Well we went to the Martina Franca beer festival for an hour or so to see what it was like. I’m not sure if the 10 or so people that searching for it found this blog went but I certainly didn’t see any other tourists. Nor did I see my water man Mario who at least gave me great directions to find it and without them it would have been an entirely wasted evening or maybe not !
The best I can say is that unlike some of the beer festivals in the UK I have been to there were no intense looking people in anoraks sipping half pints of beer and making copious notes while all around them people got slaughtered on various 8-14% proof beers with crazy names.
This appeared to be a music festival with beer and very little of either. There were just 6 different beers on offer and for €10 you got a thimble full of each beer to sample. Having picked your own favourite you could go back to the ticket tent and for €2.50 a ticket you could get a slightly larger thimble full of the amber nectar. They were all local beers made in this region of Puglia at micro breweries and the servers did look like the intense guys at UK beer festivals. Apart from one dark beer the rest tasted very similar and so your €2.50 could be spent at the beer pump with the smallest queue.
Food however was of far more interest to the large crowd most of whom had kids in tow, indeed at one stage it looked as if the high spot of the evening might have been a buggy race as about 30 mothers lined them up whilst waiting for hubby to return with the food.
As I watched while waiting for another thimble full my mind drift to
The two DJs took to the stage at 9.30 p.m. and for an hour before we left did what all DJs do down here in Puglia for some reason they shout inanely over every record. They seem to have no idea that the microphone amplifies their voice so they yell as if ordering a round of drinks in a crowded bar. The organisers of the 2 day event must have been delighted that these two guys spent the hour talking about their gig tonight at the beach whilst failing once to mention that tonight is also the second night of the festival. Mind you would anyone go again for a second night !
The only really fun bit was that the crowd quickly realised that one micro brewery had bought much larger plastic glasses than any of the other five and so the queue there grew and grew. These Martinese know a bargain when they see one.
Part of me is always secretly delighted that the region seems incapable of putting on an event that is not entirely geared to the small home market. But with the economy in free fall and most of the young people there last night almost certain to be unemployed for the whole of their lives the other part of me is furious.
No road signs from Martina, no sign off the main Martina to Taranto road in either direction, no signs at the exit as to where you were or how to get back to the main towns, not a single person working at the event able to speak a single word of another language and even northern Italians would have been challenged to find it and more importantly find their way home from it at the end.
The pub near my aged mother in West Sussex runs a hugely successful beer festival with 50 different beers and several good groups playing music. It is well lit, well signposted and doesn’t pretend to be a tourist event nor do they receive tourist funding from three tourist authorities, the E.U. and various local councils the way this one does.
I guess you have by now realised I didn’t think it a great event !!
On a happier note here is our new scopa champion who hails from our local bar with his coppa.
He always dresses up for these award ceremonies.
Damp squib is a wet firework. Now I am reliably informed that if you are down here on August 16th the feast of San Rocco that Locorotondo has a 30 minute firework display that will blow your socks off. Here is a little of last years to close with. Let’s go out with a bang.