Every year, tourists spend absurd amounts of money for Oktoberfest tickets. Fun fact: they don’t even exist.
Those who only know commercial Oktoberfest theme parties outside of Bavaria, which are lamentably called Oktoberfest, may be used to have to buy tickets for their "Oktoberfest" beforehand. The hosts of the largest Oktoberfest-theme party in the world, the Canstatter Volksfest, for example, even sell stroll tickets without a seat.
Why "tickets" can't even exist
Despite all the prophecies of doom, the Wiesn is in fact not a commercial event by its very nature. The organizer is the city of Munich, which already in the 70s imposed the condition on itself not to earn any money with the Wiesn. As usual at Bavarian folk festivals, no entrance fee is charged at the Oktoberfest - not even for the tents. Ironically, the only exception is the Oide Wiesn, a separate festival area behind the Ferris wheel, which is three Euros.
Thus, there is neither an entrance fee for the festival area nor for the tents to be paid. Maybe you have already seen absurd, four-digit prices for "tables" or reservations. In general, reservations are actually free of charge. Only a certain amount of beer and food coupons have to be purchased in advance - and only from the landlord. No one but the landlords themselves makes reservations.
Reservations aren't mandatory
Reservations on the Wiesn are also not necessary for a visit to a tent, in contrast to what is often the case abroad. As you can read in detail on our page about Oktoberfest reservations in general, all large Oktoberfest tents, with two exceptions, must provide large reservation-free areas that include, depending on the day of the week, up to 50% of the seats.
The fact that evening reservations can be so absurdly priced by scalpers is due to the fact that the Oktoberfest tents are usually closed on Friday evenings and Saturdays due to overcrowding. If this happens, a reservation guarantees admission to the respective tent. On Friday, you can easily avoid having wait outside by simply looking for seats before noon.
On Saturdays this is unfortunately much more difficult - then the search for seats must be successfully completed in the morning before the tents close at the latest in the early afternoon. After that, a lot of patience is needed. On Sundays, this is completely different, by the way. Finding seats is never as easy as on a Sunday night – the later, the better. Before you plan your visit, make sure to consult the beer tent crowd forecast.
Lunch reservations can be bothersome
Actually, there is no reason why scalpers should be able to sell weekday lunch reservations. On the one hand, because they are relatively easy to get even at short notice from the landlords, which is, as already mentioned, free of charge. On the other hand, because a lunch reservation only makes sense for larger groups. These usually start at eleven o'clock, sometimes even at ten o'clock. Anyone entering the tents at this time from Monday to Thursday will notice that it would have been possible without any problems to take a seat in the reservation-free area.
Depending on the tent and the area, the table that you have reserved must be cleared at a certain point in the afternoon, as it is reserved at least once again, in some tents even twice. You could stay longer at an unreserved table. The waiters are of course not very enthusiastic seeing individual guests sipping the same beer for hours or, on the contrary, poison themselves with alcohol.
And although lunch reservations are counterproductive in most cases, they can be bought for over €100 per seat on the large black market platforms, which normally earn their living with concert tickets. Hopefully, this article can help to make it a little more difficult for these scalpers to do business.
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