We couldn’t make Oktoberfest, a German-esque beer festival – staged in Sefton Park as part of this year’s expanded Liverpool Food and Drink Festival – but we know people who did and the feedback was not good.
The event cost £5 and promised a ‘fine selection of German beers’ and an ‘amazing oompah band’.
But, below, James Mounsey gives a frank take on an event that failed to deliver anything in the way of German efficiency, music or ambience.
Oktoberfest. The word comes loaded with expectations amongst beer drinkers, and news that the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival was to run its own – slap bang in Sefton Park – had got tickets bought early and half days booked off from work in anticipation of serious hangovers to be nursed the next day.
Sadly, from the moment of arrival, expectations soon gave way to stunned incredulity and the problems immediately piled up thick and fast. The great marquee tent and tables gave us the basics, but the bar was nothing but a portable trailer as seen in many a rain-soaked music festival; and so small that it instantly produced queues of enormous length, many people unable to get their first drink for 40 minutes.
Even getting to the bar, eventually, didn’t raise our spirits as the beer selection was an insult to anyone who cares about beer: Light Beer; Dark Beer; Wheat Beer – all at £3.50 a pint and that’s your lot.
No brewery name, no information on its German origin (assuming it was German), no description of the style, nothing. When the Wheat Beer ran out after an hour it had us laughing at the ineptitude of it all.
Of the five of us who arrived, two left in disgust after the first drink, simply unwilling to face the drab beer or the queue again. Even though the bar did ease off later, this seemed largely due to the number of people who’d called it a day and gone home.
When the entertainment arrived to distract us from the ever growing mountain of discarded plastic glasses, the ‘oompah’ band was simply beyond a joke: The Wild Rover, It’s A Long Way To Tipperary, and gobsmackingly, Hitler Has Only Got One Ball.
Attempts to speak to anyone in charge fell on deaf ears, and it quickly became clear that we had all been taken for a ride, cynically manipulated into paying for a German beer festival that the organisers were incapable and unwilling to deliver.