Sunday, May 30, 2010

What did they sing when the Oktoberfest Started?

The original "Oktoberfest" occurred in Munich, on October 18, 1810.
This is our time frame. I think it should extend up till about 1860 or so as we should give the fest a time to develop into a large local event.

Today's hisoric Oktoberfest songs date from much, much later times- most come from the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Oktober fest songs are growing each year.

What do you know of the older music? Any good sources. Remember we are interested in the province of Bavaria here.


  1. I suppose that various songs may have been written down during the first half of the 19th century in newspaper accounts and letters from friends who had attended.

    This being said, the Smithsonian claims that the first Oktoberfest held in the United States by that name occurred at Blob's Park in Jessup/Odenton, MD back in 1947.

    Do we know of an extant tune list from that 1947 outing? Might the Eggrl Family (descendants of Max Blob) have a first-event playlist. The family is having a reunion over in Chestertown later this month. Might this question be appropriate to bring up?

  2. I have located a few early first hand accounts and have scanned them for lyrics. I must return and look at them for descriptions of the musical experience.
    An American Oktoberfest of 1947 would predictably contain the 19th century standards as well as the early 20th century ones. We generally have a handle on that.

    As for the first Oktoberfest I would doubt that it was the first. Germans from the earliest arrivals in communities where they had sufficient power to lay out the ceremonial year would have done something for the harvest (this is the strongest reason for existence of the Oktoberfest-greatest supporting function even though the "excuse" was celebration of a wedding it soon became an agricultural fair as well as beer festival celebrating the beer harvest)
    So therefore at some point I should pursue harvest songs as keywords.....
    Much fun lies ahead.


  3. The term Harvestfest has been around American for years and years. But the use of the event billing term of "Oktoberfest" was not officially used - according to the Smithsonian - until used at Max Blob's Park in 1947. Sorry for the misunderstanding.