Palestinian Oktoberfest back in Taybeh, a Christian village not far from Ramallah

19-20/9, concerts and beer

18 September, 16:25

    Palestinians enjoy the Taybeh Oktoberfest Palestinians enjoy the Taybeh Oktoberfest

    (by Michele Monni)  - RAMALLAH - Following two years of highs and lows, locations seen as questionable and friction with the municipal council, Taybeh's Oktoberfest (the first and only one in the Middle East) is back in a Palestinian Christian village not far from Ramallah.

    Tomorrow and the next day will be the ninth edition of the festival created by the beer maker Nadim Khouri, who - with the help of his wife Maria and his brother - has since 2005 organized an event that has become a regular event for fans of Palestinian beer and for an ever-growing number of foreign tourists. Local media say that problems concerning the Oktoberfest began during the 2012 local elections and the resulting change in the town council. From 2005 until 2012, Khouri's brother, David, had been the mayor of Taybeh, while the new mayor - Khouri says - demanded higher council taxes for the event and that all security expenses be paid by the organizers. After a several-months-long contest of wills, the Khouris decided to transfer the festival to an international hotel in Ramallah. The population was not pleased with the choice, as they felt it would change the spirit of the event and there would not be the same large musical events. Prices also rose. Last year - still amid arguing with the town council - the Khouris suspended the event and try to reach an agreement with the new mayor for the 2015 edition. The 2014 suspension enabled the Khouris to expand their business, and they began to produce and sell high-quality wine (Cabernet, Merlot and Sirah) that they market under the name 'Nadim', in honor of the master beer maker. ''Taybeh represents our desire and that of many Palestinians, to celebrate multiculturalness through art, music and Palestinian gastronomic traditions,'' Maria Khouri told ANSA.

    ''We are very happy that the festival has begun again, and with the Lord's help it will surely be a success.'' Many musical groups and dance companies from Japan, Brazil, Germany and Palestine will be taking part. The music will vary from traditional styles to jazz, indie, rock and hip-hop. 'Godmother' of the event will be Anoush Belian, the first Palestinian female body builder to get first prize at the prestigious National Amateur Body Builders' Association (NABBA).

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