Yard (where it was last year) to the Student Union building a Northumbria University. Which is a bit more central. I had been around 10 years ago and I was pleased to see the whole space had been modernised and brightened up considerably.

I had to queue up as it was really busy but it was an absolutely glorious day. The Steel Drum Band were playing outside, which was a really good touch and really got you in the mood for some rum.The Rum Festival Newcastle Review 2018 by the fat rum pirate

I was a little sceptical about a Steel Drum Band but they play some really good cover versions of tracks you might not expect. They really gave the whole experience a cool relaxed vibe. As the day was so hot I spent quite a lot of time outside – enjoying some great rum in the sunshine!

Upon entry you are greeted by Lucy and her team. You are handed a very nice glass and a really informative brochure/menu. This brochure details all the rum you can sample at the event. We were processed efficiently and promptly. Although the space at Northumbria University was much smaller than Hoults Yard. I think it was still busier than last year in terms of numbers. The size of the venue was also much better and less confusing than the huge space of last year.

I was also very pleasantly surprised to see people reading the supplied brochure. The Rum Festival has “bars” at each event. Categorised as White, Gold, Aged, Spiced/Flavoured etc. The brochure is broken down in that way as well giving people background on the rums they can try. It should be noted though that these are not “free tasting” bars.

The Rum Festival Newcastle Review 2018 by the fat rum pirateAs the price of entry is fairly low you will have to buy some tokens. They are priced at £20 and £30. For £20 you get to try 4 rums (including a mixer) and for £30 you get to try 6. The measures are standard 25ml bar size. To be honest some of the rums you can try would set you back around £10 in many bars, in and around Newcastle. Being perfectly honest there aren’t a great deal of bars in Newcastle with a decent rum selection. Certainly not many with as many as were on display at The Rum Festival.

There are some free tasters available from the likes of Old J and the newly formed Nelson’s Blood. As the festival travels around the country it is quite tricky to get brands to commit to so many events all over the UK.

So instead of free tasters The Rum Festival gives you live entertainment and some more exotic cocktails in addition to the normal rum bars. Not only did we have the Steel Drum band outside there was also a full Latin Style band playing in the venue – something which again really helped with the vibe and experience.

In addition to the normal rum bars was a Cocktail Bar – which was serving up a number of signature cocktails. Complete with all the panache and fancy flourishes that goes with fancier cocktail bars. Think Tom Cruise in Cocktail…only hairier and with tattoos.

The thing I like about The Rum Festival is that people start thinking about what rums they want to try. Rather than just listening to marketing and downing free shots. It’s really interesting listening to people and their decision making. I was also quite pleased that I was able to recommend a few rums, that people really enjoyed and thanked me for introducing them to! Though to be fair I do keep myself low key at such events – I don’t go around saying I have a blog etc – most people wouldn’t know me anyway, if I am being honest! And I’d look a right tit.The Rum Festival Newcastle Review 2018 by the fat rum pirate

At the event I tried a couple of new rums – I was particularly impressed with. One Love Rum was great – so watch out for a review of that soon.

It was also good to see more people going to the Aged, Gold and even White rum stands. Rather than heading for the Spiced Rum. Sure there were plenty people their going for the Spiced Rum. A lot were very keen on the Cargo Cult Spiced Rum. It seemed a bit different to last years event where barely anyone entertained anything other than Spiced!

The range of rums on display at The Rum Festival are also good in terms of value to the consumer and in terms of the price of the event. The rums are familiar commercial brands. Seeing people trying the likes of Doorlys XO and Chairman’s Reserve for the first time was refreshing.

Having events such as these travelling around the country, should have a really positive impact upon the Rum Scene in the UK. I had a really nice relaxed day out and enjoyed chatting with people just getting into rum and looking to try new things.

If one of these events is coming to a town or city near you then get yourself along. You’ll have a great day out!

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