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Oktoberfest in need of a ‘reset’ going forward

Quote:The 50th anniversary of Oktoberfest helped reverse the recent trend of declining revenues in 2018, but the festival continued to lose money last year.

During the annual general meeting Tuesday night at the Schwaben Club in Kitchener, treasurer Tony Papa said the organization saw total revenue increase by about $820,000 in 2018 to $2.7 million, but they still ended up with an overall deficit of about $150,000.

That's an increase over the 2017 deficit of about $112,000. Between 2012 and 2017, festival revenue dropped from $2.8 million to $1.9 million.
Incoming president Tim Beckett said the festival is "in need of a reset to ensure the festival remains a community highlight for the next 50 years."

That includes engaging with municipal governments in the region to ensure Bavarian culture is embraced during the festival, working with local fest hall partners and service organizations to provide the best experience possible, and continuing to provide compelling volunteer opportunities.
Oktoberfest introduced several new initiatives in 2018 to attract new festivalgoers, including new radio frequency identification wristbands at the festival's newest and largest venue, Oktoberfesthaus at Lot 42 in Kitchener.

The festival generates an estimated $21.8 million worth of economic benefit to the community, and attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees each year. The 2019 Oktoberfest will run from Oct. 11 to 19. For more information, visit www.oktoberfest.ca.
It's certainly a worthwhile discussion:  What is the vision of the Oktoberfest festival?
Maybe people just don't drink at festivals/restaurants as much as they used to? I mean, we also talked about the Bomber and its declining sales.
There's a thriving beer culture. Oktoberfest is just pretty much completely out of touch with it, though.
Oktoberfest needs something new and bold and different.  With the legalization of marijuana perhaps it's time to combine the celebration of beer and marijuana and call it Okdoperfest.   Idea
Less kitsch, more hip, somehow. Maybe a national “beer of the year” competition. Get the KWS involved again. More “foodie” events. On the kitsch side (to contradict myself), would the weather make a midway impossible?
I'm curious too what an intentionally smaller Oktoberfest would look like. It doesn't have to grow each year to be successful and if the huge hall + overpriced run-of-the-mill beer isn't doing it for the German clubs then perhaps a return to the roots in some fashion would be better. The event as a whole probably can't do something along these lines, but one of the clubs might be able to do a smaller, more quality-focused event. Better food and drink, better entertainment.

I don't know what it would actually be, I just think it's worth exploring an alternative to "how do we get bigger every year" if only to get a few extra ideas.
If Oktoberfest kind of shrunk over a few years and then went away would anyone truly be upset?
(03-06-2019, 10:32 AM)panamaniac Wrote: Less kitsch, more hip, somehow.  Maybe a national “beer of the year” competition.  Get the KWS involved again.  More “foodie” events.  On the kitsch side (to contradict myself), would the weather make a midway impossible?

I don't think a midway would be impossible, but it would be unpredictable enough that the risk would be very high. My parents used to have fairly big parties on Thanksgiving weekend, a bunch of their high school and college friends and all their families would come over, and some years we'd spend the whole time outside and have tents and a campfire in our backyard, and others there'd be snow and ice. My memory suggests the latter was far more frequent but that's unreliable at the best of times. Probably in part due to Oktoberfest. Big Grin
I don't bother with it anymore because it's just an excuse for kids to get drunk on overpriced Molson beers.

They need to definitely shift their focus, and I would start by killing the exclusive deal they have with Molson and have a larger variety, including German and European style domestics and imports.
(03-06-2019, 11:01 AM)bgb_ca Wrote: They need to definitely shift their focus, and I would start by killing the exclusive deal they have with Molson and have a larger variety, including German and European style domestics and imports.

And I think making it "more German" would be good. Apart from the time of year, the Oktoberfest events in Japan feel much more German than ours does. Proper German beers, proper glasses (charge a deposit for those to discourage people from breaking them or taking them home). More food selection. More non-alcoholic options. Charge higher admission or somewhat higher prices, make it an event people want to go to, not just for cheap beer.
Definitely axing the Molson exclusivity is the key here - Bingemans' mutiny made that crystal clear. Hopefully a number of other new ideas can come in as well.
My Twitter: @KevinLMaps
I wonder if given the lack of sponsorship they're scared to lose the Molson's deal.

Craftoberfest is well attended, no? Doesn't that tell you something.
What about combining Oktoberfest with Christkindl Market? October isn't too early for holiday shopping. Maybe have the Chriskindl market run again in December.
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