Steinbenders Ready to Take Oktoberfest Title

9 October 2013

Wellington’s Steinbenders are fully practiced and prepared to defend the Capital’s honour against top oompah bands from around the country at the Oktoberfest Bavarian Showdown on Wellington’s waterfront this weekend (11 and 12 October).

Bavarian-style brass bands have lined up to compete in the inaugural Showdown – and will be vying for a trophy donated by the German Embassy.

Among the colourfully-named lineup are the Christchurch Gummistiefels, the Hutt Sprigbocks and the Wanganui Bratwurst Blast.

Event organiser Mike Sander says a giant marquee has been erected on Taranaki Street Wharf and tickets for the grand final on Saturday night have almost sold out. He says, however, that there may still be some door sales available on Saturday and on the opening night on Friday.

Mike – a long-time member of the Pelorus Trust Wellington Brass Band, which is behind the Showdown – says the band forms the core of the Steinbenders. “So naturally we have high hopes of nailing this event.

“The Wellington Brass Band won this year’s National A-Grade Championship in July – and we’ve pulled some of the ace players from the band to form the Steinbenders – so we’re confident.”

Mike says “serious musical rivalry, great traditional Bavarian oompah music, great beer, great German food and great fun” will be to the fore on Friday and Saturday.

Tickets to the event, supported by Wellington City Council, are $40 for one day, $60 for the two days, and are on sale online at Ticket Direct. Tickets will secure entry to the evening events while a free family-friendly session will run during the day on Saturday.

In the spirit of the German Oktoberfest tradition, the Showdown will feature lederhosen, dirndl and bands playing on stage in front of long wooden tables and special lighting.

“We’ll try as much as humanly possible to bring Munich to the waterfront,” Mike says.

Competition rules will allow bands up to 14-strong – with 10 brass players, a percussionist and singers or MCs. “The best bands will have a good singer who’s also be able to MC and rark up the crowd,” Mike says.

Honouring Wellington’s Craft Beer Capital status, seven breweries are on board – Tuatara, Macs, Fork and Brewer, Black Dog, Sprig and Fern and German brewers Hofbrau and Erdinger. Four of the brewers are working on special brews to mark the occasion of the Showdown.

Food will also be a drawcard – with companies like 3 Little Pigs and Balowski’s laying on the barbecued chicken and pork, authentic sausages, beef hamburgs – all accompanied by pickles sauerkraut and other German delicacies. Brezelmania and Gellissimo will also be selling their wares.