However, the puritans (AKA the Democratic and Ulster Unionist Parties) have stepped in to keep the temperance movement alive and well in the 21st Century and banned any temporary license to serve alcohol in the park for the weekend festival. Initially the DUP were against the whole event but Alliance, Sinn Féin the SDLP and two of the UUP group voted down the objections to holding the event. However, an Oktoberfest without any amber nectar defeats one of the cultural points of the festival.
DUP Councillor Junior McCrum said:
"We spent £1.5m on Solitude to turn it into a space for people to walk and enjoy the park without being subjected to verbal abuse.
"Does everything have to revolve around drink?"
Not according to event organiser Neil Loy, who said that along with the beer tents there would be yodelling competitions, German singalongs, traditional Oompah-pah bands, a visiting performance from one of BBC's The Voice contestants and traditional German food such as bratwurst sausages from an open charcoal swing grill.
Maybe Mr McCrum should visit some places where there are temporary licensed outdoor premises, like the Christmas and Continental market in Belfast, Belfast Pride or similar. People still are able to enjoy themselves and the drinkers are disrespectful to others using the area. Indeed such events, as they often charge a premium for their alcohol are actually usually a better behaved crowd than you would see weekend in, weekend out in most of our town centres.
Earlier I'd called those unionist councillors opposed to this temporary alcohol license puritans. You'd almost expect them to stop dancing, Christmas or kids playing in parks on a Sunday. Of course there is one thing that the modern day Northern Irish puritan differs from his English forebears, unlike Cromwell et al, they don't want to get rid of the monarchy as well as jollity, enjoyment and fun.