Don’t be confused by the name; this isn’t an Oktoberfest.
“OctFest absolutely was a riff on that,” says the festival’s director Adam Krefman, “but we’re making a tweak on the normal beer festival. You won’t see a beer festival with this type of music lineup and you won’t see a music festival with 90 breweries.”
The beer/music combination festival that made its NYC debut last fall at the Brooklyn Hangar (with about 2,000 attendees) is getting a major expansion in its second year, nearly doubling its international beer vendor list and live performance lineup. Quickly outgrowing its Sunset Park warehouse space, OctFest moves to Governors Island for a two-day run this weekend.
“This isn’t a massive festival, though. This isn’t like going to Gov Ball,” Krefman stresses, adding that he’s now expecting about 5,000 total ticket holders.
Taking place on the Parade Ground at Governors Island, OctFest is setting up two stages for its 20-artist lineup, curated by music site Pitchfork, which includes a variety of genres from rap to rock. Saturday’s roster boasts rapper Vince Staples and pop singer Hatchie; Sunday’s includes rockers The Flaming Lips and soul/disco performers Nile Rodgers and Chic.
“It’s a mix of genres and I think that reflects how people listen to music today,” Krefman explains. “There’s the added benefit of, when you book a diverse lineup you get a diverse crowd. There’s more of a community feel going on.”
He adds: “There’s even a chance you might learn something new. That’s what music festivals were all about at one point.”
To harp on that community vibe, OctFest will keep the open-concept field scene found at the city’s notable music festivals, and mesh it with the laid-back atmosphere of perusing a flea market.
Sampling beers from 90 international brewers — including Brooklyn’s Braven Brewing Co., Circa Brewing Co. and six other local vendors — will be a major part of the OctFest experience.
Beer tents will surround the two performance stages, and be separated by five geographical regions: North America (West Coast), North America (East Coast), Europe, Latin America and international (Asia, Africa and Oceana).
“There will be food that represents those geographic regions within the brewing groupings,” he says, noting vendors like Mission Chinese will set up shop next to the international brewers and Island Oyster next to the East Coast sips. “That’s not to say Mission Chinese is really traditional by any stretch, but the goal is to blend flavors in an interesting way that pair really well together.”
Eats at the festival will be supplied by 20 total trendy vendors, like pizza from Brooklyn-based Roberta’s, ice cream from OddFellows and chicken bites from Lil Sweet Chick, curated in a “Food Village.”
All festival passes ($75) include 15 free 3-ounce beer samples, and extras can be purchased for $1.50 each. Performances are staggered throughout the afternoon, with the first band kicking OctFest off at 2:30 p.m., and the headliners wrapping it up at 10 p.m. both nights.
You can check out the full performer and beer lineups at octfest.co.