Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson calls for fight to save British pubs
Frontman Bruce Dickinson blasts the rise of 'cash cow' US-style bars
Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson called for a fightback to save the traditional British pub as the Great British Beer Festival began.
The 56-year-old frontman for the British heavy metal pioneers blasted the rise of soulless, US-style bars pumping out "really awful music" - and blamed it on their giant chain owners seeing pubs as "cash cows" rather than community hubs.
The Great British Beer Festival transforms London's Olympia exhibition hall into the biggest pub in the world, serving an expected 55,000-plus punters over five days until Saturday.
The event is staged by Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, which says pubs are closing at a worsening rate - now 31 a week - and being turned into supermarkets and estate agencies. Other "public houses", to give them their full name, are being revamped as bland, commercial drinking haunts.
"There needs to be a bit of a fightback but also I think there needs to be an appreciation that the pub should, in effect, be the same as the coffee shop," Dickinson, at the festival to crown the Champion Beer of Britain 2014, said on Tuesday.
"We need to get back to the idea that a pub is a safe, calm place to go, where you can have a beer and chill out.
"When we change the character of pubs, to turn them into American-style bars, where you take away the furniture, the carpets and the things that make people feel that it's comfortable to sit in a pub with a beer or a glass of water or something and just read the paper and chat to your friends ... that's not a pub.
"And when you have loud 'oompah oompah oompah' music on all the time because you want people to come in and spend loads of money knocking back shots, that's a sure-fire way to have people walk away from pubs and have just concentrated dens of iniquity open until three in the morning."
Camra wants a change in the law so that planning applications are always required before pubs are demolished or converted.