Leeds Rum Festival has announced it is to move from its home at Leeds Corn Exchange and go online this September.
Organisers, the Leeds-based Rolling Social Events, say they held on to it being at the historical building for as long as they could but recognise it’s not safe ‘to bring hundreds of people together in one space’.
“We’re so disappointed to not be at the Corn Exchange this year,’ says Co-founder Samantha Fish. “The team there have always been so supportive of us and we really hope to be back, but even if the Government guidelines changed before September 19th, we just don’t feel comfortable gathering en masse at this stage.”
Launched in 2015 the annual event brings hundreds of different Rums together to celebrate what is known as the world’s most diverse spirit. Ticket holders get the chance to sample, talk to the professionals, and join in the popular masterclasses that explore the history of the spirit, its many guises, and flavours.
However current ticket holders and potential customers need not be too concerned as the event has moved online.
When COVID-19 hit, and lockdown began, Rolling Social Events adapted their business quickly and began hosting the ‘Sip Along’ – a social distance social bringing people together from their own sofas.
“Rolling Social Events mission is ‘to create modern experiences that connect our guests through food and drink’,” Sam continues. “We are passionate about this, and we weren’t about to let a pandemic take that away, so we got busy.”
The company has hosted seven Sip Alongs so far and most have sold out. The ticket holder gets a generous sample pack delivered to their door, a printed guide and a link to join the event on Zoom. There they are greeted by the experts in their field and are taken through a tasting session.
“The Sip Alongs are great fun,” says Sam. “We’ve hosted, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Whiskies, and Wine. People even get dressed up as if they were going out. We’ve discovered a whole new market of people who rather like socialising at home – be it for childcare, financial restrictions, accessibility, or just not wanting to hit the town. It looks like the Sip Along is here to stay!”.
Leeds Rum Festival is now set to get the same treatment with ticket holders getting 16 Rums to sample, a pre-made cocktail, mixers and seven speakers from the Rum industry.
“Whilst we’re sad to not hook up with our regulars, and slurp, sing and dance, we are really excited to still bring the Rum Festival to those who want it,” Sam concludes. “We are ready to bring a bit of the city centre into homes across the country.”
Leeds Rum Festival Goes Digital is on Saturday September 19th from 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Tickets are £33 including booking fee and are on sale at https://www.ticketarena.co.uk/events/Leeds-Rum-Fest-1
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