Chiswick To Host Five-Day 'Oktoberfest'

German beer festival proposed as summer event for Acton Green


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Acton Green could be hosting a five-day German-style beer festival this summer, with thousands of people seated on long benches singing, drinking beer brewed in Bavaria and dressed in lederhosen.

German entrepreneur Carsten Raun has applied to Ealing Council for a 'Oktoberfest' style summer event on the Green with German 'oompah' music and a shop where lederhosen can be hired out. The promoter has held similar Munich-style festivals, "with a British flavour" in Canary Wharf and Brixton and UK cities including Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool.

An example of the poster used to advertise the Oktoberfest

This is Mr. Raun's second approach to the Council, and residents' groups in Bedford Park and Acton Green have expressed their concerns about such an event being held in a conservation area. Local Lib Dem councillors Andrew Steed and Gary Busuttil attended a meeting with Council representatives and concerned locals, who heard from Carsten Raun that he had organised similar events in London and elsewhere, with no problems.

Mr. Raun told the meeting that it was primarily a German cultural event with German music and those attending were encouraged to dress up. They could come dressed in suits after work, or they could hire lederhosen from a shop on the site. The event would be over five days, Wednesday to Sunday, either in August or September. (Despite the title given to the festival, Oktoberfest, the beer festival is usually held in September).

The beer festival would open at 4 pm each day, except for Saturday (12.30) and 'oompah' music would be played until 10.30. The event is to be ticketed with a strict number of attendees agreed with the Council (potentially 5000-6000 over the 5 days). There will be a main marquee seating 1500 people within a fenced off area of Acton Green.

An example of a beer festival in a giant marquee

The organisers will provide portaloos on site, and will 'manage' a walkway between the site entrance and Turnham Green Station to prevent unseemly behaviour at closing time.

Mr. Carsten said in a tv interview in 2013 that his idea was that "You don't have to travel to Munich" to experience a beer festival.

Both the Bedford Park Residents' Association and the Acton Green Residents' Association questioned why the promoter had chosen Acton Green over other parks. The scale of the event, restricted access to the park, live music, the behaviour of those attending, and the impact on local churches during Sunday was also raised.

Map courtesy of the BPRA

Concern was expressed about the suitability of a conservation area for this type of event. It could lead to Acton Green and Acton Green Common becoming a host venue for commercial events of unlimited number and scope in future with to a floodgate" effect taking place, according to some residents.

Locals are concerned that pressure on Ealing Council to find new sources of revenue may encourage them to consider granting permission to hold commercial events in public parks.

It is thought the beer festival may get the go-ahead as a 'one off' on a trial basis, but no decision has yet been made by the Events department of the Council. Local councillors say they intend to debate the matter at the next ward forum.

Ealing Council has held a 'drinks licence' for Acton Green for several years.

Bavarian Beer Festivals date back to the early nineteenth century and thousands of tourists flock to the Munich festival every year, usually held in September. The 2016 one will take place on September 17th - last year nearly six million visitors attended.

An Oktoberfest London festival at Tobacco Dock in London was cancelled twenty minutes before it was scheduled to start last October, for 'operational reasons' according to the organisers. It was reported that excessive crowds had turned up for the ticketed event.

This was a separate event to the Oktoberfest London (Mr. Raun's event) which went ahead in Millwall Park.

January 5, 2016

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