By Evie Andreou
NICOSIA will probably have not one but two beer festivals this September because of a dispute between the organisers of the Septemberfest beer festival that dates back to 2011.
The dispute has lead to a court case, which begun on Tuesday, in which the man who claims that he was the driving force behind the capital’s beer festival is seeking compensation for violation of use of the logo and for unfair competition from his former partners.
Savvas Nicolaou, head of Display Art Company, who has been co-organising the Septemberfest event in Nicosia, has brought legal proceedings against the consortium organising this year’s event after he was told he would not be included in this year’s festival. This includes the Nicosia municipality, Nicosia Tourism Board, the Nicosia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) and CK Matrix.
“It was my vision; I had the idea in 2008 and I approached the then Nicosia mayor Eleni Mavrou in 2010 and told her about it and she said that the municipality could only provide the space, since they had no funds,” Nicolaou told the Sunday Mail.
He added that Mavrou urged him to also speak with other organisations that could help, so he approached the Nicosia Tourism Board (ETAP).
Niovi Parissinou of ETAP said Display Art had been replaced by another company, CK Matrix, this year because Nicolaou had complained in the past that he had suffered financial losses from the festival and that he was no longer interested in taking part. He had also refused to give a portion of the festival’s proceedings to the municipality’s food bank and to ‘Angaliazo’ Foundation.
But Nicolaou said he was told, without any prior notice, that his company had been replaced only when he contacted ETAP to make arrangements to reserve the Costanza moat, the place where the festival has been taking place since 2011.
“They told me that I had been replaced by CK Matrix because I had complained that I was losing money from the event, just like that,” Nicolaou said.
He added that the municipality had asked him last year to raise the entrance ticket to the festival by €1 so that the extra money would be given to the food bank and the foundation, but he objected and came up with another idea, which the municipality had rejected.
“I did not want to raise the entrance fee because my vision is to provide quality affordable entertainment to the visitors. We charge €5 entrance fee and we give €2.50 back by offering a pint of beer,” Nicolaou said.
He added that he proposed that they find sponsors instead that would offer food and other necessary items to the food banks but the municipality objected.
“Last year I found a company that donated €2,000 worth of food stuff and I donated €1,000 worth of products too,” Nicolaou said.
Nicolaou has decided to go ahead and organise his own festival using the registered name – Septemberfest: Nicosia Beer Fun Festival – in Aglandjia at the Akadimia park between September 5 and 10, but said there was an effort underway to keep his festival from taking place.
“The education ministry is objecting to us having the festival in a park close to a school because they claim that such events may negatively influence the students,” Nicolaou said, adding that the school would not even be open during the festival.
“If that’s the case then why doesn’t the ministry object to the festival the municipality is organising, since the moat is right across the street from an elementary school?” Nicolaou asked, adding that many events where alcohol is served take place in school yards throughout the island.
The court hearing was postponed until August 27 and Nicolaou said that the judge said that he would have a ruling before the beginning of the festivals in September.
Meanwhile, the Nicosia Beer Fest, organised by the municipality, ETAP, CIIM and CK Matrix is due to take place between September 10 and 14 at the Constanza Moat.