Portsmouth Oktoberfest bosses unveil plan for expansion

THE organisers of Portsmouth Oktoberfest have unveiled their plans to grow the Bavarian-inspired spectacle.

Saturday, 14th January 2017, 6:00 am

Bosses say the German beer celebration could be staggered over multiple weekends in future if there’s enough demand.

But they’re keen to keep it planted at Guildhall Square and not roll it out on an even bigger scale on Southsea Common, which already holds huge events like Victorious festival.

But supporters say the common is the perfect arena to make it ‘anything like the genuine event’.

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It comes after Oktoberfest bosses – also the masterminds behind Victorious and Mutiny festivals – announced the bash was making a comeback to the square this year from October 6 to 7.

A whopping 25,000 steins were drunk by guests within Europe’s single largest beer tent swallowing up the bulk of the square and taking in views of the Guildhall clock tower.

Oktoberfest co-organiser and Victorious director Andy Marsh said: ‘I loved it at Guildhall Square – it was something different.

‘We already hold Victorious on the common, and rather than look to that, I would prefer holding it across a whole month.

‘If there was enough demand, we could take on more dates and do more weekends; that would be an idea.

‘It’s all up for discussion.

‘You have to make sure people want to come, and the footfall is there. If there is enough people, we would look to do it.

‘It’s important to offer something different.

‘Like with all of our events, we want to grow Oktoberfest organically. If the next one is a complete sell-out, we would look to do the next weekend.

‘There’s nothing worse than having a large event only a few people are in it.’

Writing to The News after the announcement of Portsmouth Oktoberfest’s return, businessman Alan Phillips said: ‘To be anything like the genuine event, the Portsmouth copy should be moved to the common, so that it could also have the stalls and fun fair as they do in Munich.

‘I’ve been over there year after year with my company, and there is nothing like it. To be a success, be bold and expand.’

Tory culture boss Councillor Linda Symes dismissed the use of the common.

She said: ‘There used to be a beer festival on the common, but the common is used enough.

‘The people who run Oktoberfest like the Guildhall Square and think it’s a great space.

‘We don’t want some huge beer festival, especially on the common.

‘It’s just the right size, everyone loves it. The whole idea was to build it around the student market, and that’s why the square is the idea place for it.’