Rum festival set to move online

samantha fish

One of the city’s most respected names in hospitality – who lives in Kirkstall – has announced that the popular Leeds Rum Festival will move online this September.

Organisers, the Leeds-based Rolling Social Events, say they held on to it being at its usual Corn Exchange home for as long as they could but recognise it’s not safe ‘to bring hundreds of people together in one space’.

Co-founder Samantha Fish, from Kirkstall, said:

“We’re so disappointed to not be at the Corn Exchange this year. The team there have always been so supportive of us and we really hope to be back, but even if the Government guidelines changed before September 19th, we just don’t feel comfortable gathering en masse at this stage.”

Launched in 2015 the annual event brings hundreds of different Rums together to celebrate what is known as the world’s most diverse spirit. Ticket holders get the chance to sample, talk to the professionals, and join in the popular masterclasses that explore the history of the spirit, its many guises, and flavours.

“Rolling Social Events mission is ‘to create modern experiences that connect our guests through food and drink’,” Sam continues. “We are passionate about this, and we weren’t about to let a pandemic take that away, so we got busy.”

The company has hosted seven Sip Alongs so far and most have sold out. The ticket holder gets a generous sample pack delivered to their door, a printed guide and a link to join the event on Zoom. There they are greeted by the experts in their field and are taken through a tasting session.

“The Sip Alongs are great fun,” says Sam. “We’ve hosted, Gin, Vodka, Rum, Whiskies, and Wine. People even get dressed up as if they were going out. We’ve discovered a whole new market of people who rather like socialising at home – be it for childcare, financial restrictions, accessibility, or just not wanting to hit the town.  It looks like the Sip Along is here to stay!”

Leeds Rum Festival is now set to get the same treatment with ticket holders getting 16 Rums to sample, a premade cocktail, mixers and seven speakers from the Rum industry.

Leeds Rum Festival Goes Digital is on Saturday September 19th from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Tickets are £33 including booking fee and are on sale at


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