The Midsummer Beer Happening in Stonehaven is the little festival that grew.
It started in November 2009 as the Stonehaven Real Ale Festival, staged by a few friends who wanted to put on the sort of beer festival they wanted to go.
At the time, the idea of a beer festival also offering food and live music was unheard of - and as for fairy lights round the bar, well…
The first festival was storm-born – arriving just days after Stonehaven was devastated by floods. The people of the town embraced it as relief from the misery and upset. When organisers opened the doors on that first Friday night, there was a queue snaking down Allardice Street.
The people of Stonehaven had taken the beer festival to their heart. They have ever since.
The fest went from strength-to-strength, so much so that its popularity outgrew the Town Hall. In 2015, the event moved to a purpose-built marquee in the Baird Park and became the Midsummer Beer Happening in Stonehaven.The music strand became a showcase for local talent, the al fresco food court a magnet for award-winning street food vendors and, the whole focus, the Happening was offering more than 120 different beers, curated from the finest brewers across the UK, the Continent and even the US.
Even cycling was thrown into the mix, with the challenging and hugely popular Happening Sportive drawing up hundreds of riders keen to take on the gruelling route of up to 100 miles, making it one of the biggest events of its kind in Scotland.
Today the Happening attracts 6,000 people over three days to enjoy its vibrant and special party atmosphere, including the 1,000 cyclists who took on the Sportive.
The festival though isn’t just about having a good time. It’s also about doing good. As a not-for-profit event, it has supported local charities from its very first outing. The ethos has always been that money which is raised in Stonehaven should stay in Stonehaven to help local good causes.
Overall, the event has raised a staggering £247,000 to be distributed among a wide range of charities.
Let’s drink to that!
Take a look at the funds you’ve raised and the people you’ve helped. Here’s a look at what has been raised by the festival over the years and the main charities it has helped.
Happening 2022: £62,273 raised for the Stonehaven Fireballs Association, Stonehaven Sea Cadets, Stonehaven Air Training Corps, Carronhill School, Stonehaven Folk Festival, Stonehaven Men’s Shed, Stonehaven Yacht Club, Rhythm Nation Dance and Fitness, Stonehaven Cricket Club, Stonehaven Lions, Mackie RFC Youth, Pillar Kincardine and Stonehaven Cycling Club, Stonehaven Horizon, Alzheimer Scotland - South Aberdeenshire, Guide Dogs Scotland, Scotland Air Ambulance.