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Pavilion situation casting major doubts over famous beer festival
TIME may be called on a popular beer festival because of doubts over the reopening date of Weymouth Pavilion.
The complex is being handed to the community to run by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council but there are concerns how long the tender process will take and when a new group will be able to move in.
That is posing problems for organisers of forthcoming events including the annual Weymouth October Beer Festival due to take place over the weekend of October 4-5.
The real ale festival takes months to plan but organisers from the West Dorset branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) are holding fire until they know whether the venue will be open.
It was held at Brewers Quay for eight years until the building’s closure in early 2011. Organisers were delighted to move it to the spacious Pavilion Ocean Room and around 1,500 people attended last year.
Branch chairman Dave Harris said: “There are few other venues in Weymouth to hold a two-day event for 1,500 people.
“It may be that we have to consider ending the festival if we can’t find a suitably central place to hold it in future.”
The Pavilion will close at the end of May. Frontrunner in the tender process is likely to be Weymouth businessman Phil Say who will run the theatre as a non-profit community interest company.
CAMRA spokesman Michel Hooper-Immins said the festival boosted the local economy at a quiet time of the year as many people attended with their families for the whole weekend.
Mr Hopper-Immins also praised the Pavilion staff, adding: “Duty Manager Andy White and his team have done so much to help us in the two Octobers we have been in the Ocean Room.
“They have all helped to make the festival the great success it has been.”