If you’re among the thousands that attend Charlotte Oktoberfest every fall, you’ll be disappointed to know that the city’s largest and longest-running festival is taking a break this year.
In an announcement last week, the Carolina BrewMasters homebrew club said there would be no 2016 festival because of a variety of complications at the AvidXchange Music Factory, including “construction, parking, safety, and other nearby events.”
The festival is put on by a team of volunteers from the Carolina BrewMasters, which has donated more than $600,000 in profits to area charities since the first event in 1999. This year’s event was to be held Oct. 1, and though the organizers had verbal commitments, they said, they were unable to get a contract that gave them enough time to move forward at the AvidXchange Music Factory.
“We just don’t have enough time for the permitting that we need to do, and it all needs to happen in sequence,” said Rob Adams, who has served as president of the Carolina BrewMasters for the last two years. “There was a mad dash at the end trying to find other places, but for us to put on a quality event and for it to come off like a typical Charlotte Oktoberfest, we just didn’t have the time to do it in three months.”
The venue has changed several times over the event’s 17-year history. The inaugural one was held at Independence Park, and it then bounced around to several other locations in its early years. In 2009, a sinkhole forced it out of Memorial Stadium and into the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo, where the festival remained until it moved to the N.C. Music Factory (now called the AvidXchange Music Factory) in 2013.
The club wasn’t able to make things work with that location this year, due in part to nearby construction. The Metrolina Tradeshow Expo property has been sold. Given all of this, the Carolina BrewMasters are already setting their sights not just on 2017, but on finding a home for years to come.
“We decided we’d take the rest of the time this year to find a place, get a multi-year contract, get it nailed down and come back stronger than ever,” said Adams.