Every year over the Pentecost weekend, one of Karlsruhe’s local breweries has its beer festival. There are live bands, tasty things to eat, face painting and activities for children and, of course beer. Those of you who speak German and were paying attention will probably have noticed that little word “Burg” in the title… meaning castle. There is no actual castle involved, but Hoepfner’s building is made to look like one, earning it the name “Hoepfner Burg” – Hoepfner Castle… so naturally the annual event had to be the Burgfest, or castle festival. The Burgfest has been going since 1983, which makes it as old as me! (Actually a few months older since I was born after Pentecost). It starts on the Friday evening and runs until 8 p.m. on Pfingstmontag (Whit Monday). During that time various bands perform live both in the tent in the top courtyard and on the big stage down in the bottom courtyard. A lot of the bands are the same every year, but there are usually a couple of new ones.
This year, we decided to skip Friday and Saturday (I don’t think I’ve ever been to Burgfest on a Friday). There was a band called “Acoustic Rock Night” performing on Sunday afternoon that sounded interesting, so Jan, K and I took ourselves along for that. A friend of ours who was away from Karlsruhe the weekend of the festival had two beer tokens which he gave to Jan and I, so my first drink was a beer. I chose the Hoepfner Schwarz-Gold (Black-Gold), which is a dark beer. After that I switched to Weißweinschorle (white wine spritzer) and then had two glasses of Erdbeerbowle (strawberry punch). The band was good, but sadly the sound in the tent wasn’t brilliant so most of the time you couldn’t even hear the backing singers! Here are some photos from Sunday afternoon:
It was about 36°C that day and there was no breeze whatsoever so we were all boiling! I bought bottle of water that I drank about half of, using the other half to wet my face, neck and wrists for some momentary relief from the relentless heat! (I had actually brought a bottle of tap water along with me but I had to down that at the entrance. No drinks at all were allowed in!). Towards evening we decided to eat something and I felt like I was going to pass out while queuing for my food with all the ovens and grills blasting at me from behind the stalls. I’ve no idea how the people working there coped! After Acoustic Rock Night, another band came on… I think they were called the Moonlighters? They were okay, but we decided to move down to the bottom courtyard anyway as by that time another friend had turned up who wanted to see the band performing down there. Me and the Heat. K decided to leave at that point as it was still way too hot and she had a headache. Jan and I stayed for a few Me and the Heat songs, but left after having one more drink each. I’m not a huge fan of Me and the Heat, really. Technically (musically) they’re very good, but I don’t like most of the songs they do and they seem very uninterested in the audience somehow.
The next day, Monday, we headed down to see the final act of the Burgfest. The Sean Treacy Band is well known in Karlsruhe… If there’s a festival of any sort, they will almost always appear on the program! And they always close the Hoepfner Burgfest. This time, there was a surprise special guest performing alongside them. Fish, formerly of the band Marillion, was performing in a charity concert with them the following day and had popped along for a quick trial run before the main event. It was a great performance and a nice end to the long weekend.