Food & Drink

You Probably Won’t Get a Refund from the Cancelled London Oktoberfest

We were so excited. Beer, sausages, oompah bands and lederhosen. What's not to like about Oktoberfest? And it was coming to London.

But sadly, the German dream turned to a nightmare after London's version of the famous Munich tradition was cancelled, just half an hour before the second day's festivities were due to begin. There had been reports that the initial Thursday night session last week was fairly rowdy, with long queue times and sporadic food distribution, but it didn't sound like anything so serious as to warrant the closing of the whole event.

Nonetheless, thousands of people who had prebought tickets were left disappointed when the decision was taken to cancel the whole of Friday, Saturday and Sunday's schedule - the final call seemingly being taken by the venue, Tobacco Dock, rather than the promotional company Oktoberfest UK Ltd.

Now it looks like ticketholders will be left in limbo while a legal dispute starts over who exactly was responsible for the fiasco, with Oktoberfest UK saying that no refunds will be issued until it has reviewed its legal position and "any legal steps taken thereafter have been concluded".

A statement from Tobacco Dock read: “The decision was not based on guest numbers nor the nature of the event, both of these were well understood in advance, but on the management and operational systems and insufficient serving staff both in terms of numbers and experience that had been put in place by Oktoberfest UK."

Given previous events of this kind - namely the disastrous Bloc Festival in London's Pleasure Gardens, which was abandoned after just a few hours in 2012, with few people even seeing an act - we wouldn't hold our breath over ever getting a refund. In that situation, the events company went into administration and looking at the legal documents, it appears that the majority of ticket money was swallowed up by administrator and legal fees and that no ticket holders received a refund.

It appears likely that Oktoberfest UK Ltd will be attempting to claim that Tobacco Dock called off the event prematurely - if they fail to do this, they will go into administration and everyone can wave goodbye to that ticket money.

Next year everyone can just come round to ShortList.com towers and we'll just sink a few steins in our local OK?

The latest statement from Oktoberfest UK Ltd is below.

(Images: Rex)

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