September News Letter



One of the big weekend events on the Otley calendar takes place this month. The Otley Folk Festival will run from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st of September inclusive, and there will be formal or informal singing and dancing taking place in just about all the town’s pubs. I asked every pub just 2 questions – because of the number of people who’ll be visiting the town again, and camping in or just outside town.

  1. Are you happy for people to use the pub toilets, even if they don’t buy anything? – The answer was a unanimous YES, although they did all say could you please ask beforehand – just to be polite, and so they know why you’re wandering suspiciously round the pub (my wording)! And
  2. Do you sell drinks for consumption off the premises? Obviously the usual restrictions on drinking in the streets apply, but I was specifically interested in off sales of bottles or cartons to take ‘home’ [to the camp site!] Again the answer was so close to being a unanimous YES, that I’d just advise you to ask at the bar, wherever you might end up! NB – The Horse and Farrier was the only one that specifically said they sell 2 pint draft cartons to take away.


Because there’s so much happening over that weekend, I haven’t had room to include all of the usual quizzes, beer offers, meal deals and the rest this month, but I’ll get back to the nitty gritty in October. However, I have managed to find a few more news items that might be of interest, which I’ve included below – so I do apologise for the amount of information you’re confronted with this month! Just a special mention of the 2 pubs North of the river – for anyone staying at Oakwood Park Campsite on Newall Carr Road, The Roebuck is only 5 minutes up the hill from there, and The Yew Tree about the same distance down the hill towards town. Both are well worth a visit – both for their food and the quality of their beer. Enjoy the weekend [responsibly]!


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This increasingly popular event will take place this Sunday at Knotford Nook on Pool Road from 10:00 to 16:00. It has grown from a 100 vehicle event that was going to be a one-off in 1996, to a 500 vehicle show that attracted about 7,000 people last year. It looks like being glorious weather this weekend, so why not get down there, and call back into one of the pubs in Otley on your way home? All proceeds go to the ‘Hang on to a Dream’ charity, to make the dreams of seriously and terminally ill children come true. More details about the event are on the OVTE Website.




It was with a newly acquired sense of status that I pitched up at this year’s Great British Beer Festival – not just on the normal public days but on the first day’s opening session for the Trade, those kind folk at CAMRA having offered me a Trade Day ticket in my capacity as a representative of Otley Pub Club.  A good tip for next year if you want to do the same – get involved and join the committee!  GBBF is a fixture in my annual calendar and this year was no exception.  As ever, the range and choice of beers available is huge and is a massive credit to the growth and diversity of the British brewing industry.  The industry continues to develop and respond to changing tastes and is opening up new audiences for real ale, but at the same time we see the paradox of the loss of pubs available to sell the growing product range of the British brewers.  There was a notable mood change this year, a growing recognition that protecting the pub at the heart of every community has to reach the top of everyone’s campaigning agenda.  Of course, our President was on hand to press home these points to media and fellow political animals alike, so OPC was very well represented!


As for the Champion Beer of Britain, Yorkshire came out very well again  – not only with the overall Champion being Taylor’s Boltmaker, but there needs to be a mention in dispatches for one of my favourites which won in the specialist bottled beer categories – Saltaire’s Triple Chocaholic Stout, a real beauty of a beer.  My own favourite at the festival also came from Yorkshire this year – an unusual beer from Ilkley Brewery called The Trader, a Caribbean Pale Ale.  It is best described as having a decent beer and a Bounty bar at the same time, high notes of coconut featuring heavily but trust me, it is a cracker.  It was run a close second by the magnificent Gunpowder Mild from Coach House Brewery in Cheshire, which has made it to a couple of Otley’s fine pubs in the last few weeks.


Put the date in your diary for next year and maybe we can organise an even bigger OPC delegation!


Ray Georgeson




It’s already well-known that our local MP and President of Otley Pub Club, Greg Mulholland, is Chair of the all-party Parliamentary save the pub group. Well now the MP for one of our neighbouring constituencies, Keighley and Ilkley – Kris Hopkins – is the new Community Pubs Minister! Keighley has 3 times as many pubs as Otley [although with 5 times the population!] and is the home of the new Champion Beer of Great Britain – Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker – so he comes from the right place. Maybe we could suggest to him that community pub clubs along the lines of OPC are a good way to support and promote existing businesses?





