Five-Day Beer Festival For Chiswick Gets Go-Ahead

Residents unhappy as Council gives permission for Oktoberfest on Acton Green


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Ealing Council has given the go-ahead to the organisers of a five-day German-style beer festival this summer, despite local opposition from Bedford Park residents and a local church.

Those opposed believe it could lead to anti-social behaviour and they say such an event is not suitable for a Conservation Area. Ealing Council said today that the application met all its requirements and it had consulted with residents and other interested parties. The event would be the only one on Acton Green this year.

The sight of thousands of people seated on long benches singing, drinking beer brewed in Bavaria and dressed in lederhosen, is likely to be a reality when the Festival gets off the ground either in August or September.

Poster advertising German beer festival

An example of the poster used to advertise the Oktoberfest

Local councillors are annoyed that Ealing Council has given the permission ahead of a planned public meeting next week at which the organiser and Ealing Council officials are scheduled to attend. The beer festival organiser is German entrepreneur Carsten Raun and he has now said he will be unavailable to attend that meeting.

Southfield Councillor Gary Malcolm said: "It is sad that Ealing Council made the decision to have the Oktoberfest despite a ward forum meeting being arranged where we are due to discuss it. Residents living by Acton Green are concerned at the large number of people in a relatively small space. Previously when fun fairs take place sometimes they play music too loudly and past their curfew so I have some doubts that the Oktoberfest will do as they promise."

An Ealing Council spokesperson said: “We have consulted with residents and other interested parties and have taken their views into account as part of the approval process.  As with any event that is granted a licence, the application met all of our requirements and we expect the green to be left in good condition and the disruption to residents to be minimal. This will be the only event held on the Green this year.”

German entrepreneur Carsten Raun 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.

Beer Festival Tent with crowds inside

An example of a beer festival in a giant marquee

This is Mr. Raun's second approach to the Council. Residents' groups in Bedford Park and Acton Green have expressed their concerns about such an event being held in a conservation area. Carsten Raun says that he has organised similar events in London and elsewhere with no problems.

The festival is planned to be held from 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.

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 , Acton Green Residents' Association, , and Bedford Park Society, along with St Michael & All Angels, have questioned why the promoter has 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 are also matters of concern.

map of Acton Green showing where beer festival will be located

Map courtesy of the BPRA

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 and this could open the 'floodgates'.

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.

March 4, 2016

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