Isle of Wight Classic Buses Beer and Walks Weekend Update
The popular Isle of Wight Classic Buses, Beer and Walks Weekend, which ran annually from 2014 until 2019, will not return in future, according to event co-ordinators Ben Bartram and Tim Marshall.
The event, a collaboration between the IW Bus Museum and IW CAMRA, had grown from an initial attendance of 3,000 visitors and 40 buses to 20,000 visitors and 105 buses by the 2019 event. It was estimated to contribute up to £0.5m each year to the Island economy. Visitors travelled from all over the UK, as well as international visitors, which included a vintage bus driven across from Belgium. The Covid-19 pandemic prevented the 2020 and 2021 events from taking place, but equally gave the organisers an opportunity to reflect on the stress and strains of previous events.
Tim Marshall of IW CAMRA said, “The decision to “call time” on the event was not an easy one to make. The event was organised by a small group of volunteers with specialist backgrounds who gave their time at no cost. However, with planning taking nine months to complete, this would be unsustainable in the long term. Also, the loss of some key members from the organising team, including the sad passing of IW Bus Museum chairman Bill Ackroyd during 2021, had been contributing factors, alongside many restrictions that would be necessary to implement, even in a post-Covid world”.
Ben Bartram from the IW Bus Museum added, “Although the event will no longer be held in the same way, true enthusiasts of beer and classic buses are promised to still be well catered for. The IW Bus Museum will hold major weekend events on 14th/15th May and 8th/9th October 2022, when we hope to attract a reasonable number of visiting classic buses to the Island, operating services in the Ryde area and beyond. It is hoped that visitors and locals alike would make a weekend of it and visit the IW Bus Museum, ride on the classic buses in service, whilst also visiting local pubs and venues.
”Tim Marshall also said “IW CAMRA are hoping to collaborate with the IW Bus Museum in the future on some small pop-up events. A joint campaign with Southern Vectis is also likely, reminding the public that it is possible to travel around the Island 365 days of the year, visiting many great pubs and venues whilst seeing the sights from the top deck. ”On behalf of their respective organisations, the event co-ordinators would like to thank all the landlords, advertisers and the dozens of volunteers, but especially all the vehicle owners who brought their buses from all over the UK to take part.
A new style of event will occur over the weekend of 8th/9th October.