You might remember that Otley won a special ‘highly commended’ award in the competition to find the best dressed town in Yorkshire during the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. The banners showing every pub name in French were specifically mentioned by the awards committee, as was the bicycle-themed Carnival. A plaque was subsequently presented to the town, and is currently on display in the reception area of Otley Courthouse.




The next time you think “How much?” when told the price of your round, just comfort yourself with the thought that at least a single bottle didn’t cost £31:83 – and that’s the cheapest of the 10 beers highlighted in this article. But the last time I went into The Curious Hop on Newmarket in Otley, they did have at least one of the 10 on sale on the counter [shown in this list at a price of £106!!]




This year we’ll be holding the Annual General Meeting in The Royalty on Yorkgate, at the top of Otley Chevin. This iconic pub only re-opened earlier this year following a major re-furbishment after a long period of closure. Since then it has seen business increase in its public and lounge bars, and especially in the large all-glass restaurant with beautiful long-distance views, and which overlooks the airport.


The meeting will contain the usual reports from the OPC Chair and Treasurer on the business of the past year. Everyone is welcome to attend, there will be a special barrel from Cropton’s Brewery available alongside the other real ales on the bar. More details of timing and agenda will be included in the specific invitation to the meeting, which I’ll send out a week in advance.


As usual, we will welcome any volunteers who want to help on the committee during the coming year. With the increasing importance of social media in advertising events, we especially need someone to run a Facebook page and to help with regular input about Otley’s pubs to our Twitter account. And if you’d love an excuse to visit all 20 of Otley’s pubs every month, we could do with help collecting information for the monthly newsletter. Or if you’d just like to join us for a drink and a chat once a month [until we can persuade you to take on some of the work!] then you can do that as well. We hope to see you at the AGM.






Did you know that by volunteering to work over the Folk Festival weekend, you can get a free weekend pass to all events? All you have to do is work for 2 sessions, and for the rest of the weekend just enjoy the music. Janet Neve still needs more volunteers for her team, so if you’re interested she’d love to hear from you, on 07875 233955.




Otley Pub Club believe that the way Otley’s pubs are able to come together to provide venues for the Folk Festival is something we should all be proud of. The Folk Festival should be used to promote the same atmosphere and enthusiasm in the town that we saw for the Tour de France. Otley Folk Festival is the biggest annual festival hosted by the town, with folk fans coming from the local area and around the country to enjoy the concerts at the main Folk Festival venues as well as the sessions in many of the local pubs. However, in the past people have commented that despite the great efforts of the Festival organisers, the town itself didn’t look as though a major festival was taking place. OPC believe that the town should be decorated with bunting, as it was for the Tour, to ensure that all visitors know that there is a festival happening – which makes it more attractive and increases visitor numbers.


The main sponsor of the Folk Festival, Black Sheep Brewery, have offered to provide Black Sheep bunting for any of the pubs and venues that would like it, enabling them to join in. The hope is that it will really feel like a festival town for this year’s Festival – and subsequent Folk Festivals too, if the Town Council could take on the task of ensuring that Otley is properly decorated. OPC are happy to provide a couple of members to assist with putting up bunting, with the Town Council and others.


Greg Mulholland MP, Otley’s MP and President of Otley Pub Club commented:

 “Steve Fairholme and his Folk Festival team of volunteers do a brilliant job putting on the festival, but it often seems as if it is assumed they will do everything. They and the Festival deserve the full backing of the town and this needs Otley Town Council to really get behind the Folk Festival this year. We need to help create an atmosphere that will ensure everyone who comes to Otley that weekend knows there is another big event taking place and make them want to come back to visit the town regularly”.  




Official programmes are on sale around town at £2:50 each, so please do buy one to help the Festival’s finances, and to help you find your way around the different concerts. Below are the formal events in the Folk Festival programme that will take place in the pubs around town over the weekend. [NB: At the time of writing, The Red Lion was closed, but had announced that it would re-open on Friday September 12. The timetable below assumes that it will be available for Folk Festival events as advertised.]


