Gone are the days where beer festivals were all trestle tables, lederhosen and village halls. The modern festival of liquid gold has evolved into something with serious mass-appeal; into something positively (dare we say it) trendy. Looking around at the beer fests on offer today, it’s clear that the scene has changed dramatically in recent years.
So what exactly does a beer festival need to do to stay current and sell tickets in 2022 and beyond? Let’s take a look 👀 (after some fun beer festival facts, naturally).
When was the first beer festival?
The first ‘official’ beer festival was the now world-famous Oktoberfest (although it wasn’t called that back then). It was held for the first time on October 10th, 1810 in Munich, and was organised to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It lasted for five days, culminating in a horse race that ended up becoming an annual affair. The next year, the horse race was combined with an agricultural fair, then in 1818 booths serving food and drink were introduced. The rest is history!
Which is the largest beer festival in the world?
No big surprises here – the largest beer festival in the world is Munich’s Oktoberfest; still going strong from its regal inception in 1818. Fast-forward to modern day and around six million people attend the iconic event every year, which boasts a total of 38 tents, 17 of which are downright ginormous.
The second largest beer festival in the world is Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest, which is attended by about four million people every year. That’s a lot of beer.
8 things every modern beer festival needs
🍺 A vast and well thought-out beer lineup (obviously)
Some beer festivals choose to showcase beers from around the world. Others stick to local craft breweries in celebration of their town or region. Whichever angle is chosen, one thing’s certain: there needs to be a whole lot of beer on offer, and a good variety, too. Take inspiration from the London Craft Beer Festival, which lets attendees walk around with a tasting glass trying unlimited beers from a mind-boggling amount of microbreweries.
⛰️ An awesome location
Today’s UK beer festivals set the bar pretty high when it comes to location. If they’re not set against a dramatic backdrop of mountains and lakes, they’re taking place in awesome historic venues like the Edwardian Grade II-listed Victoria Baths of Manchester (Indy Man Beer Con, we’re looking at you). From the Peak District to the Lake District to London’s ultra-hip Tobacco Dock – it’s safe to say modern beer festivals come with a side of Epic Location; no run-down village halls in sight.
🎸 (Unexpectedly) great music
Remember the days where festivals with good music meant nasty, watered down drinks, and festivals with great beer meant terrible music? Big news: those days are officially gone.
Today, savvy festival organisers are marrying the best of beer and genuinely good music. Like Buckinghamshire’s Bigfoot Festival, which boasts a huge variety of beer from the likes of Northern Monk, Signature Brew, Siren, The Wild Beer Co, and more – as well as a line-up that includes Caribou, Khruangbin, and the Happy Mondays. Nice.
Don’t have the funds to secure a world-class headliner? Take inspiration from Berkhamstead’s BerkoBeerFest in securing an exciting line-up of amazing local talent.
🧀 Impressive food
The best beer festivals of today have food offerings to rival the tastiest of craft beer menus, with amazing street food and local delicacies in abundance. Take Scotland’s FyneFest, for example, which offers local oysters, venison, and hog roasts among other culinary delights. And it makes sense. Thanks to the boom in the street food trend, people really do expect to be able to eat well at events these days, which all adds to the overall experience. You’ll see no lacklustre burger or hotdog vans here!
🎤 Talks and tastings
Some beer festivals are now enriching the experience even further with expert talks and guided beer tastings. Like Bakewell’s Thornbridge Peakender, whose offering includes ‘Meet the Brewer’ talks and tastings where the beer-obsessed can participate in in-depth conversations about hops varieties and whatever else it is that makes beer-aficionados tick.
Top Tip: if you’re thinking about selling tickets online for your upcoming beer festival, don’t miss our new Add-Ons feature, which lets you upsell merchandise and experiences in advance!
🍺 Free merch
We love how the Big Oxford Beer Bash gives attendees a free branded beer glass to take home. We’ve also spotted that Haddenham’s Craft Beer Festival includes a limited edition festival pint cup in the ticket price . Who said merch was just for bands?
🎪 Kids’ activities
Beer festivals don’t have to be adults-only, as proven by the 2022 beer fests throwing a whole host of kids' entertainment into the mix. FyneFest, for example, promises to keep kids happy with special yurts just for children and lots of exciting kids’ stuff to do across the weekend. Bring on the family fun, we say!
🧘 Yoga? Cocktails? Karaoke?
Who said a beer festival can’t have yoga? Or cocktails? Or karaoke? Some of the finest beer fests of summer ‘22 boast one if not more of the above, and we’re here for it. Take the aforementioned Bigfoot Festival, for example, which offers fine wines and cocktails alongside beer, and also runs yoga sessions by a stunning lake. FyneFest not only has a bunch of amazing live bands but also lets attendees participate in karaoke, too. Because… why not?!
And there you have it, eight awesome things to include at a modern-day beer festival to keep up with the competition and sell tickets thick and fast. Prost! 🍻
Brewing up your own beer festival idea? Head to our festival ticketing page for affordable, seamless event registration.