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Music at Oktoberfest and the Running of the Bulls

It’s been two weeks since the organizers of the San Fermin and Oktoberfest festivals made the emotional announcement that there would not be a 2020 edition for either event. While our staff has begrudgingly accepted this reality for now, we know it’s really going to hit hard once July and September roll around.

In honor of our fallen festivals, we wanted to share some of the songs that help create the ambiance surrounding the respective celebrations.

The San Fermin Festival – Pamplona Spain

We’re confident in proclaiming that anytime during the 192 hours of the San Fermin Festival, there is a group singing or a marching band playing in the streets. Odds are, you probably won’t recognize the majority of the traditional Spanish songs, the artists take a lot of pride in their music and sound great. When you think about it, there aren’t many American drinking songs that everyone knows. That doesn’t apply to Spain, where generations all know the same melodies, and you hear them coming from every corner. Throw in that the bands play all day, every day in the streets throughout the city streets – it’s like you have a soundtrack provided for you as you amble around.

Here are our favorite songs to hear in Pamplona:

Clavado En Un Bar – Mana

Mana hails from Mexico and remains one of the top selling rock bands from our neighbors to the South.

Here is local band playing this tune on Javier Street in Summer 2016

Sofia by Alvaro Soler

This song came out in 2015 and has been a mainstay ever since.

As you can see, the Bucket List Events female staff took kindly to the song in the Summer of 2018

No Controles – Ole Ole

Everything about this song screams 1980s, but the beat and hook are timeless.

 Pan y Mantequilla by Efecto Pasillo

This band is originally from the Canary Islands, and this song was played non-stop the Summer of 2014. This translates to “Bread and Butter.”

The next Summer, they played live in Pamplona on July 5th in the Plaza del Castillo.

Como Te Atreves by Morat

The South America version of Mumford & Sons released this smash hit in 2016, and you couldn’t walk 100 feet without hearing it somewhere in the city.

Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michel Telo

We do not have the actually data to prove this, but we are convinced that every band in Pamplona has a version of this song in their rolodex.

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

We can all admit it – we LOVE cover bands. There is something about hearing an old rock and roll song, or a unique version of some 80s new wave hit that ignites a tsunami of nostalgia in our souls. Hearing these songs again take us right to the Oktoberfest grounds, where you can hear inside each tent as you walk by.

Along with the clothing, Oktoberfest’s music is among the things that are most important to the festival’s image. What would Oktoberfest be without hulking brass bands playing oompah music to the masses as they saunter around the site and take in the amazing atmosphere? The bands play all day, every day – and their set list is compiled of more songs you will know than you won’t. There is a fun blend of German and English classics, and quite frankly, the crowd’s reactions to their favorite German anthems might be most entertaining part! The energy is absolutely contagious, and since everyone is singing along, you can sing as loud as you want without being embarrassed. Through the years we’ve captured videos of all of the following songs performed at the tents, but after listening to them again years later, you’ll spare you the drunken screaming and sloppy videography.

Here are our favorite songs to hear in the Oktoberfest Tents:

Angels by Robbie Williams

There are mixed emotions about this song at Oktoberfest since it’s usually the final song of the night, thus signaling the conclusion of the night. So there’s that, but you probably won’t have a more passionate crowd  participation throughout the experience.

Hulapalu by Andreas Gabalier

Good luck getting this Austrian song out of your head after a night in tents.

Favorite version: Schutzen Tent

All the Small Things by Blink 182

This song was obviously a massive hit Stateside the Summer of 1999, but it has become a staple at all of the Oktoberfest tents the past few years.

Favorite Version: Paulaner Tent

Major Tom by Peter Schilling

This song had major crossover success international as there is also an English version, so the odds are you probably recognize the melody. Schilling is originally from Stuttgart, Germany.

Favorite version: Marstall Tent

Atemlos durch die nacht by Helene Fischer

This song is as poppy as it gets, and seems to be quite the guilty pleasure by the Oktoberfest masses. This translates to “Breathless through the Night.”

Favorite Version: Schottenhamel Tent

What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes

These one hit wonders may have had only one song dominate the charts, but their lead singer Linda Wilson has gone on to be one of the top rock producers in the business. This has nothing to do with Oktoberfest, but just a fun fact to share. As for the song, it’s among the loudest screamed in the tents each year.

Favorite version: Lowenbrau Tent

Ohne dich by Münchener Freiheit

This was a huge hit in Germany, but these guys are local legends. Münchener Freiheit is a square in Munich, also a metro stop. This translates to “Without You,” not to be confused with “With or Without You” by U2, which also happens to be an Oktoberfest mainstay.

Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis

We’ve only heard this at the Hofbrau Tent, which tents to be heavy on English speaking visitors, but this song absolutely kills each time it’s played.

99 Luftballons by Nena

You knew this had to be in here, right? Much like the aforementioned “Major Tom,” this song had international success with an English version. Every tent plays this at some point, and it’s well received every time.

Honorable Mentions, not named John Denver:

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