Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
Monday 9 November 2015
Authorities have expressed concerns about the conduct of an Oktoberfest event held in
Sydney after multiple serious breaches were detected.
The Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) and Police detected heavily intoxicated
patrons and observed multiple violent and anti-social incidents as well as licence breaches
at the over 18s event held at The Domain on Saturday 31 October 2015.
13,000 tickets were sold for the ‘Oktoberfest in the Gardens’ which was described as a
national cultural event aimed at replicating cultural aspects of the annual German
Oktoberfest festival in Munich.
The event featured a ‘massive big top beer hall’ and patrons were provided with 560ml
event steins to drink from and provided free beer on arrival. The event was licensed from
2pm to 9.30pm, with entertainment including roving entertainers, German Oompah bands,
local and national bands, DJs and competitions.
Prior to the event both OLGR and Police expressed concerns about potential risks given
the nature of the event and previous similar events held in Melbourne and Perth and
sought over 40 licence conditions to ensure the safe management of the event.
However, during the event organisers failed to maintain adequate controls to ensure
responsible alcohol consumption and crowd management including failures in security
monitoring and presence of Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Marshals.
OLGR Director of Compliance and Enforcement Anthony Keon said: “OLGR and Police
worked tirelessly with event organisers prior to the event to guide them on what could be
done to ensure a safer event but they were resistant to changing their business model.
“As a result, problems arose including a large number of intoxicated patrons and antisocial
behaviour. Inspector observed fights between patrons and there were scuffles with
Police when patrons were being turned out. There were also patron assaults on security
and OLGR officers. One male patron suffered a suspected drug overdose and received
medical assistance by ambulance officers.
“This is a timely reminder that event organisers need to ensure they pre-engage with
OLGR and Police when planning significant public events involving alcohol. They must
ensure adequate security and alcohol management plans and controls are in place and
are maintained during events to prevent intoxication and alcohol-related anti-social
behaviour including violence.”
Inquiries are continuing prior to regulatory enforcement action being undertaken.
Issues detected at the Oktoberfest event
• Large number of intoxicated patrons significantly affected by alcohol.
• About 195 patrons ejected for intoxication or anti-social behaviour including
• A number of violent incidents, including fights between patrons and patrons
• One male patron received medical treatment by Ambulance Officers for a
suspected MDMA drug overdose.
• An assault on a security guard who required emergency medical treatment.
• An assault on two OLGR Inspectors by patrons and a further assault on a Police
• No identifiable Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) Marshals. Two RSA Marshals
were required to be at every bar area and five RSA Marshals were to roam the
event wearing reflective vests marked with ‘RSA Officer’ on their backs.
• Lack of active monitoring of patrons by security in the beer hall. Concerns about a
potential crowd crush as patrons quickly converged there due to rain.
• Patrons standing, drinking and dancing on tables. Two male patrons turned over a
table inside beer hall. Security not actively present.
• Patrons seen skolling beer in front of security guards prior to entering beer lines to
purchase further drinks with no intervention.
• One bar had no security staff contrary to licence requirements.
• Patrons identified bringing in alcohol to the event, despite a requirement that bag
checks be undertaken and metal detectors used, and a strict requirement that no
alcohol was to be brought into the event.
• Numerous patrons were observed urinating on trees, perimeter fencing and the
exterior of the beer hall tent.
• Numerous patrons observed lying down along the perimeter fencing in dark and
unpatrolled areas with security failing to assess and remove them.
• An emergency exit gate on the venue's perimeter was left open with no security in
the vicinity to supervise unauthorised entry or patrons as they left.