xEuropean Bike Week 2023 at Lake Faaker See
European Bike Week 2023 at Lake Faak


European Bike Week 2023 at Lake Faaker See – When money is the only thing that counts!

Then information is sometimes withheld!

“European Bike Week at Faaker See : Harley-Davidson's European highlight – who benefits and what are the challenges?”

The contract negotiations for the EBW are still ongoing

There are set dates for 2024 and 2025, which suggests that the contracts for the following years from 2026 are under negotiation and, according to the latest findings, have not yet been finalized. There is noticeably reluctance to talk about this topic. The negotiations between Kärnten Werbe, the Villach region and Harley-Davidson have been going on all year long.

European Bike Week at Lake Faaker See
Parade at Lake Faak Photo credit: Harleysite

Stalled negotiations and lack of communication

There was even a rumor that Harley-Davidson was looking for another event location. no final signature European Bike Week there either

The negotiations seem to have stalled, it's not as if there wouldn't be any problems at the otherwise highly acclaimed Bike Week .

The last communication from Harley-Davidson about the EBW is not particularly informative, if you're honest, there's nothing new in it, which some in the community have already complained about on social media. Normally you wouldn't skimp on information if you want to promote your event.

Why is the Arneitz Village advertised so prominently?

Home page of the Villach Tourism European Bike Week page
Home page of the Villach Tourism European Bike Week page (screenshot)

Villach Tourism has prominently positioned a link to the Arneitz Village on the homepage and the Arneitz program poster also appears conspicuously in the first place. It is actually the counter event to Harley-Davidson's EBW.

This is all a bit strange, as a tourism agency you certainly have to be active for everyone in the region, but as an organizer I wouldn't really like the combination of exclusive information about the Harley Village and the conspicuous display of counter-events.

The Arneitz Village

At Arneitz-Village, the popularity of bikers has also declined significantly in recent years. Many top-class customizers used to exhibit their bikes there. In general, the old school biker generation was and is more likely to be found there. Unfortunately, a lot has changed here. The coming years will provide insight into how things develop. In any case, they offer a wide program and are committed to attracting renowned customizers to the event again.

2023 House Of Thunder Harley-Davidson Lübeck

Harley-Davidson dealers are jumping ship

The problems at Lake Faaker See seem to be a little bigger than expected. It is known that some exhibitors from the Harley-Davidson ranks had significant bureaucratic problems with the financial police last year. Documents from long-tenured employees were requested by the authorities. It seemed a bit unusual if, for example, you had to prove your training from the year 19XX.

In others, penalties were imposed if someone did not use the official language. Anyone who thought they could fill out the form in English encountered difficulties. We're not talking about short checks here; some of them were very intensive.

European Bike Week 2023 at Lake Faak - When money is the only thing that counts! 2
European Bike Week 2023 at Lake Faak - When money is the only thing that counts! 64

What came out of the financial police checks!

I think it's always better when you talk about exactly what you're talking about and I asked the Federal Ministry of Finance what the controls have achieved.

The financial police regularly carry out targeted checks at major events and use the entire event, or sometimes just specific areas, sectors or providers, for control measures. In this specific case, the entire event was checked over several days and providers were checked with regard to their employment and compliance with tax regulations.

The financial police checked on several days during Bike Week in 2022 and made the following findings with around 35 officers: 125 companies with 488 employees were checked and the following violations were found: 3 unauthorized employment of foreigners, 15 illegal employment, 5 unauthorized cases of Receipt of unemployment benefit, 61 violations of the Wage and Social Dumping Act and 2 offenses under the Trade Code. In addition, 12 inspection notices were sent to the Austrian tax office, one notice to the labor inspectorate and around 30,000 euros were executed due to arrears.

Current information from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance on Harleysite Demand

Strict controls and the importance of documentation

Of course, they weren't just at Harley Village, but one thing is clear: they don't take a joke and if they show up somewhere, you should really have all the papers and evidence with you, otherwise you'll end up in trouble and pay a lot of fines. One of the problems is knowing exactly what you're asking beforehand; this year many will be better prepared. However, one can question why the procedure is so strict when it is only about missing documents.

The authorized dealer Harley-Davidson Hamburg Nord has canceled participation after 20 years.

Last year the HD authorized dealer with the stores in Bolzano, Trento and Innsbruck withdrew; this year the authorized dealers in St. Pölten, Salzburg and HD Hamburg Nord canceled their participation in the Bike Week. The people of Hamburg have been at Lake Faaker See for 20 years.

Various dealers cite, among other things, the restriction of music until shortly after midnight, high stand rents, which have not increased in the last 5 years, but are still perceived as high for the authorized dealers.

Security and generally the high costs for staff and accommodation and everything else that goes with it. The bureaucracy with the authorities and beware that an important sheet is missing from the documents, plus incomprehensibly high penalties. So it's no longer fun for some of those involved because they're supposed to be there too; for many it's not all just business.

Where are the top players in the Harley scene?

The big players haven't been there for many years. Rick`s Motorcycles and Thunderbike have different reasons why they are no longer attending Bike Week. At Ricks it is the cost factor; the personnel and accommodation costs were no longer proportional. At Thunderbike it's the costs and back then they literally let them drown on the site. The wood chips came far too late and if you only have mud in front of your tent and visitors don't come to your stand at all, you don't want to deal with that anymore. The dealers are all very resentful and won't come back if things don't go well.

