Canary Wharf Oktoberfest likely to be cancelled as council reviews licence
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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.
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.
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“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”.
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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.