Real treat for Rotherham ale festival fans

World Superbike Champion James Toseland and his band gave an impromptu performance at the Real Ale and Music Festival in Rotherham recently.
World Superbike Champion James Toseland and his band gave an impromptu performance at the Real Ale and Music Festival in Rotherham recently.

An impromptu performance by former World Superbike champion and singer James Toseland was one of the highlights at the Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival which attracted more than 12, 000 visitors.

The two-time ex-champ took to the stage with his band Toseland on the final day of the festival, held at the Magna Centre from March 5 to 8.

Among the thousands in attendance was songstress Katie Melua, who was there to support her biker turned singer husband.

Organiser Steve Burns said: “We invited James to help us to judge the champion beer of Yorkshire last year, and after agreeing to take part in the competition, he asked us whether his band could perform at this year’s event.

“It’s been one of the best kept secrets around this year’s festival and with the his support, I’m sure that this year’s festival will help us to continue to raise significant amounts of money for local good causes.”

Drinkers were in for a real treat as local brewers, including several from the Dearne such as Wombwell-based Acorn Brewery, showcased more than 230 beers and ciders.

The festival is organised and run by an army of dedicated volunteers, who manage every aspect of the event, from staffing the beer pumps to organising the entertainment.

Since 2011 the festival has raised more than £125,000 for good causes, with charities the Rotherham Hospice, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity and the Magna Educational Trust benefitting from the proceeds of this year’s event. The total is still being counted but organisers expect it to exceed last year’s figure of £40, 000.

Mr Burns said: “At Rotherham we like to do things slightly differently and since the festival began in 1992, it has firmly established itself as the largest event of its kind across the north of England.”