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Haigh-Oktoberfest 2017 and date for 2018!

Well, the Festzelt (Marquee) is down, the bar has been disassembled and that’s our first festival done at Two Left Feet Tap at Haigh. On Friday and Saturday 29th/30th September and Sunday 1st October, we hosted our Oktoberfest and it was a weekend packed with great bier and food and lots of fun.

Oktoberfest 2017

The prep for Oktoberfest began way back at the start of July when we set the date, applied for the TENS and started writing down lists of all the stuff we’d need to think about, things to book, people to contact…that was a pretty daunting list to start with. We’ve learned a lot in a very short time – it was after all our first festival.

On August 4th our new www.haigh-oktoberfest.co.uk website went live – along with ticket sales, via Eventbrite. Thanks Steven, Gary, Andy and Paul at Cultivate Creative. We released 140 Early Bird tickets for those who were keen and in total sold 578 tickets inc. Gruppe tickets so 628 people. These sales along with guests, staff, vendor staff, and musicians and the open sessions on Saturday and Sunday meant we had approx. 800 people onsite across the weekend.

We’d had a crazy week  before getting everything set-up,  the Festzelt was put up on the Wednesday, (originally programmed for the Monday) giving us only limited time to get everything set-up and tested and organised and decorated. The bar was still been worked on Friday a.m. but by Friday evening, after a couple of very hard day’s work and a massive effort, a few tasks remained and there were still some rough edges and it showed.

7p.m., 29th September, appeared to arrive out of nowhere; it felt like only the previous day we’d been sat discussing what date to have the festival and suddenly there was the Mayor and Lady Mayoress waiting to tap the first barrel and people queued at the entry desk.  We won’t give you an hour by hour account of how the evening went, but there were a few issues – no flow controls on the 18 beer lines – meaning foaming and loss of beer – too long wait for the queue on entry and for the bier tokens – and a ladies w.c. getting blocked early doors. After the first hour or so things settled down, yes the staff were run off their feet but the atmosphere was great and things started going as smoothly as we could hope for.

The evening had a brilliant atmosphere; the Oompah band Brasswurst was fantastic, watching 100+ people doing the conga to I’m Gonna Be, was brilliant, people enjoying 2 Pint steins with their friends, eating delicious food and dancing away on the tables and benches.  There’s barely more you could ask for and as organisers, we were thrilled to see so many people having a great time.

Saturday night was a sell out – 430 people plus staff, musicians and guests. We had learned quickly re the queuing systems on Friday re entry to the Fest and for bier tokens but it was too late to change the procedure for the Saturday night so this meant long queues again for both for which we can but apologise, but we will sort for next year. One thing we did change from the Friday to the Saturday was the stein deposit system and that worked far more efficiently on the Saturday.

Music on Saturday was provided at the last minute by the Oompah Band, The Bavarian Strollers, following The Yorkshire Oompah Band messing us about the week before – BASTARDS – and by the Wigan Ukulele Band and the DJ for both nights was Deano.

Big learns for next Oktoberfest and will happen.

Start ticket sales and marketing  a month earlier – late June/early July.

Festzelt to go up a couple of days earlier.

Bar system, to be set up earlier and properly tested.

Ability to also sell tickets from The Tap via Eventbrite system.

Book Brasswurst for both nights  – Ticked

More staff serving at table.

Double reception staff and bier token staff and possibly staff selling tokens at tables.

More w.c.‘s

Biers – definitely more Paulaner – as 4 x kegs all sold Friday night! More choice of wines, soft drinks, waters and spirits.

Future Festivals

We already have the green light from WLCT Management for an Oktoberfest next year and now we’ve got a bit of experience under our belt and know roughly what to expect, we feel we can now focus on continuing to develop the festival experience every time we host them. Possibly try new themes, new entertainment…the potential for experimentation is endless and that’s really exciting as it keeps the festivals fun for us to organise.

And so, to the final part of the blog which is probably the only reason you came here for…when is the next Oktoberfest? Get these dates in your diary.

5th, 6th, 7th October 2018

See you there!

RE OKTOBERFEST 2017 Massive thanks again to our event organisers extraordinaire, Harley Humphreys, Eleanor Healy and George Broom, to A Smith Marquees, Neil Upton / Marston’s Brewery and James Clay for the bar and biers, Cook and Foragers for the fabulous food, cellar man extraordinary, Artiomas Austys, Jagergirl – Colette Alexander – Brasswurst, The Bavarian Strollers and Wigan Ukulele Band for the fabulous music, DJ – Dean McDonald  and Keith Bergman and Lewis Hill of WLCT for their unfailing support and help with the event. And a massive thank you to all the staff without whom, Haigh Oktoberfest would not have happened. And again NO THANKS to The Yorkshire Oompah Band for cancelling on us/messing us about the weeks before – BASTARDS!