Whether you’re hosting a low-key soireé or an all-out Bavarian bonanza, live music is an essential part of any Oktoberfest-themed party.
But how do you make sure your event is the one your guests remember? With more and more people hosting Oktoberfest events in the UK, putting on a Spotify playlist of German hits in the background simply won’t cut it if you want to make your event stand out.
At Encore we’ve helped countless clients book exceptional Oktoberfest acts, so we’ve picked out our top 5 tips for making sure your guests are toasting the night away.
- Book an oompah band
- Request some pop covers
- Get them to stroll around
- Drinking songs
- Book an alternative act
1. Book a traditional oompah band
Named after the distinctive um-pah-pah rhythm of the polkas they perform, these traditional Bavarian brass bands are the perfect option for anyone wanting to create an authentic Oktoberfest atmosphere.
Encore band The Bavarian Strollers perform their Oktoberfest set
Dressed in traditional Bavarian ‘tracht’ (lederhosen for men, dirndl for women), oompah bands bring the raucous atmosphere of the Munich Oktoberfest to your doorstep.
As Tom from Encore oompah band Deutsch Blasmusik puts it:
“It’s not a real Oktoberfest event without a band. It’s just a bunch of weird people in a room wearing silly clothes, drinking beer and being far too obsessed with sausages.”
If you’ve got the space and the budget, nothing will draw the crowds to your event like an oompah band. Prices for three-piece groups start at £500.
Ben from Encore band Jager Maestros says:
“At an Oktoberfest event, people are out to have a good time and want to be entertained. Even the best beer hall can only keep people occupied for a certain length of time before they look to move on. Putting on live music keeps people entertained and having a good time for much longer. This can only have a positive influence on your bottom line.”
Read our guide to booking oompah bands here.
2. Request Pop Covers
While traditional oompah bands are perfect for adding an authentic Bavarian atmosphere to your event, a great way to keep your crowd engaged is to ask the band to perform some pop covers. Most oompah bands will be able to perform crowd pleasers like Livin on a Prayer or Hey Jude at the drop of a hat, but we’d also recommend getting in touch with them in advance if there’s a particular cover you’d like to request.
Some bands like Würst Brass specialise in Bavarian-style covers of pop songs
3. Ask your band to move around
By default, you oompah band will play the duration of their set in one spot at your venue. This is great if you’re indoors or you have a stage. But if your guests are spread out across a large venue, a great way to make sure they’re all getting their full helping of Bavarian revelry is to ask your band to stroll around as they perform.
The instruments in an oompah band are easily portable, so this kind of band is perfect if you’re looking for musicians on the move.
Danny from Deutsch Blasmusik says:
“Know what you want from the event – we can either add a classy Bavarian atmosphere or a more involved set to get people dancing, drinking and making the most of their Oktoberfest. Games and interaction really need the larger bands!”
4. Drinking songs
A great Oktoberfest party wouldn’t be complete without some traditional Bavarian drinking songs. While many bands will incorporate these into their sets by default, it’s always worth asking directly if they’re happy to add some audience participation by teaching a couple of songs and dances to your guests.
Ben from Jager Maestros says:
“There is a lot of variety in Oompah bands and not all of them get the audience engaged in the show. Quite a lot of bands don’t have a designated frontman and are more like background music acts. This is perfect for certain events but if you want to run a high octane Bavarian show people won’t forget choosing the right band is so important. The cheapest is not always the best, if you’re unsure try to get out and see the bands live.”
5. Book an alternative act
If you’re planning an Oktoberfest event but don’t have the budget for a full band or would prefer a more contemporary sound, you might want to consider some alternative live music options.
If oompah music isn’t your vibe, why not enlist the help of a roaming band. These versatile ensembles will stroll around your event keeping your guests entertained while they sip their steins. Prices start at £350 for a duo, £500 for a trio.
Encore band Fiddlin About is a great option if you’re looking for non-traditional musicians to perform at your Oktoberfest event
Not enough space or budget for a full band? No problem, you can still keep the party going with the help of an energetic Bavarian-style accordionist. Though the accordion is usually associated with French music, it plays a prominent role in Bavarian bands so can replicate that classic German oompah sound that will get your Oktoberfest guests swaying in their seats. Prices start from £160.
Encore accordionist Natalia Cerqueira performs a French tune (most accordionists will be able to perform German repertoire if asked)
At Encore we have the UK’s largest selection of incredible Oktoberfest musicians so we’d love to help match you with the perfect act for your event!
If you’re ready to book your entertainment, why not start an enquiry now here or give us a call on 020 3111 1480 to chat with one of your booking experts.