With tickets going on sale this week, what better time to let you know the rough shape of what this year’s festival is going to be like:
BREWERIES & BEERS
As in previous years, we’ll only be able to confirm the breweries who’ll be at IMBC, and the beers they’ll be pouring, closer to the festival itself. Some of these breweries will be with us for the entire weekend, and others will only be with us for either the first half of the festival (Thursday/Friday) or the second half (Saturday/Sunday), with the changeover happening in advance of the opening session on Saturday. We do this both to give the many people who attend multiple sessions some variety, and also to allow as broad of a range of breweries pour as possible.
We are as committed as ever to ensuring that the festival remains sustainable in every sense of the word – in that light, we’re working with a handful of international breweries to have their beers transported to the festival in a way that uses the most carbon efficient modes of freight. This will be a similar number to the amount we had in 2022. These will supplement the best independent breweries currently operating across the UK as selected by our beer team, of whose beers the festival was set up to celebrate and advance.
We are still in the process of finalising the line-up for the festival, and hope to be in a position to reveal the vast majority of those who will be attending in July – in line with the dates we announced our line-ups in 2019 and prior.
There are always breweries that we’d like to have with us, but who are unable to attend due to various circumstances: if your favourite brewer isn’t on the list when we do announce, we can only apologise. If you are a brewer and have questions for our beer team, you can find them on [email protected] – or if you’d like to attend our trade session, read on below.
FOOD, NON-BEER, & TASTINGS
We will have drinks that are alcoholic but not beer, as well as soft drinks, available at the festival, as well as our food village and tastings operating at every session. We will announce all details regarding these as soon as possible, and well in advance of the festival.
TICKET PRICES & REFUNDS
Despite a rise in associated costs due to – well, the world – we’ve frozen our ticket prices for IMBC 2023. We’re also doing the same for tokens for those who purchase them before the 17th June. Tickets will be priced at:
Thursday Evening (5.30pm – 10.30pm) £14.50
Friday Morning (11am – 4pm) £14.50
Friday Evening (5.30pm – 10.30pm) £19
Saturday Morning (11am – 4pm) £19
Saturday Evening (5.30pm – 10.30pm) £19
Sunday (1pm – 6pm) £14.50
Full Fat (all sessions) £75
Your ticket gains you admission to the festival, as well as a commemorative glass to keep (or to leave, if you’d rather not take it). To be clear: drinks tokens, ticketed tasting sessions, and food are not included with your ticket
We appreciate that there is a lot that can happen between now and October, which is why we have tried to be as generous as possible with our refund policy. Refunds on both tickets and pre-ordered tokens will be available up until 11:59pm on Wednesday 20th September 2023 – after this point, we will be unable to provide any refunds under any circumstances as all of our team will be on site, preparing for the festival.
For the first time ever you’ll be able to pre-order bundles of tokens alongside your ticket, at a discounted rate that won’t be available anywhere else – £25 for 10. We’re not able to say definitively what the token price will be at the festival due to inflationary pressures, but our price for tokens on the door will be higher by a not insignificant amount.
Pre-order can only be done at the point of the ticket being purchased, as your pre-order will be linked to your tickets – we’ll be handing them out as you enter the festival. This ability will also only be available for the first month of tickets being on sale, as a thanks to those who purchase early.
Tokens will function in the same way as they did in 2022: namely, that it’ll be one token for one third of a beer across all four days*.
Following your feedback and changes with our payment system, we will also be reinstating the ability to sell back unused tokens to the festival at the end of each session.
It’s been a long old while since we last changed tokens, so we’ll have a completely new token for IMBC 2023. We do this periodically for a number of reasons – firstly, as we need a certain amount to be able to run the festival and we lose a couple from year to year; secondly, to limit the ability to counterfeit them (which has happened in the past: we know, we know, life is wild). For that reason, we won’t be able to accept tokens from previous years.
*If there are any beers that we get in that have to break this pricing structure, we’ll make this clear and obvious well ahead of the festival – but this would, in any case, only be a handful of kegs across the entire festival.
One of the recurring themes in feedback given after last year’s festival was dissatisfaction with the speed of admittance, especially at the start of each session. With that in mind, we are reviewing our processes around this in order to make sure you’re in Victoria Baths for as early as possible: we’ll communicate these closer to the festival – but rest assured that it is something we are actively working on.
