An Oktoberfest rookie

It’s easy to get immersed in it all. The smell of the fresh pretzels, the taste of German beer, the passion of the dancing. And it’s only half past seven.

Welcome to Oktoberfest. The world famous German folk-festival whose proud roots stretch all the way back to the 19th century. Nowadays, the Bavarian beer bonanza is celebrated worldwide at the end of September to the beginning of October.

This is where I find myself: walking along Princes Street Gardens, on a typically Scottish autumn evening in Edinburgh. 1,103 miles away from Munich, but you wouldn’t know it.

I visited the Bavarian capital earlier this year for just a couple of days, and from that small snapshot, I realised that the Germans know how to do it.

Edinburgh’s Oktoberfest

Once entering the tent I could’ve been back in Munich. The woman that was handling the entries was German, the man behind the bar was German, the music was German, and the beer? You guessed it. Unmistakably German.

The music was infectious, the atmosphere was electric and the feeling of drinking from a two-pint jar is just better than lifting a Tennents glass on Cowgate. You just have to be there to truly appreciate it. You can’t help but get involved.

The Edinburgh event, now in it’s fifth year, ran from October 11th-15th. I went on the Friday and relatively early in the evening. I can’t even begin to imagine what the atmosphere would be like later on Saturday night.

What made the experience somehow more enthralling was the choice of music. Not only did you have authentic German music tactically chosen to get the merry customers standing, singing and dancing on the long benches, but they also played classics like “Sweet Caroline” and “Is This the Way to Amarillo?”

Don’t forget your wallet though. It’s a classic and common mistake in any case, but you really do need it visiting Oktoberfest. Firstly you part with 10 of your finest pounds to get in, which is acceptable, but turn left and up towards the bar and there goes another £11.50.

At big events, particularly ones that are temporary additions to the capital, you can expect to pay quite a bit, but I’d already forked out £22.50 and had only been inside two minutes. Maybe I’m just tight, but it was a dampener nonetheless.

Once you’re back through to the main stage though, your lighter pocket is forgotten. It’s incredible that despite the distance, you really feel like you’re in the heart of Germany, now I need to do try out the real thing.

Dancing at Edinburgh’s Oktoberfest