The organizers of Oktoberfest, Munich’s heralded and raucous annual beer festival, have criticized plans to create a rival event in Dubai and sought to reassure Germans that the original won’t be moving.
Organizers of a breakaway festival confirmed to CNN their plans to emulate Munich’s Oktoberfest at the Dubai Marina from October 2021 until 2022 — running parallel to the World Expo event.
“Oktoberfest in Dubai” is promoted by Charles Blume, who helps organize the Berlin Christmas market, and is set to feature dozens of beer tents, food stands, attractions and rides. The location hosts up to 120,000 guests and there will be “no restrictions to traditional Bavarian dress, beer, music or sale and consumption of foods of any kind.”
But reports of the event have angered many Germans, some of whom criticized the prospect on social media.
And organizers said they weren’t involved with any plans to relocate their festival, known locally as Wiesn, insisting that the original would remain in Bavaria and the rival event was unconnected.
“Recently, media in German-speaking countries have been reporting intensively on plans by a private individual to hold an Oktoberfest in Dubai,” organizers wrote on their website. “Various headlines linguistically suggest that the Munich Oktoberfest is actually being relocated to Dubai, is moving there, or is taking place in the desert this year due to a possible cancellation.
“The Oktoberfest is a Munich original and takes place exclusively in Munich,” a spokesperson for the Department of Labor and Economic Affairs of the City of Munich, which organizes the event, said in a statement.
“The plans that have now become known are not being pursued by the organizers of the event in Dubai either on behalf of or with the consent of the City of Munich.”
The plans were reported in German newspapers including Bild, which wrote that German businessmen had been behind the plans since last year.
Under the plans, dozens of tents, live music and portable breweries would be set up in Dubai, while celebrities would be flown in as headline guests, Bild reported.
The sale and consumption of alcohol has traditionally been restricted for locals in Dubai, but the UAE last year eased those laws.
Oktoberfest was canceled last year due to the pandemic, and this year’s event could still be in jeopardy as European countries battle to control a third wave of coronavirus.
Organizers have set a date of September 18 as the start of the two-week festival. But Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter has said “the decision as to whether the Wiesn can take place this year or has to be canceled for a second time in a row has not yet been made.”