St Ia’s Church in Cornwall, a Grade 1 listed building renowned for its historical significance, has embraced an unconventional addition in preparation for the St Ives September Festival.
The church has introduced a wooden bar featuring two temporary beer taps to enhance its role as a key music venue during the two-week music and arts extravaganza celebrating local talent.
Reverend Nick Widdows, the leader of St Ia’s Church, shared insights into the motivation behind this unique addition. He revealed that the wooden bar was crafted with multiple purposes in mind, stating, “We had the wooden bar constructed partly for coffee on Sundays, but also for when we run events.”
To facilitate the provision of beverages during concerts, choirs, and various other events hosted within the church, St Ives Brewery stepped in generously to install the beer pumps. Rev Widdows expressed his gratitude, explaining, “St Ives Brewery have kindly come in and installed these beer pumps for us, so we can serve drinks as well for when people come in for concerts and choirs and various other events that we run here.”
The bar’s creation was entrusted to a skilled local carpenter named Joel, who executed the task with exceptional craftsmanship. Rev Widdows commended Joel’s work, saying, “We got a local carpenter, Joel, to come in and create this for us, and he’s done a beautiful job. I think the highest compliment we could pay him is that it looks like it has always been here. It’s a fantastic piece of local craftsmanship that he’s done for us.”
While St Ia’s Church has previously hosted acts during past editions of the St Ives September Festival, this year, it has assumed a more prominent role as one of the festival’s main venues. In addition to the temporary beer taps, the church has also installed a bar in front of its organ, offering wine and water but abstaining from serving spirits.
Rev Widdows acknowledged that there were a few members of the congregation who had reservations about the introduction of beer pumps. However, he emphasized that they are a temporary addition and expressed his broader perspective, saying, “What I say to them is that this is just part of our way of welcoming all sorts of people into the church. Above all, we want people to come in and have a positive experience of their time here. Many people don’t come into the church building at all, and actually, if people come in and have a great time at a festival event, then who knows, maybe they’ll come in for something else as well when we put it on.”
The St Ives September Festival, a celebration of local music and arts, is set to run from the 9th to the 23rd of September. St Ia’s Church’s innovative approach to accommodate festival-goers and create an inviting atmosphere reflects its commitment to fostering a sense of inclusivity and community during this exciting event.