Everything you need to know about Rail Ale Festival 2021

After its cancellation last year due to COVID-19, Rail Ale Festival is back with a bang.

By jimmy johnson
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 4:15 pm

The famous Rail Ale Festival is back at Barrow Hill Roundhouse. Train rides, live music and beer – what’s not to love?

With a gargantuan list of beers and ciders, as well as a stacked lineup of musicians and bands (hosted by none other than Craig Charles of Red Dwarf fame), it’s clear that they have pulled out all the stops this year.

After a year of absence, train enthusiasts and beer lovers alike will be over the moon at Rail Ale Festival’s reemergence.

Rail Ale Festival

What is there to do?

Aside from the selection of over 350 real ales at Rail Ale Festival, there’s plenty to do and see (or should that be hear and taste?).

Train rides are a huge part of the festival, but they will only be taking place on Friday and Saturday.

Instead of this, Thursday will feature the “Rail Ale Party Night” which will be hosted by the aforementioned Craig Charles. Highway Child will play on this day, as they have done before at the festival.

In addition to this, from 12-5pm on Thursday, a day session will take place at Barrow Hill Roundhouse. Children are welcome at this event, as it shuts before five. Kids can attend all days of the festival, but must leave on Friday and Saturday before 5pm – from then on, it’s an event for 18-year-olds and above. You can bring your dog too, but they may be frightened or agitated by the high volume of the event.

On Friday, the festival will be accompanied by Phil Ashmore and the Unit 5, Wake Up Call and The Aups, all of whom provide a great variety of musical styles and genres.

Saturday’s musical line up will be more rock-based. The lineup begins with Crossroads, followed by acoustic artist Steve Littlewood. To cap the night off, a covers band known as Retro Rock will take the stage, playing classic rock anthems from the 1980s to the 2000s.

On both days, the Rail Ale Train will operate from Roundhouse Halt to Springwell. There is also a free, dedicated shuttle bus service that ferries passengers between Chesterfield railway station, Chesterfield town centre and Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

Furthermore, if you’re hungry, you can always visit the food court, which provides everything from pork pies to pizza. If you need a pick-me-up, don’t worry – they’ll be serving coffee, too.

Times, Tickets and Prices

If you’re planning on visiting the event by car, Barrow Hill Roundhouse provides a car park, complete with disabled spaces.

Event Prices:

Thursday (12-5) £6.60

Thursday (Craig Charles Funk & Soul Night) £19.80

Friday (12-11) £9.90

Saturday (12-11) £9.90

All tickets come with a free commemorative glass and a programme. It is worth booking your tickets sooner rather than later, as the organisers have not ruled out limiting the amount of people that can attend due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Tickets for the Rail Ale Festival can be purchased from See Tickets. Tickets for the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Night are sold separately, also on See Tickets.