Oktoberfest comes to Edinburgh direct from Munich

Girls in traditional Bavarian clothes toast with beer at Munich's Oktoberfest. Picture: Reuters/Michaela Rehle
Girls in traditional Bavarian clothes toast with beer at Munich's Oktoberfest. Picture: Reuters/Michaela Rehle
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Look out your lederhosen, dust down your dirndls and get your drinking boots on – the world-famous German beer celebration Oktoberfest is coming to the Capital.

Thousands of beer lovers are expected to descend on Princes Street Gardens for the festival later this year, which originated in Munich 200 years ago and is now coming to Scotland for the first time.

A massive beer truck carrying 20,000 litres of specially brewed beer will set off from Munich and travel for 24 hours across Europe to the Gardens, where the beer will be pumped direct from the tank into the draught pipes to ensure it is completely fresh.

The event will begin in the Capital on October 9 and run until October 13, before moving to Glasgow the following week.

The festival, which celebrates Bavarian culture, will feature performances from folk bands including Bayern Stuermer, Albfetza and Obenheimer Express alongside live DJs. There will be German foods and the beer, a light lager, will be served up in traditional “Stein-style” glasses. Waiting staff will be dressed in traditional dirndl dresses and lederhosen, and organisers are also encouraging visitors to dress up in Bavarian style outfits too.

Carsten Raun, festival director, said: “Oktoberfest boasts a long tradition in Germany and is popular with millions of people worldwide, we’re really excited about bringing Oktoberfest to Edinburgh for the first time this year.

“The festival is all about getting friends and family together to sing along and join in the fun – and from what I’ve heard Scotland likes a good party.”

Festival organisers say the tents will be decked out in blue and white, and guests will be seated on long benches at tables to recreate the experience of being in Munich.

“You will enter a tent in Edinburgh and find yourself in Munich,” said Mr Raun.

Oktoberfest is already celebrated in other European cities including Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Gothenburg, but Mr Raun, who established London’s Oktoberfest two years ago, said: “Edinburgh’s the capital of Scotland and is such an open and international city it seemed a natural place to 
celebrate Oktoberfest.”

Munich’s original Oktoberfest is billed as the world’s biggest fair, with organisers reporting more than seven million visitors attending over the two-week celebration.

Event organisers for Edinburgh are hopeful at least 7000 people will turn out for this year’s inaugural celebration.

Edinburgh’s festivals champion, Councillor Steve Cardownie, said: “There tends to be a hiatus between the end of the summer festivals and the winter festivals beginning so something like this will be great to look forward to.

“It’s another feather in the city’s cap. Edinburgh is already twinned with Munich and of course we have the German market at Christmas, and this further cements our relationship with the Continent.

“However, they may need to send over more beer than they first envisaged as I think it’s possible they’ve underestimated the citizens of Edinburgh’s appreciation for fine beers.”

Entrance to the tents will be free on the first day, with prices ranging from £5 to £55 for different packages throughout the rest of the festival.


How the cities compare..


Population: 1.4 million

Beer: Munich is famous for Weissbier (or Weizenbier, wheat beer), a speciality from Bavaria

Football clubs: FC Bayern Munich, TSV 1860 Munich, and SpVgg Unterhaching

Musical star: Richard Strauss

Hollywood Superstar: Werner Herzog

Favourite Way to Serve Sausage:

Wurstsalat – marinated cold sausage cut in thin slices with onion rings.


Population: 0.5 million

Beer: Edinburgh’s hard water made it a centre for the brewing of pale ale

Football clubs: Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian

Musical stars: The Proclaimers

Hollywood Superstar: Sean Connery

Favourite Way to Serve Sausage: Deep fried in batter with chips and salt and sauce.