It is in its fifth year and it seems as though there is no slowing down as it is rapidly growing. Rumfest had something for everyone whether you were a rum beginner, to the party goer or the rum connoisseurs. As soon as we entered the main hall you were welcomed with a carnival atmosphere, women parading around in their costumes and the soca music blasting away in the background. The scene was set, the place was so vibrant and lively and it was only midday! The only thing missing in my opinion was the sunshine, a perfect combination. There were so many stalls to choose from that Zahra and I did not know where to start.
Our first destination was Cuba. We entered a replica of what was a Cuban rum shack minus the thick fog of Cuban cigars. Inside, two bar tenders were busy demonstration their cocktail skills, mixing this and flipping that whilst interacting with the audience. Our first drink of the afternoon was 'Papa San' a drink named after the owner of the shack. After he went through the ingredients with us he handed Zahra the shaker and with a little help from the guy next to her she finally got the shaker going, and was thankful she didn't get the drink all over me and the others! The end result was this delicious fruity slightly strong mixture which eventually didn't last for too long because by the time we reached outside the shack it was gone and we already had our eyes fixed on the guy just outside mixing up the mojitos, (lol)! So, with a mojito in hand we continued to make our way around the festival, checking out the different varieties of rum the stalls had to offer.
We came across a stall that was from Barbados that had a 300 year old rum, vanilla spiced rum, rums from Mauritius, Venezuela and Puerto Rico to name a few. There were master classes with top industry experts who were show casing their skills mixing up cocktails in record speed. You also had the chance to learn interesting facts and history of Rum from their seminars that were conducted at different times during the day.
We caught up with a few people along the way to ask them about their 'Rumfest experience', one group of people flew in all the way from the USA just for the festival and have been doing so for the past five years. As expected of Americans they were lively and showed enthusiasm for the festival. We also came across some rumfest beginners who were amazed at the whole idea of the event and enjoying the free drinks. One rumfest beginner we spoke to was Andre formally from the 90s British R&B group 'Damage', again like many, he had heard of the festival and it was his first time going. You also had your rum connoisseurs who took their time appreciating, admiring, smelling and tasting their way through the festival and just like the variety of Rum that was available it reflected the diversity of the people at the event. Everyone was in good spirits...no pun intended, and genuinely having a good time. At one point there was a little party going on with the people dancing drinks in hand, sort of like an indoor carnival going on, so you know I had to find myself involved with that (lol)!
After all the drinks were finished...well almost, and the music had died down, Rumfest 2011 had to come to a close for the night and if you were fortunate to purchase a ticket for the following day then it would have been round two. As for me, I had possibly had enough rum for the rest of the year (lol)! All i can say is roll on Rumfest 2012!
Click the link for more details of the festival http://rumfest.co.uk/