Controversial act to open beer festival

Henlow Beer Festival starts next week
Henlow Beer Festival starts next week

The landlord of a Henlow pub has defended his decision to have a beer festival opened by a controversial entertainer who sparked a walk-out at last year’s Bedford Beer Festival with an expletive-filled song about ‘Bongo Bongo Land’.

Kevin Machin, who has run the Engineers Arms for 25 years, dismissed claims that Dr Busker was racist.

He said: “He’s just an old-style pub entertainer who gives a great night’s entertainment and gets everybody in good spirits.

“His language might be a bit salty and his songs a little risque, but this is a beer festival for heaven’s sake – not a Methodist tea party or a Salvation Army sing-song. I am sure none of my regulars are going to be upset by him.”

At least one man and his teenage son stormed out of the Bedford Beer Festival in disgust last year after Dr Busker sang a song about African pygmies called the ‘F***arewe’ tribe who lived on the plains of ‘Bongo-Bongo Land’.

The angry dad, who asked not to be named, fumed: “Some people may have thought it funny. But I was shocked and so was my teenage son who I had taken along.”

However Peter Argyle, Branch Secretary and Festival Publicity Officer from CAMRA North Bedfordshire, said: “His material does not appeal to everyone but others like it and he is certainly a visitor attraction at festivals.

“There is nothing intrinsically racist about his material, but being controversial is part of his act and is a large part of the attraction.”

The Henlow Beer Festival runs from Wednesday next week.