Jul 13, 2016

Posted by in Bavaria, Oktoberfest | Comments Off on Countdown to the Oktoberfest 2016: Only two months to go

Countdown to the Oktoberfest 2016: Only two months to go

Countdown to the Oktoberfest 2016: Only two months to go

On Monday, work began on the Theresienwiese: just like every years, teams of builders arrived and started assembling the frames for the enormous beer tents that will, come mid-September, be the centrepieces of the world’s biggest and best public festival: the Munich Oktoberfest 2016. Seem a long way off? There was already enough last month for our first blog post of the year about “The Fest” this year, and, with only eight weeks left to go now, we’ve got some updates on those issues – and some fresh news.

Controversies just keep on going at the Oktoberfest 2016

It’s not just Enten- und Hühnerbraterei Heimer that won’t be at the Wiesn this year, but also the much-loved Fisch Bäda stand: both have, for the very first time, been refused a concession. The fish-friers seems relaxed about it, suggesting that they had to make room for the quadrennial agricultural show which, every four years, shrinks the area available for the Oktoberfest. Heimer’s ’s duck and chicken carvery, however, is actually considering suing the city authorities: the operator’s point of view is that, if the city’s own criteria for awarding licences are taken at face value, there is no way they can have lost their space legally. After all, so goes their argument, how can a tent that has been at the Oktoberfest for years on end suddenly get less points in categories like “traditional customs”, “professional knowledge”, and “fairground experience”?

It’s a very valid question. Traditions do tend to get more traditional with every passing year, don’t they? And how can the operator of a popular food tent suddenly become less knowledgeable and less experienced? Munich city authorities can bang on until the cows come home about the “objective criteria” they use, but it’s clear that they are not being objective – and never will be able to do. Or is there a scientific formula for “nostalgic value”? No, didn’t think so. If they’re not, however, as claimed, using objective criteria, what are they using? Operators who get turned down – not to mention the public – have a right to know. Let them have their day in court. Interestingly enough, the message even seems to be getting through to politicians: in late June, the Social Democrats forced a re-examination of the assessment criteria by declaring those used to date to be invalid… A surprising – and welcome – move! Let’s hope they manage to replace them with something better, though.


New things at the Oktoberfest 2016


At the Oktoberfest 2016, the “Himmel der Bayern – Bavarian Heaven” is about to get more heavenly.

At the end of June, there was a big surprise in store for semi-professional Oktoberfest-observers like ourselves: Hacker – one of the largest beer tents and most popular party destinations for Munich’s young and trendy crowd – is being hacked up. Yes, the old tent has gone to the Big Woodchip Shredder in the Sky – but don’t worry: it’s being replaced by a new, bigger and better version. As much as we loved the old Hacker, there were certainly good arguments for updating it. It’s new status as Party Central had made its gangways too narrow and its toilet capacity insufficient; and since the smoking ban, its lack of an outdoor balcony made it even more congested.

So meet the new Hacker tent: higher, airier, and broader than ever before, with a roofed over, south-facing balcony and larger kitchens. Which all sounds absolutely fantastic. We will certainly be happy to continue giving Hacker our custom as long as the new murals on its walls are as beautiful as the old ones; apparently, the painter they’ve hired for the job is one of the best!

Old things not at the Oktoberfest 2016

As mentioned above, every four years, the southern portion of the Theresienwiese is reserved for the Bavarian Agricultural Show. This takes up the space that, since 2010, has been used for the popular retro-style Oide Wiesn, which – after its spectacular start – had to sit out a year in 2012. This year, too, despite all of its successes in recent years, this old-timey extension to the standard Oktoberfest will have to make way for hay-bales and tractors once again; nevertheless, there is a compromise inasmuch as the Herzkasperle tent will be allowed to set up among the farming exhibitions. This is – given the sinking popularity of the Agricultural Show and the growing demand for the more sedate, family-friendly Oide Wiesn – a very good compromise for all involved.

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