THE organisers of Portsmouth’s premier music events have unveiled a plan to stage a huge beer festival akin to the world-renowned Oktoberfest in Portsmouth, The News can reveal.
Victorious and Mutiny bosses want to replicate the German spectacle, which attracts millions of visitors every year, in Guildhall Square.
It really feels like Portsmouth is the place to be on the south coast and in the country at the moment.Mutiny Festival boss Luke Betts
The bash would be held in what is anticipated to be the biggest beer tent in Europe, swallowing up the majority of the square, including the iconic Queen Victoria statue, as well as the steps leading up to the Civic Offices.
The marquee would be packed with huge tables where people could gather to enjoy continental beers from Stein glasses, like at the Oktoberfest spectacle in Munich, Germany.
But it would not just be about the beer. Organisers intend to hold a stack of Bavarian-style entertainment for guests, with live music and street theatre, as well as an abundance of German food.
Portsmouth City Council still needs to approve a licence for the occasion, but it is hoped it will be granted soon and the event would be held from Friday, October 28 to Saturday, October 29.
Mutiny boss and beer festival co-organiser Luke Betts anticipates the occasion will attract up to 15,000 people over the two days – and provide a massive boost to the local economy.
Mr Betts said: ‘The benefits to the city would be huge. Portsmouth has become a city of music, and it’s catering for everyone.
‘With Victorious, we have a huge scale music festival, there’s the summer show, Mutiny, which has appealed to a younger crowd, and now we have this.
‘It really feels like Portsmouth is the place to be on the south coast and in the country at the moment.
‘We don’t want people to think this is just an event for ale snobs – it will have a real carnival atmosphere and be a celebration of culture.
‘This would definitely be the biggest beer tent in Europe – the big beer tent at Oktoberfest can hold 10,000 people, but it’s built into a series of buildings.
‘This will be a big, big event. It would be the biggest in the UK, and would dwarf what the capital has to offer.’
Victorious co-organiser James Ralls is hugely excited and said it’s the perfect way of celebrating Portsmouth’s links with its German twin city Duisburg.
He said: ‘We’ve been looking at ways to celebrate our twin cities and something like this is a great way of doing that.
‘And hopefully we’ll see something being put on for us out in Duisburg too.
‘It’s another way of putting Portsmouth on the map. People will come from all over just like we are attracting people from 50 to 60 different countries for Victorious.’
A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘We are aware of the outline plans for this festival in the Guildhall area of Portsmouth.
‘However at this stage we are awaiting the final event management plans from the organisers.
‘Until we have these we can not assess the plan properly from a safety and policing point of view so at this stage we do not have an opinion either way.
‘As with all events though we will work with the organisers and provide assistance when we can to help them provide a safe and successful event.’
COMMENT n PAGE 20