With the World Cup and the Queen's Golden Jubilee nearly upon us it looks like the summer of 2002 will be one to remember. Jackie Annett reports
Pubs all over the country will no doubt be packed during England's World Cup matches, especially when England's game against Sweden kicks off on June 2.
But that's not all they have to celebrate. Despite fears that support for the Queen's Golden Jubilee would be low following a dip in the Royal Family's popularity, it seems that most of the nation is up for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Queen's succession to the throne.
Just last week, thousands of well-wishers turned out to greet the Queen as she continued her Jubilee tour of the country. Many licensees are planning spectacular events to mark the Golden Jubilee weekend and will be taking advantage of the fact that the government has approved a blanket extension allowing pubs to open until 1am on June 4.
The British Institute of Innkeeping's Georgina Wald said the weekend of football and royal celebrations should provide the perfect opportunity for licensees to prove to local authorities they are responsible enough for licensing laws to be relaxed. Ministers are also likely to be watching the celebrations with interest to see how the trade copes with such a bumper weekend.
Georgina said licensees should invite their local mayor and local authority licensing members, to show them that pubs can be a fun environment.
"This is the nearest to licensing reform we are going to get for a while," she said. "Because of the football and the Queen's Golden Jubilee, pubs will be opening early and closing late.
"The Jubilee and the World Cup offer a really good opportunity to show that pubs have a value in the community. We're terrified about local authorities having control of licensing so let's start to get them on side now and invite them along to show them that pubs are good fun and responsible and not something that needs controlling with a rod of iron."
Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Summer Party, Bruno Peek, offered some practical tips for licensees.
He said: "Most publicans will have got their preparations well underway now. If they are holding an event inside their pub or anywhere on their premises then they don't have to contact the local authority, but they do if they are holding a street party or something similar.
"My advice would be to liaise with the local authority and emergency services if you are planning a street event. It's also an idea to get the locals involved and to advertise your event," he added. "We have been delighted with the response. You can see that the weekend will be a success by the fact that 1,700 beacons, similar to Olympic torches, will be lit this year, compared to just 102 back in 1977."
Richard Williams of law firm Joelson Wilson - thePublican.com's legal team - had some words of wisdom to add.
"Licensees need to remember that just because they have been granted a blanket extension until 1am on June 4, this does not include entertainment and dancing," he said.
"Those pubs that already have a public entertainment licence (PEL) can apply to have it extended on an occasional basis," he added.
"Some local authorities have been taking a relaxed view and have said they will automatically extend all PELs in their area. But others are charging anything up to £400 for just two extra hours."
What pubs are already doing
- Most party preparations are already well underway. The licensee of the Uplands Tavern in Swansea is planning a "Jumping Jubilee" party and is staging indoor and outdoor concerts every evening from Friday through to Monday June 3.
- The Barron Cross Inn in Leominster, Hertfordshire, will be offering giant Jenga, a bouncy castle, a big fair and maypole dancing.
- The Crane in Basildon, Essex, will be hosting a sumo wrestling event as well as a casino night. Licensee Susan Gadd said: "On the Monday we'll have a disco outside and there will also be tombola stalls, sack races, egg and spoon - all that kind of thing for the kids - and we're hiring a burger van as we don't do food. We've had a casino night before and it was extremely successful. It's all completely free and we're able to offer free soft drinks and crisps for the kids."
- The Three Horseshoes in Scottow, Norfolk, is holding a Rocking Reign Show and village fair. On June 1 there will be morris dancers, outdoor line dancing, a barbecue and a bouncy castle among other events taking place.
Monday evening will see bands play music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and current era, finished off by a disco until 1am.
Murray Thexton, licensee, said: "It's all about being part of the community and putting something on for everybody. We've been working with the parish council as well so have managed to do it all pretty cheaply, but we are selling tickets at £3 for the Monday evening and children under 14 get in free."
- The Fox and Duck in Stotfield, Morayshire, Scotland, is aiming to host the country's largest-ever tea and garden party. Staff at the pub will have to serve more than 4,000 cups of tea if they want to get into the Guinness Book of Records.
- Lesley Perrett, licensee of the Jolly Sailor in Poole, Dorset, will be hosting a crab race and outdoor band for her customers. She said: "The Monday is the fun day. I have persuaded some of our local fishermen to run a golden crab race for children, which will start at 10am along the quay front with a gold medal and prize for the winner.
"In the afternoon we still have the table service but I am going to split the cost of a live band out the front playing rock 'n' roll with the pub next door and we will have a barbecue on the go. We have made beach type 'stocks' designed as a rock 'n' roll couple, where people put their heads through and for 50p a go you can buy three wet sponges to give them a soaking."
- Laurel Pub Company is in talks with Cancer Research and the official Golden Jubilee office and is helping to organise relay teams to carry the millennium flame to Westminster Cathedral.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "We are just finalising the pubs that would be used en route. We hope to be able to either host an after-relay buffet or before-relay refreshments."
- Pub quiz supplier World Wide Quiz Supplies is offering Golden Jubilee pub quizzes to licensees who call 01785 618173
More information is available online at www.goldenjubilee.gov.uk or by calling 0845 000 2002.
World Cup v Golden Jubilee
Giant TV screens are to be put up around London so that people can watch the World Cup during the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen's 50th anniversary celebrations clash with England's game against Sweden on Sunday, June 2.
People are expected to flock to Green Park, St James's Park, Trafalgar Square and The Mall to watch the football, while also joining in the Jubilee events.
And other cities across Britain are also having screens installed to enable workers and shoppers to follow England's fortunes in the tournament.
But the bad news is that a survey has found that more people will be shunning the summer's Golden Jubilee celebrations than taking part.
The poll was conducted two weeks after the death of the Queen Mother when it was thought support for the monarchy had increased.
More than half of those surveyed - 55 per cent - are now saying that they definitely will not participate.The survey, conducted by Lloyds TSB LifeIndex, contradicts reports from official organisers and the trade.