Bikers are increasingly being targeted by the authorities

In addition, bikers are increasingly being targeted by the police, which is causing a lot of dissatisfaction. It should be mentioned that the Bavarian police also carry out special checks on the way to and from Lake Faak. Controls are certainly necessary and known at times, but it may depend on the necessary sensitivity with which you proceed. If they don't control things, thefts will increase, and no one wants that. But despite this, people increasingly had the feeling that it wasn't just about theft prevention.

European Bike Week - police check
European Bike Week – police check

Villach Tourism wants to make money

You want to benefit from all of us. A look at Villach Tourism reveals their strategy. They prefer to transact through their own portal, which is why there is limited information about the event elsewhere. While the excursions they offer are chargeable, the two chapters that I am happy to support offer their tours for you with friends and free of charge. Villach relies on its own tourism map and booking platform, which explains why offers for accommodation on other established booking portals are rare. They want to remain in control, it seems that the hotel industry doesn't really have a choice.

They use event information as a lure for their platform.

Even in the last official event information from Harley-Davidson, there was hardly anything relevant, which some have already criticized on Facebook. In addition to information, the Harley site also has a booking link to Booking.com, which many people generally prefer as long as suitable accommodation is displayed. When I travel, I usually book via the well-known portals.

Of course, you could call the hotels directly to save costs, but we often value the convenience and simplicity, or discounts from the Genius loyalty program, that is generally the success of the portals.

The “Velden Village” is coming back in Velden am Wörthersee

In Velden I had discussions with hoteliers who complained about the entire negative development in Carinthia last year. The police would be called in from Vienna and they are probably a little different than the local law enforcement officers. And the decision that they no longer wanted motor events in town didn't suit them at all.

Velden am Wörthersee is back in the race

But then, who would have thought that after it was reported last year from Velden am Wörthersee that motor events were no longer wanted in the region around Lake Wörthersee, which included the GTI meeting as well as the Harley-Davidson meeting, Velden Village is being revived in Velden. The hoteliers are the driving force behind it; they have had consistently positive experiences with their Harley guests. Over the years, this has developed into acquaintances and regular customers who are happy to be welcomed to the hotel at the end of the season.

Velden am Wörthersee has nothing against booking portals

Then there was the matter of the booking portals!

When it comes to Velden tourism, Booking.com is not seen as a competitor. At Lake Faaker See, people prefer to trade Booking.com In Velden the opinion is that it is like not being listed on Google if you decide against such booking portals and it is as if what you cannot find on Google does not really exist. What matters in Velden is that the customer can decide for themselves how they want to book their accommodation, in contrast to Lake Faak, where the offer on the portals is very limited.

Velden am Wörthersee would like to get more involved in the European Bike Week

Months ago, Velden sought to gain economic participation in the entire event, not as a competitor, but as a partner of the event. This represents a complete turnaround for the place. It is commendable if politicians and those responsible reconsider their decisions and are open to improved approaches after discussions with those affected.

John Doe

What alternatives do we have?

You could look more towards Velden; this year they will even expand the Velden Village to the Schlosshotel. There will be live music again, as it will be at Gemonaplatz, more information will be coming soon, there will definitely be something on offer there again.

Or we'll take a look at Prague, because the Prague Harley Days are still hungry, cheap prices and a beautiful city that has a lot to offer. Prague Harley Days last year , the event takes place a week before the Harley-Davidson meeting in Carinthia Austria from September 1st to 3rd, 2023 .

Question: What do they do with all that coal?
Question: What do they do with all that coal?

Question: What do they do with all that coal?

The question of the questions is actually, what are they doing with all the money that is currently being negotiated about? It would be nice if some of the proceeds flowed back into the event! It can't be that we are being offered less and less, but they all want to earn more. Normally, an event refinances itself depending on how it is set up. Although the requirements and security requirements have increased enormously in recent years, it is not the case that the exhibitors pay nothing, but if it is becoming more and more difficult, they do so themselves to keep the Harley dealers at Europe's largest Harley-Davidson event


Unfortunately, it often turns out that events lose their charm over time. The EBW has also experienced a decline in popularity for years. It seems like everyone is cashing in but investing less in the event. At least there is no entrance fee at Lake Faaker See, but there is obviously no budget for top-class acts.

After the Corona pandemic, we miss the big stage and we only hear about impressive fireworks and top acts from history. The event and the bikers generate added value of several million euros in the region. Participants and guests book thousands of overnight stays in the area.

At the end, information about the event is positioned exclusively to guide the bikers and achieve maximum profit. If this were reflected in the event, everything would be fine, but currently fewer Harley dealers take part in the event every year, so the problems of the event perhaps seem to be even greater than currently thought.

The sad thing is that it's already beautiful at Lake Faaker See, but what's the point if it gets less and less every year.

Text and image credits: Harleysite

*Affiliate link. *2 Screenshot from the Tourismus-Villach page

FAQ about the Harley-Davidson meeting Faak am See in Austria

When is Faaker See 2023?

The Harley-Davidson meeting at Faaker See will take place from September 5th to 10th, 2023.

Where is the largest Harley meeting in Europe?

The largest Harley-Davidson meeting in Europe takes place annually in Austria, Carinthia Faak am See.

When is the Harley meeting at Lake Wörthersee?

The Harley-Davidson meeting at Wörthersee will take place from September 5th to 10th, 2023.

Further information about the Harley-Davidson event in Austria, on the Harley site:

Harley-Davidson Grand American Touring 2024

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