Inclusion at IMBC 2023

At IMBC, we’ve always done what we can to make sure that the festival is a safe, welcoming and inclusive event for all. We started the event to celebrate craft beer in the UK and beyond, and over the years we’ve grown into the beast that you see today. With that, it means we have to review and improve our approaches to ensure everyone who wishes to attend can do so comfortably and confidently. You may have seen the work we’ve been doing last year at the festival, and we thank every single person who took note, spoke to us and did the right thing in order to keep out values alive. We’re doing the same this year (and every year), so here’s a little reminder.

Becca (Volunteering Manager and Event Coordinator) is our Inclusion Lead and will be supported by Lou (Festival Manager) during the festival.

We’re always work hard to make sure each IMBC is better than the one before, including how inclusive and safe we are. Here are the steps we’re taking at this year’s festival to ensure this:

  • Inclusion is still a main priority of us. We’ve reviewed our policies to ensure our reporting processes are tight and effective and the whole team works closely to ensure that we act quickly and effectively if anything is brought to us. 
  • As always, we will not tolerate any type of harassment, bullying or assault based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, body size and physical appearance, and if we hear of anything that goes against this, we’ll act immediately
  • We’ll make sure that if you experience anything that makes you uncomfortable or threatens you in any way, that you’re in complete control when we receive the report. We’ll keep you informed about our next steps and won’t do anything until we’ve agreed a course of action.
  • Our core team and supervisors have taken part in training on how to respond to sexual assault and harassment and how to support LGBTQ+ customers with access and safety, provided by the Good Night Out Campaign, and we’re one again accredited by them as an event. We’ll be using this training to ensure everyone at the event gets our full support.
  • We have a trained trauma counsellor on our team who can support anyone who makes a report to us.
  • This year, we have introduced a Quiet Room, located by the main entrance, for anyone that needs a break, to decompress or time away from the crowds. This space will be looked after by our Front of House Team and will be alcohol free. We ask that its only used by those that need some time out if they’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, in crisis or anxious. If you require any help whilst you’re there, let someone at the front desk know and they’ll be able to radio for help. 
  • All of the breweries attending have received information about our policies and processes, and you will have to sign these as part of your Terms and Conditions of attending.

Whilst we will be dealing with any issues that arrive on site, someone may well come to you if they experience anything that makes them uncomfortable or feel threatened.

Take them aside and listen to what they are saying, but do not deal with it yourself. Thank them for sharing their experience and explain that you will speak security and members of the IMBC team. We’ll know what to do next. Stay with the customer until a member of the team is with them, then go back to your position. Once the incident has been dealt with, we may ask you to provide information for an incident report. Any information you are given by the person reporting the issues must be treated in confidence, so please do not discuss it with anyone else other than Becca, Lou and security.

What happens if I’m a victim of harassment, bullying or assault?

If you experience any form of harassment or abuse, please report it to a member of the IMBC team or security, who will inform Becca and Lou. We will offer to take you somewhere quiet and you can give us as much information as you are comfortable sharing, which will be treated in confidence. We will work with you every step of the way to make sure it doesn’t have to ruin your event. We will only take steps that you are happy with as we want you to be in control of what happens next.

All of our on site staff and security will be briefed on our processes prior to the event so they know what to do and who to speak to. We want you to be confident that whoever you speak to, whether a volunteer, a food vendor, a brewery staff member or one of our team, they’ll be able to direct you to someone who can support you.

As much as we can prepare for any issues, we want to prevent them from even happening. This is where you come in. You make IMBC what it is. So if you see anything, please tell us. If your mate is being an idiot or doing something that affects someone else’s good time, tell them to pack it in. Report their behaviour to security. Don’t let it happen. We want everyone, no matter who they are, to enjoy their time with us and we can all work together to make sure that happens.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of this, then please feel free to email Becca at [email protected]. It is important to us to make sure we get this right.