The Scene: Dancing On The Tables @ Oktoberfest Munich 2023
By / November 19, 2023

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Oktoberfest, the classic autumnal ode to beer drinking and celebration, may be celebrated around the world, but there is nothing quite like the biggest one held in Munich. For over three weeks, six million visitors from around the world gather in massive beer halls to consume 7.7 million liters of beer. 

Raise a one-liter beer stein into the air! Music Festival Wizard is heading to Oktoberfest. As part of our ever-expanding coverage of festivals, we have started to take a swig from the world of beer. With no shortage of music and tasty suds, I stopped by the largest and most well-known Oktoberfest celebration in the world.

Table Of Contents

1. Running the Numbers
2. The Scene
3. Stray Observations
4. Practical Info
5. Final Thoughts

1. Running the Numbers

Dates: September 16-October 3, 2023
Editions: 188
Attendance: 400,000 est. per day
Artists: 300
MFW Beer Index: €7.50/500ml
Highest/Lowest Temperature: 21C/6.1C (70F/43F)

2. The Scene

The Beer Tents
The brewers at Oktoberfest have massive tents filled to the rim with tables, music, and food. All of them were incredible with unique designs and tons of space. Should be noted that the weather in September is perfect in Germany and there are plenty of options to drink outside in smaller beer gardens. And yes, fun fact, most of Oktoberfest takes place in September.

Here are a few pictures of the entrances to the major beer tents.

And a peek at what they look inside…

The Music
There is no shortage of music inside the Oktoberfest beer tents. From the traditional to the wild, each tent seems to cater to a specific crowd. My crowd, as it turns out, was in the Löwenbräu tent where I found myself shouting out Bon Jovi tunes on top of a table at 4:30 in the afternoon.

The Carnival
I knew about the beer, but what I didn’t know is that Oktoberfest is basically half of a typical state fair with a collection of random and weird rides.

The Beer
If you come to drink, you will not be disappointed. A hefty one-liter mug of golden suds runs between 14-15 euros. If your arms begin to tire from hefting all that glass, check around outside as some of the bars offer a half-size beer for around half the cost.

The Crowd
With six million visitors, an international reputation, and most importantly, free admission, Oktoberfest is open to everyone who cares to visit. Despite being a beer fest, Oktoberfeset is very much a family-friendly event with plenty to keep youngsters occupied.

4. Stray Observations

Weird Shit I Saw
Not talked about at Oktoberfest is the sheer number of weird, creepy, and odd characters scattered around the grounds.

But Where Does All That Beer Go? 
Peak German efficiency.

Most Intriguing Ride: Dr. Archibald, Master of Time: Volume 2
“Dr. Archibald, a history professor, amateur archaeologist and inventor, has disappeared and the visitors start to search for him.” Unfortunately, I had not ridden Volume 1 so skipped the ride as I thought the plot would be too complicated for me to follow.

4. Practical Info

What’s the weather like? Sign me up for more September festivals, especially if they involve drinking outside in the sunshine. When it got too hot, it was easy enough to slip into a shaded beer hall.

What are the prime hours for the event? Skip the weekends entirely and try to hit up Oktoberfest mid-week during the afternoon. The event is still full, but not overcrowded and there was room inside every tent and garden to grab a beer.

How did you get to and from the event? As I remember from covering the Super Bloom Festival, the Munich transit system is top-notch and I wouldn’t recommend any other way to get to Oktoberfest. You are looking at roughly a 15 minute stroll from the main station to the main gate.

Is Oktoberfest cashless? Not even close. Bring money and don’t fret if you need more. There are ATMs around the grounds.

5. Final Thoughts

While I’m usually wary around mega-festival size events, I found Oktoberfest reasonably easy to navigate. Maybe because I went during the day on a Tuesday and Wednesday, the crowds never felt overwhelming for an event that sees an average of 400,000 people a day. More importantly, I never had to wait to get a beer. The Munich edition of Oktoberfest has heavily embraced the tourism so for next year I would be interested in sampling one of the smaller celebrations happening across Germany to experience a more traditional vibe. Catch the next Oktoberfest from September 21st to October 6th, 2024.

 

Born during a backstage Bonnaroo downpour, Vito's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to all the great festivals that this wide world has to offer.