Oktoberfest is traditionally about three things: beer, sausages and Bavarian oompah bands. You really can’t have a traditional Oktoberfest without all three involved at the heart of your event!
However, there’s a lot more to enjoy too. We’ve been looking at what the big events are offering this year, and how you can harness the latest trends for your own event, including the growing popularity of family days.
What does a traditional Oktoberfest include?
Oktoberfest is an Bavarian tradition that happens in late September through October. Travel to the Munich Oktoberfest (the largest in the world, celebrating its 186th year!), and you’ll find all the key ingredients.
- Official brewery beer tents, with long communal tables and lots of decorations! Some tents are huge, others more intimate and friendly, but each will have its own unique atmosphere – and live band!
- A Mass. That’s the name for 1 litre of specially brewed beer (1.5 pints) served in a big tall glass, and yes, they are heavy! For 2019, beer prices at the Munich fest are between 11 and 12 Euros per litre.
- Waiters and waitresses dressed in traditional costume (Dirndl and Lederhosen).
- Lots of food tents serving traditional sausages, cakes, coffee, cheese and legendary sweet treats, such as kirschwasser donuts.
- For those who don’t like beer, smaller tents serving wine, prosecco and cocktails.
- A traditional fairground with rides, slides and rollercoasters, from the gentle to the stomach-churning!
The whole event starts with a parade of the breweries, and an opening ceremony where the mayor taps the first beer barrel and opens the Wiesn (the popular name for Oktoberfest in Munich) with the cry “O’zapft is!”. Twelve shots are fired into the air to signal to all the other beer tents that they can start serving.
On the first Sunday, there’s a parade with over 60 groups and around 9,000 participants, including traditional costume clubs, hunters and mountain troops, marching bands and musicians.
On the second Sunday, there;’s a big concert featuring brass bands from all the different festival tents, who come together to perform, with the mayor or a celebrity conducting. (Well, they wave a baton; how much notice the expert musicians of the bands take is another matter!)
The best Bavarian bands for your UK Oktoberfest
At Matters Musical, we’ve got four of the best Bavarian bands in the UK, ready to get your guests standing on the table in excitement!
The Bavarian Strollers
A first class band based on a traditional Bavarian lineup consisting of 2 clarinets, trumpet, trombone and tuba.
Edelweiss Bavarian Showband
The Oompah Band to the stars, having performed for Ant & Dec, Stephen Mulhern, Dermot O’Leary, Keith Lemon, and Vernon Kay. Check out their Profile page video for fun games they get your guests to play!
Die Dorf Fest Kapelle
Dressed in traditional outfits, this talented band add that classic Bavarian soundtrack to any event performing traditional polkas, marches and waltzes from Germany and Austria.
A great Bavarian party act offering drinking songs, fun, and lots of audience participation. Thigh slapping fun for theme nights and corporate events any time of the year!.
Traditional and on-trend Oktoberfest tunes
Oktoberfest is about celebrating, and being in a good mood, and nothing does that better than a really great band playing irresistible tunes! Every year there’s a handful of songs that are guaranteed to get everyone up and dancing on the beer benches, from traditional to just plain zany! These include:
- The “Zillertaler Hochzeitsmarsch” (Ziller Valley Wedding March)
- “Der alte Holzmichl”
- “Sierra Madre”
- “Skandal im Sperrbezirk”
The more unexpected
- “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
- “Weg nach Amarillo” (Way to Amarillo) as sung by Tony Christie
- Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” (although this is played more to annoy than entertain!)
- The ultimate ear-worm Hulapalu (think of it as yodelling for beginners…)
Families and Oktoberfest
A beer festival is not necessarily the first choice for a family outing, but with so much fun, entertainment and tasty food on offer, not to mention those fairground rides, families flock to Oktoberfest midweek. Fairground side stalls and rides reduce their prices before 7pm to make the fun more affordable for families, as do the snack bars and food outlets. In Munich they also provide a Familienplatzerl, a space reserved for families with everything required, from baby changing tables to special rides for small people. So there’s no reason why your Oktoberfest can’t be family friendly too, effectively doubling your market for paying punters!
Book your Oktoberfest fun with Matters Musical
We’ve got a whole selection of bands and acts here at Matters Musical to help your Oktoberfest go with a real swing, from stilt walkers to acrobats, as well as party bands and DJs for a more modern twist on the traditional Bavarian oompah bands. Just call us to discuss your requirements – we’re more than happy to help plan any event that involves beer and a good time!