Friday 19th

18:00 Singaround at The Old Cock

20:00 Acoustic concert at The Horse and Farrier.

20:30 Open stage – book a slot – at The Red Lion.

20:30 An evening with Mike Wood, and The Ghosts of West Chevin Road in The Black Horse.


Saturday 20th

11:30 Guitar workshop with Mike Wood at The Black Horse.

11:30 Zeke Deighton with ‘Country Life’ at The Red Lion, followed by The Heathen Kings; Hex; & Dave Vermond.

13:30 Acoustic concert with Monkey’s Fist at The Horse and Farrier, followed by Gloria; & Les Barker.

19:10 Acoustic concert with Anna Shannon at The Horse and Farrier, followed by Nick Brooker; The Creel; and Inpo.

19:30 Acoustic concert with Inpo at The Red Lion, followed by Wooden Hill.

20:00 Concert at The Black Horse, with Bruce Gomersall, Zeke Deighton, Kevin & Neil Garrat, and Anne Jackson.


Sunday 21st

12:00 Sea Songs at The Red Lion, with Robin Garside, Zeke Deighton and Jim Lawton.

12:30 The Hall Brothers at Whitakers.

14:30 Acoustic afternoon with Backyard Buskers at The Horse and Farrier, followed by Philip Cockerham Trio and Phil Snell & Gerry Cooper.





As I said, I’m being very brief here this month because of lack of time and space, with apologies both to those pubs who’ve given me very detailed programmes of events and to those whose quizzes, music and menus can’t be fitted in. Back to the usual detail next month.


THE BLACK HORSE – Morris Dancers in the stables yard all FF weekend.

ALSO – The Hotel is still looking to employ more part-time staff, so if you’re interested in joining them, or know anyone who might be, you can contact them on 01943 466383, or


THE CROSS PIPES – still has limited accommodation available for FF weekend. Disco every Friday and Saturday evening, and disco karaoke every Sunday from 14:00, including FF weekend.


OTLEY TAVERN – Music on FF weekend:

Friday 21:00 Jamie Ansbro

Saturday Midday music session; 21:00 Redhouse

Sunday FF session musicians welcome

Also live music on Friday and Saturday evening every week.


WHITE SWAN – Music on FF weekend in a marquee out back, with a covered drinking area:

Thursday evening, Glen Folk

Friday evening sessions

Saturday Glen Folk

Sunday Bar Room Buskers and other acts

All musicians welcome any time.




THE ROYALTY – Live music every Friday evening, including FF weekend.


THE ROSE AND CROWN – Folk duo on Saturday the 20th from 16:00 to 19:00.


THE OLD COCK – Everyone is welcome to bring along an instrument and ‘have a good old jamming session’ over FF weekend – but remember, it is a strictly over-18s pub, so no children I’m afraid!


THE YEW TREE – New Landlords Deborah and Wayne welcome you to Sunday lunchtime carvery, Wednesday teatime pie night, and new SKY TV in the tap room. On Friday 26th at 19:30 they have a Paul Heaton [Beautiful South] tribute act, and at half time in the Sunday night quiz they now have the new ‘Hey Up!’ playing cards bingo game.


THE BOWLING GREEN – Tax Equality Day 24th September. Prices reduced by 7.5% for 1 day only.


WHITAKERS – Quiz Thursdays, Live music Saturdays


THE BAY HORSE – FF artistes/session musicians and singers welcome all FF weekend.


THE BLACK BULL – All star variety show, with folk, skiffle, comedy and jazz, between 13:30 and 17:30 on both Saturday and Sunday of FF weekend. And don’t forget landlady Audrey’s 60th birthday party – now put back to Saturday 27 September.


THE OTLEY TAP HOUSE – Awaiting confirmation from Leeds licensing that music is permitted in the pub. French wine tasting evening 30 September, £10 a head including nibbles.

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That’s all for now – with usual apologies to those I’ve missed out or misrepresented, and thanks once more to everyone for giving me their time and information.




Bob Brook

OPC Membership Secretary

Friday 12 September 2014

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