I have been covering this event for several years now and, although I enjoy it, I must say that I am running short of new ideas to make my review a little different from the previous ones. This time I think that I have nailed it.

It is always a pleasure to visit the beautiful building which is the Corn Exchange and on Saturday I got to see quite a lot of the outside as well as the interior. I arrived a couple of minutes early and joined the end of the queue which stretched down the Calls. Being on the guest list rather than a paying customer I am sure that I could have waltzed to the front and walked straight in but I am a David Beckham rather than a Philip Schofield so took my place in line.

Nearly there.

Queueing is great, especially on a pleasant evening, as you can have a chat with those around you and get a bit of a flavour as to why they are there. In this case it was obviously either a love of rum or the desire to find out more about it. The other great thing about a queue is that I have a captive audience for my awful jokes. Fortunately for those within earshot, the line moved quickly and efficiently once the doors were open so they didn’t have to put up with me for very long, although to them it must have seemed like a lifetime.

Nice T-shirt

Once inside I had a stroll around the stands and then caught up with the PR chap for the event, Simon Fogal. We went downstairs to the stage area and food stall to have a catch up. Simon is the drummer in a groovy beat combo called I Like Trains and a couple of other band members were there so I was able to look reasonably cool for an hour or so, if only by association. What a pair of great chaps they turned out to be and didn’t make me feel in the least bit out of my depth. Simon, on the other hand, had entered me in the Speed Daiquiri-mixing Competition which is what made this article easier to write as I had not participated in the past, only looked on.

Rum Drum

The last time I worked behind a bar, there were only two choices of cocktail; lager and lime or a pint of mixed. Anyway I gave it my best shot – see what I did there – and managed not to make a total fool of myself. When I learned that the first prize was a satisfied glow rather than a month in Barbados, I thought that I would concentrate on just getting it right so that I could enjoy the fruits of my labour. My competitive spirit – there I go again – took over and I was able to top up my rum level for the rest of the night simply by sucking on my jacket sleeve, where most of the liquid had gone.

I didn’t trouble the judge. Photograph by Tom Martin, cheers mate, and provided by Chapter 81

By this time the music was in full swing with a great band followed by the dancing girls. It was as though the West Indian Carnival had decamped from Chapeltown to Vicar Lane for the evening.

The band and the dancers

The masterclasses were also taking place with talks and demonstrations on; Cuban Rum, Indonesian Rum – who knew? – The Mystery and Magic of Sugarlandia, and Diplomatico Rum paired with music, possibly a rumba?

Proper cocktails

There was a cocktail bar, where they were made properly, which also sold beer and soft drinks should you be so inclined so all bases were covered. Latitude Wine and Liquor Merchants were in attendance to sell bottles to take home, including ones from their co-sponsors of the event; Nusa Caña, Three Cents, and the organisers of the Daiquiri Contest, Monin.

This was the sole food outlet – geddit?

All in all this was a further step up in the series of Leeds Rum Festivals which gets bigger and better each year. Can’t wait for the next one.

I would like to leave you with a thought based on a fact I learned the other day from watching a programme on American Football where one of the team sponsors had a similar logo to that of Rolling Social Events. We all know that fruit and vegetables can get you into a heap of trouble should you be an innocent young lad like me; from the aubergine emoji, which I will never use again, to the emblem of this event, the pineapple. It might just be in the USA, and I am single so it doesn’t affect me, but, should you display the image of that fruit upside down it indicates that you and your partner are open to ‘swinging’. So to you, my lovely readers, and Rolling Social Events, I say, keep your pineapple erect, unless of course…..

To see what events Rolling Social have coming up, please go to https://rollingsocialevents.com/events

The tour dates for I Like Trains are at https://iliketrains.co.uk/shows/ Note the Leeds date on 1st October.

Featured image from Rolling Social Events, all other photographs, except for the really good one, by Stan Graham

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