It is great to see familiar events returning from their virtual versions to the format for which they were designed. The latest of these is Leeds Rum Festival which is celebrating its fifth birthday this year.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to get to two of the previous live events and can’t wait to make it three on Saturday, 9th October at the amazing Leeds Corn Exchange.

If you think that you don’t like rum, that it is not cool or simply an old sailor’s drink then think again. Having said that, I know at least one old sailor who is not averse to splicing the mainbrace and downing his tot. Did you know that every sailor in the Royal Navy was given a 70ml daily rum ration of 95.5 proof at midday? I have it on good authority that, rather than down it for lunch, it was common practice to save it up and have a ‘proper’ drink before going on shore leave, which also saved money in local bars. Before you all go tearing off to the local Royal Navy Recruitment Office, this practice ceased in 1970 and now our tars are the model of sobriety, possibly!

Photo by Lusina photography

This was the only thing I really knew about rum until I went to my first festival where there were lots of people who are passionate about the spirit engaged in presentations to explain their fervour, and to offer a taste of the stuff.

A presentation from 2018

So far there are fifteen producers who have signed up to the festival as well as workshops, entertainment and food vendors. For those who think that rum is not cool, there will be a cocktail bar to prove you wrong whilst for those who think that it is an old sailor’s drink I am sure that there will be one or two there to prove you right! It is a spirit for everyone.

The event is being run by Rolling Social Events and, should your taste in spirits be wider than rum, then they are also running a Hendrick’s Gin Sip Along at The Tetley on 10th September and a Whisky vs Whiskey vs Whiskey on 24th September.

Sam Fish of Rolling Social Events lending a hand

For full details of all the above and to buy your tickets please go to

Unless otherwise stated all photographs by Stan Graham

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