Canary Wharf Oktoberfest likely to be cancelled as council reviews licence
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 March 2020
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One of London’s biggest Oktoberfest beer festivals faces losing its licence after a bouncer allegedly fractured a customer’s cheekbone.
Staff at Canary Wharf’s Oktoberfest were also accused of abandoning a vulnerable “lone drunk female in lederhosen hugging a lamppost”.
Its licence is being reviewed by Tower Hamlets Council next month after complaints from Transport for London and the Met about alleged violent incidents.
The German-themed event attracts some 2,400 people to Millwall Park over its two weekend run in October.
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Pc Mark Perry, in his report to the council’s licensing committee, said: “This is an event that cannot control its customers who are allowed to get drunk, resulting in fights not only at the venue but also at local train stations.
“Despite having over 50 security staff on duty they could not cope with the number of incidents … It shows a lack of care for its customers when a female, who is so drunk she has to hold on to a lamppost for support, is allowed to leave the venue without assistance from any staff there. It is very fortunate that being in such a vulnerable state she was not the victim of a serious crime.”
Licensing officer Kathy Driver visited on October 5 last year and said, in her report, that she saw “highly intoxicated” customers in beer tents and at nearby train stations. Officers were called the day before when a beer tent “kicked off, with everyone pushing and shoving”.
A woman claimed that when the fight calmed down she saw a member of the security team hit a customer in the face. “The victim suffered grievous bodily harm injuries as a result of this punch,” according to police. “His injuries are a fracture of the jaw/cheekbone. The victim has been left with a large scar and stables across the top of his head.”
The Oktoberfest is run by World Wide Festival UK, which since 2011 has put on a similar event in Kensington Olympia attended by more than 50,000 visitors each year. Last year the company was refused a licence by Haringey council after a 2018 Oktoberfest in Finsbury Park resulted in a mass brawl.
A spokesman for Oktoberfest London said the Canary Wharf festival was unlikely to be running this year to give the grass in Millwall Park a chance to recover from the 2019 event.
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