For most of that 44 year period the festival has been held at Merton Farm, just outside Canterbury, but with just six months to go, the festival organisers have been stunned by the farm’s owners decision to pull the plug on the event.
No reason has been given for this, but in a statement, festival organiser Andy Mitchell said “I have been unable to set a date for the festival this year, as I have been advised today (finally) that Merton farm do not wish to facilitate us going forward”.
act with a potential new venue and full details will be available on here as and when details can be confirmed".
"Please be assured that it is my/our intention to still hold the festival this year and I will let you know as soon as I can”.
The first festival took place back in 1975, and was held in Canterbury’s Dane John Gardens. It continued to be held on this site until 1984, when it moved to the Kent County Cricket Ground for a two year spell.
In 1986 it moved again to Gravesend’s Woodville Halls; the only time it has been held outside of Canterbury. The venue didn’t prove to be a success, and the following year it moved again to its current site at Merton Farm, at Nackington, just outside Canterbury.
There was often a distinct “farmyard” smell about the place, particularly during warm weather, and the setting itself was definitely a “Marmite” one. Some people detested the cow-shed, describing it as unhygienic and totally unsuitable for a beer festival whilst others loved its quirkiness and laid-back atmosphere.
My opinion lies somewhere in the middle, in so much that I really enjoy the rural setting of the festival, but am not quite so keen on the cow-shed itself. It can become stiflingly hot inside, although this can be countered by nipping outside from time to time. Do this too often though, and you risk losing your seat.