Octoberfest – alternative draft

My complaints that the perception of “Octoberfest equals Bavaria” is wrong of course deserves some evidence. OK – today I had the luck to experience it (again) and hopefully I can show you some convincing images.

Octoberfest - alternative draft(2)Beginning of october is the time of the return of livestock from high alpine summer pastures vulgo ‘Almabtrieb’, and this is also the time for some small local festivities like the ‘Almfest’ (alpine pasture festival) that we had today at the ‘Harbachalm’ (here on google maps). A local traditional band was playing, no electricity and therefore no PA, only traditional tunes from the band, but also participation from the audience in form of vocals or interspersed songs accompagnied on a solo accordeon. The weather was fine, temperatures moderately high, the beer of the local brewery cold, the backlight demanding only for the photographer… Only the sanitary facilities were sub-standard, as my daughters complained. The OO-sign points to the respective appliance, consisting basically of a deep hole…

Octoberfest - alternative draft(3)To avoid the impression that Bavaria is some kind of backward-oriented, old fashioned, dyed-in-the-wool conservative country (no, I don’t want to talk about the elections again), just have scrutinizing look at the image to the right: You see that guy in leather pants (Lederhosen) with the Oakley – replica? –  over his eyes? No, Bavaria can be really modern, with Laptop und Lederhosen, as one of our former prime minister had put it. And still some of us don’t forget the really god things from the good old days.

Octoberfest - alternative draft(4)  Octoberfest - alternative draft(5)

Real brass music and vocals belong to those things, preferably in a small, manageable setting. You may see yourself, the gallery with all the images can be found here.


  1. Markus, I’ve never been of the impression that Octoberfest or any other event makes Bavaria seem backwards. That idea surprises me. We in the U.S. have only 233 years of national history and our population of various cultures, while a strength in so many ways, makes it hard as a nation to have a single national identity with national traditions. I think it’s good to be able to celebrate a long and rich past while embracing the future–even if sometimes it’s via a highly commercialized over-extravagant celebration like Octoberfest. 🙂

  2. You caught the spirit and mood of a “real” Octoberfest very well in these photos. (And I restrain myself to tell everyone that Bavaria is not Germany, just an interesting part of it, ;-))

  3. Earl, I guess also in the US you have those states that are commonly seen as a bit behind. Bavaria as an agrarian state, where people speak a strong idiom, for shure had this appeal. And the way the Octoberfest has degraded in some aspects brings back that connotation of Bavaria and “often drunk, mostly slow, stupid”. That is my concern. But you very precisely named what the Octoberfest now is: highly commercialized over-extravagant… And I would love to see a strengthening of the beautiful traditions and trade in the fun-park character, which is anyway internationalised beyond all recognition.

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