Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival faces final curtain

by | 1 March 2024 | Community Event, Local Charity, Rotherham

It’s an event that has been part of Rotherham’s social calendar for more than 30 years, but the Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival has announced plans to call time on the long-running charity festival, with the 2024 event likely to be the last.

Rising costs of beer, fewer volunteers involved during the planning and setting up of the event, and changing drinking habits have all impacted the viability of the festival, and organiser Steve Burns is calling upon both businesses and beer lovers from across the borough to pledge their backing.

The 2024 festival will return to Magna between 7th and 9th March and will pay homage to Rotherham’s association with the silver screen. The festival bars will be themed around the golden age of cinema, as well as giving a nod to the launch of Rotherham’s first purpose-built cinema, which is set to open its doors later this year.

Inside, the festival will feature a wide range of music, bringing together local bands and tribute acts, and for the first time, budding starlets will be given the opportunity to perform on the festival’s main stage, backed by a house band. The festival also plans to screen a variety of short films inside a specially created cinema room.

There will be four rooms of bars stocked with a wide selection of beers, ciders, wines, perries and gins, bringing together both well-loved festival favourites as well as a selection of brand-new beers, never seen before in the bars and pubs of Rotherham.

Festival lovers will be given the chance to put their name in lights on a specially created walk of fame, whilst sponsorship opportunities including beer, bar and stage sponsorships are also available. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the work of the Rotherham Cancer Care Centre, which provides a range of services to support individuals suffering from life limiting illnesses.

Festival organiser Steve Burns said: “The Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival is a much-loved annual event, and although I’m sure the news that this year’s event is likely to be our last one will be met with sadness, we have to face the stark commercial reality that our core costs have increased substantially in recent years.

“We have always prided ourselves on delivering an event that combines high-quality entertainment. A great selection of beers and sponsorship play a vital role in underwriting the costs associated with the festival; however, we understand and recognise that many businesses have faced a torrid time over the past few years, which has understandably resulted in a decline in funding.

“Ultimately, this is a charity beer festival. All profits made go to the Rotherham Cancer Care Centre; however, that means that should the festival incur losses, they are also underwritten by the charity. We have therefore made the difficult decision that this year’s event is likely to be our last.”

The Rotherham Real Ale and Music Festival was first held in 1992, initially as a fundraiser by the PTA at Oakwood Comprehensive School. It relocated to Magna in 2011 and since that time has helped to raise hundreds of thousands for good causes across the borough.

Any businesses wishing to sponsor the festival this year can do so by visiting or by contacting Cannon PR on 01709 321585 or