Oktoberfest came round again this weekend and thousands of determined party people poured into the Windsor Plaza Hotel in District 5. This event, sponsored by the German Business Association, has grown in recent years and is now quite simply huge. Upwards of a thousand people per night, raising their steins and singing Ein Prosit at the top of their lungs. It’s weird, it’s whacky and it’s all rather wunderbar.

The room was packed from very early on
The room was packed from very early on

The organisation of Oktoberfest is excellent, despite the huge crowds you are whisked along in the queue outside, collecting your wristband and the obligatory stein on the way and in seconds, you find yourself first in a lift, then immediately into the hall.

The mainly Vietnamese crowd lapped it up
The mainly Vietnamese crowd lapped it up

We went in a group of around ten and I was a little surprised to learn that a group booking doesn’t guarantee you a seat, but we eventually managed to squeeze on the end of one of the sponsor’s tables, cheeky I know, but no-one appeared to mind.

Some of the frauleins looked a bit ropey
Some of the frauleins looked a bit ropey

The beer was excellent, a choice of Schneider Weisse and Krombacher Beer. It was a good balance having an easy drinking lager style beer and a darker altogether maltier affair. Both were very good, the lighter one was the sensible option for what is a 6 hour free flow Oktoberfest marathon.

Yours truly doing his best Gandalf Impression
Yours truly doing his best Gandalf Impression

No sooner had we taken our seats when the band struck up. I immediately commented to a friends that the bass was far too loud (one of the draw backs of spending 30 years in the music business is that all the flaws are painfully obvious). What made it rather spectacular this time was that they managed to have the bass far too loud, with no bass player in the band. On closer inspection it became apparent that the drummer wasn’t playing anything that resembled the obvious backing track either. Then I noticed the guitar player had the ability to play different chords without moving his hands. I know a fake oompah when I hear it, and I heard it. This is not a cheap gig at VND1.3 Million per ticket, surely they could get a genuine German Oompah Band in. Shame, but I bet very few noticed. For a large part of the night they played a mixture of what you would expect at one of these gigs, plus rock and roll and dance. As I said, weird!

More weirdness with the security guards standing on boxes
More weirdness with the security guards standing on boxes

A couple of comedy highlights were the fat Elvis and the guy playing bicycle horns, really well done and very well received. It was a great night though, put 10 friends in a room with free flow beer and you’ll get that. The crowd were well into it and from really early on. Don’t get me wrong, the music was enjoyed by 99% in the room, as a musician it just kind of irks me. However this is a terrific night out and I’m sure everyone enjoyed it. We even managed to get smiles from the stern-faced security guards who had, for some weird reason, spent the whole evening standing statue like on 18 inch-high boxes. All in all though Oktoberfest at the Windsor Plaza is a terrific night out. Roll on 2016.