The Music Of Oktoberfest - Folk, Polka, Schlager and more!

Posted by Tom Telford on Wed, Sep 18, 2013

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oktoberfest helen gaWhat would an Oktoberfest be without music? Half the fun of celebrating this popular German festival is dancing with friends, or enjoying a pint and a pretzel while watching a live band perform. Helen's own Oktoberfest is so beloved and well known for the fact that it features the perfect combination of beer, food, and, of course, music!

As you plan your autumn trip to the Alpine village, you may be wondering what type of music you can expect, and which bands you should try to see perform. In order to help you catch a band that matches up with your personal preferences, here's a guide to the musical styles featured in Oktoberfest, its influence upon the festival, and a schedule of performers who will appear at Oktoberfest Helen GA 2013.

A Primer on the Musical Stylings of Oktoberfest

Generally, Oktoberfest celebrations will feature the recognizable sounds of polka, folk, and schlager. Here's a breakdown of each:

Polka - Polka music found its origins in central Europe during the early 1800s, yet still remains prevalent in German culture today. The term "polka" actually refers to both the musical style itself, as well as to its corresponding dance. The music is characterized by the sounds of the accordion, tuba, trumpet, clarinet, zither, semi-acoustic guitar or fiddle, and a rhythm section. Both the songs and dances are very upbeat and lively, typically played in 2/4 time.

Folk - Folk music varies by region, as it reflects the beliefs and traditions of various cultures. In Germany, folk songs which are referred to as "volkslieder" were taught to children. These tunes were sunny and optimistic in nature, however folk music may also include work songs and political messages. Although generally upbeat, folk music may also feature slower ballads. Instruments featured in folk music include the acoustic guitar, accordion, harmonica, mandolin, ukulele, violin, and a rhythm section.

Schlager - Loosely translated as "a hit", schlager music is very popular in central Europe, and features either sweet and sentimental ballads, or light pop tunes. Catchy melodies and lyrics that center around love, relationships, and emotions are the hallmarks of this musical style. Generally, the German people view schlager as their "country" music.

Music's Role in Oktoberfest Celebrations

Oktoberfest was founded and continues to reflect the principals of celebration, fun, and togetherness. Lively, cheerful music helps to create a light and jovial mood for festival goers from all walks of life. The Oktoberfest Helen GA puts on each year features a variety of live bands in the beloved Festhalle. Here, guests are free to gather together around communal tables and enjoy the music with their nearest and dearest, while making new friends at the same time. Camaraderie ensues as attendees are caught up in the moment and find themselves dancing the night away, to the sounds of the accordion's "oom pah pah". Ultimately, the music of Oktoberfest ends up setting the mood for the entire festival.

helen georgia oktoberfestThe Music of Oktoberfest Helen GA 2013

So who's playing at Oktoberfest Helen GA 2013, and what types of music do they perform? Check out the lineup to determine which bands you would like to see:

September 12-15: Mountain Top Polka Band - Since 2009, this lively band has been entertaining the masses with polka and waltzes that feature accordions, the tuba, euphonium, clarinent, trumpet, singers, dancers, and more.

September 19-22: Eurofest - This party band features a four man ensemble and bring polka music to life with the tuba, autoharp, accordion, percussion, singing, and yodeling.

September 23-29: Terry Cavanagh and the Alpine Express - Self-professed "high voltage polka", this band goes above and beyond the song and dance of polka, incorporating elements of comedy and audience intereactions.

September 30-October 6: Chardon Polka Band - Polka with a modern twist! Although this young and vibrant band of 20-somethings offers traditional polka tunes, they put their own twist on things, throw in their own songs, and even feature polka covers of popular artists like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.

October 7-16: Dan Witucki and the Heimatland Musikanten -- The leader of this five piece German ensemble has been bringing polka music to the Oktoberfest circuit since the 1970s, but members are of all ages, making in an eclectic mix. Accordion, trumpet, drums, cowbells, and tuba are all featured in the music of this fun and vibrant group.

October 17-20: Alpenmusikanten - This hearty group claim that they, like their great-grandfathers, will play their accordions, saxophones, clarinets, guitars, and percussion instruments for beer, with their slogan being "Take me to your liter".

October 21-27 The Alex Meixner Band -The Alex Meixner Band - Grammy nominated Alex Meixner heads up this upbeat polka ensemble and is sure to get your toe tapping with outstanding musical performances and incredible energy.

Which bands do you most want to try to see during Oktoberfest Helen GA 2013?

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Topics: Oktoberfest