While 6 million people from around the world getting together to drink beer and sing Bavarian songs might not sound like a gay haven, for one special Sunday during the legendary Oktoberfest, it kinda is.
Gay Oktoberfest is known in German as Rosa Wiesn-Oktoberfest. While nothing stops anyone from attending the entire fest, there are a few days dedicated to the LGBT community. Since 2000, it has found a home in the Bräurosl tent on the first Sunday of the festival.
A waitress at the Hacker-Pschorr tent said "Gay Sunday is the best day of Oktoberfest...There are no fistfights, everybody is nice and easy-going. And the music is better too." She also quotes a frequent drag performer of the event who says in the Bavarian dialect, A bissl Leder braucht a jeder ("Everybody needs a little leather").
Brief History of Gay Oktoberfest
A small meeting of friends in the 1970s has turned into an annual Oktoberfest tradition and a major event on Germany's LGBTQ festival calendar.
Münchner Löwen Clubs (Munich Lions' Club or MLC Munich) is a gay leather and fetish collective that was initially confused with a football (soccer) club when they began their meet-up at Oktoberfest. But people kept joining and slowly the first Sunday of the fest was semi-officially dubbed the "Pink Wiesn" at the Bräurosl beer tent.
Today, Gay Sunday alone attracts nearly 8,000 LGBT revelers, plus many more throughout the 16-day festival.
Events of Rosa Wiesn-Oktoberfest
There are actually several LGBT events during the Fest. Note that most events book up well in advance.
- Gay Sunday: Held in the Bräurosl tent on the first Sunday (September 23rd in 2018), this is the largest and most popular event. The balcony has more than 600 seats reserved for the MLC with the tables below also catering to a LGBT crowd. There is the traditional drinking, eating and conversing with an international crowd, as well as special events like a drag show. In total, there will be around 8,000 LGBT people in the tent. While the tent only opens as 9:00, some people line-up much earlier to claim a seat and reservations are given away if you don't show up by 11:00. Tickets are so in demand there is a lotto to determine who gets in - if at all. (Reservations can be made from May til June.)
- RoslMontag: If 9:00 seems far too early to be drinking, RoslMontag takes place the first Monday (September 24, 2018) in the Bräurosl tent. It starts at a respectable 15:00. Entrance to this event is free and offers a casual alternative with much easier entry than Gay Sunday.
- Prosecco-Wiesn: A different Oktoberfest experience is provided in the Fischer Vroni tent on the second Monday (October 1, 2018). No pork knuckle and beer here, this more upscale experience offers grilled "fish on a stick" and white wine.
- Schwuler Wiesn-Ausklang: The informal finale is at the Schottenhamel tent on the last day of the festival (October 7, 2018).
Visitor info for Rosa Wiesn-Oktoberfest
The 2018 Oktoberfest will be held from September 22nd til October 7th. If you miss the special events events, be assured that Oktoberfest is a great place to meet people of all orientations. Along with the tents, check out the carnival rides, and party atmosphere.
Festivities occur from Monday to Friday from 10:00 until 23:00 and Saturday and Sundays from 9:00 to 23:00. Dates for future events can be found here.
Discover how to get to Oktoberfest, where to buy Lederhosen, last-minute Munich accommodations and more with our comprehensive Oktoberfest articles and use our handy Oktoberfest FAQ to answer all of your questions.
For more information about happenings for LGBT visitors, refer to the http://www.rosawiesn.de/.
Gay Events Away from the Wiesn
The MLC Club and other gay groups and clubs organize many events besides those that happen at the fairgrounds. Many events center on the Underground Club (Machtlfinger Str. 29) with different sections of the community from bikers to bears (like OktoBEARfest).
Though Munich has a smaller gay scene than Cologne or Berlin, clubs are on high-alert for Oktoberfest. Consult the MLC site and look for rainbow flags in the altstadt (old town) around Glockenbachviertel (GBV) and Sendlinger Tor metro station. Look for the AIDS Memorial here, designed by Wolfgang Tillmans and one of the very few monuments of this kind in Germany. A top pick for a club is Café NiL, one of the longest-running gay venues in Munich.
Gay Friendly Munich Hotels
You should be able to stay anywhere in Germany without fear, but these hotels have been pointed out as especially gay-friendly.
- Hotel Deutsche Eiche
- Hotel Belle Blue
- Am Sendlinger Tor
- Eurostars Grand Central
- Carat Hotel & Apartments München
- Hotel Exquisit
- GHOTEL hotel