Elon Musk throws a party at Tesla's factory near Berlin

AFP / Frederic J. Brown

Tesla's car factory near Berlin has been transformed into a county fair for a one-day festival on Saturday hosted by CEO Elon Musk.

The venue features flashing lights, booming speakers, sprawling stages and a Ferris wheel.

The festival, expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors, with locals from Brandenburg state is given priority, started at 10:00 am local time (12:00 pm UAE time) but will go on late into the night, with bands and DJs due to "keep the party going," the official event website said.

"Giga Berlin-Brandenburg fun party today!" Musk tweeted in German shortly after it began, and then joked with a Twitter follower who replied to correct his German.

Musk hopes in coming weeks to get the green light to start production at the site, which at its peak will produce 500,000 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) a year - more than double Germany's BEV production in 2020.

The company has also submitted plans to invest 5 billion euros (AED 21.25 billion) in a battery plant with 50 GWh capacity next to the site, outstripping Volkswagen's planned 40GWh capacity site in Salzgitter.

While Tesla has repeatedly said the site will bring Germany significantly closer to achieving its e-mobility goals, some locals and environmental groups are unhappy with the Tesla CEO's disruptive approach which they say flies in the face of German business culture.

The latest consultation on public concerns towards the site closes on October 14, after which the environment ministry will decide whether to reject or approve it. Brandenburg's economy minister has pinned chances of approval at 95 per cent.

Drone footage published on Twitter in the 24 hours before the start showed preparations for the festival were well underway, with sound checks of booming techno beats, lighting tests and festival tents set up next to rows of Tesla cars.

Visitors attending the event posted videos from tours of the factory showing production line robots giving choreographed displays. Others highlighted the electric buses on which they were taken to the festival site.

Musk, however, has not yet made an appearance.

Tesla received approval from local authorities to have 9,000 people on-site at a time despite pandemic-related curbs limiting large gatherings to 5,000 after it presented a plan for how it would keep the event COVID safe, authorities said.

Attendees were given a time slot for a 1.5-hour tour of the factory and must provide proof of a negative COVID-test, vaccination or recovery, according to the entry ticket.

"We invite you to discover our factory from along our production lines. You'll have the chance to see how tons of raw metal is melted, pressed and put together to build our Model Y," the ticket reads.

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