As with previous editions of the festival, for security reasons we’re unable to allow re-admittance to the festival once you have left your session, and tickets are not transferable between sessions under any circumstances.
If you want to get involved on the day of the festival, we’d love to hear from you. In exchange for working one session at the festival, we’ll give you:
£25 Nell’s voucher upon completion of your shift,
A free session at IMBC, with 10 free tokens,
Our volunteers will be responsible for working the bar, but there is some flexibility, and we’ll always do our best to match up your skills with a role suited to them: however, we’re unable to guarantee any particular role. In advance of the festival, we’ll throw a briefing session where we’ll feed you (probably Nell’s Pizza), and get you a pint while we go over what helping out at the festival may be like. Apply to be a volunteer here.
Following some hiccoughs with the issuing of tickets for our trade session last year, we’re opening applications for our trade session as of RIGHT NOW, and will be closing at midnight on the July 31st. Email [email protected] and our team will get back to you.
Our trade session will be starting at 2pm on Thursday 5th October and rolling through to that day’s evening session. It open to those who work in the industry, as well as hospitality at large. Numbers are limited and this year we will be asking for a £5 donation to be made for every ticket, which will go towards supporting the excellent work that Mind Manchester do.
Please note that an application for a ticket does not guarantee that you will be allocated a ticket for this session, with the decision of our team being final.
In addition, for the first time ever we will be running a series of industry only events around the festival. Details on these will be announced closer to the festival, and these will be open to all in the industry, regardless of whether you are attending the trade session.
INDY MAN BEER CITY (IMBC FRINGE)
One of the best parts of getting all of these great brewers in the city together is that they all want to have a party somewhere – which is why Indy Man Beer City, our fringe event program – is such a big part of the festival. These can range from Meet The Brewer events, through to tap takeovers and – in some cases – just full on, all night parties (reportedly)
As ever, we’ll be publicising all of the fringe events going on across Manchester (and further afield) on our website, to our mailing list, and through our app – if you’re a bar throwing your own fringe event and would like us to tell people about it, get in touch with us on [email protected]. If you’re a bar that would be interested in hosting an event with a brewery, you can get in touch using the same form, and we’ll send your details out to all those attending the event for them to reach out and organise an event.
We’ve been working to ensure that our event is accessible to all those attending and have measures in place to make sure everyone is able to enjoy their time with us. Victoria Baths itself is a Grade II* listed building, which presents various barriers to creating an accessible event for all. So we’ll be continuing to make sure we put everything we can in place to allow anyone who wishes to attend to do so comfortably and safely. We’ll be continuing with our previous measures, like lifts into the pools and queue assistance, but we’ll be expanding on these to help you enjoy your time with us in the best way possible. We’ll be sharing our plans with you as we head towards October, but in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact Festival Coordinator and Inclusion Lead, Becca, at [email protected].
CHILDREN / DOGS
Sorry to group them together but people always ask at the same time! Children are very welcome to attend IMBC, but our licence means it can only be before 7pm on any given session, and they must always be accompanied by a guardian. Dog-wise, guide dogs are welcome but the rest of our canine friends have to stay at home. Victoria Baths is an old building with lots of nooks and crannies, and we advise that IMBC is a busy, noisy environment.
INCLUSIVITY & SAFETY AT IMBC
IMBC does not tolerate any type of harassment, bullying or assault based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, body size and physical appearance. The festival was created to bring like minded people together to celebrate what we all love in an environment that is as safe as possible and we continue to uphold this.
Whenever safe, practical and possible, we will be led by the needs and wishes of the person who has been targeted when we are planning and determining the consequences for inappropriate behavior or abuse at our event.
We will not serve products with branding that we perceive to be sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or promoting or inciting any other form of discrimination. Our decision on these matters is final.
As ever, the team will be working together to continue to keep this year’s event safe and welcoming for everyone, and we’ll once again share with you all how we’ll be doing this. We’ll be ensuring that our staff team, breweries, traders, security and volunteers are all clued up on our processes and what to do in the event of an incident, and we’ll have members of the core team trained to support anyone that may experience anything that stops them from having a good time. We can prepare for all of this, but the overall aim is to prevent anything from happening in the first place. This is where you come in. So make sure your crew act responsibly, call out any problematic behaviour and tell us if you have any concerns. Don’t let your actions or anyone else’s ruin the experience for someone else.
If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, please contact our Festival Coordinator and Inclusion Lead, Becca, at [email protected]