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Octfest 2018 Survival Guide: How to Balance A Weekend Of Beer Tastings & Music

With 90 different breweries and artists like The Flaming Lips, Vince Staples and Girlpool, you will want to head to Octfest this weekend.
Octfest 2018

Labor Day has come and gone and for North America that means the end of white pants and festival season. Fall has its own joys with cooler weather (looking at you oppressive New York humidity) and also a crop of lesser known festivals and events. One coming to New York this weekend is Octfest put on by Pitchfork and October, their beer-focused publication. Octfest festival will combine beer with music and food. Serving alcohol is standard at music events, but each ticket comes with free tasting samples of good beer that can have high alcohol content and maybe hit you in ways you weren’t expecting a music festival. With a lineup that includes the likes of Nile Rodgers with Chic, Yo Le Tango, Flaming Lips, Vince Staples and more, there will be plenty of fun to go around all weekend. We are here to give you a survival guide so you can make it through Saturday and Sunday safe and sound, while having a damn good time.

Balance music and beer:

You will have 15 tastings at a minimum per day, so use them up, but don’t dare forget about that the music lineup. Music kicks off at 2:30 each day and ends at 10 pm with a headliner. There is a nice balance of Pithfork-friendly indie rock bands, R&B and some hip-hop that will keep you on your toes throughout the weekend.

Vince Staples will headline Saturday, with artists like NAO, who fuses R&B, funk and soul on her records and Saba, who released his unrated new album Care For Me in April, also ready to take the stage.

Sunday is headlined by the wild production of Flaming Lips, but that is not close to all. Nile Rodgers and Chic will be before them with his unlimited catalog of hits, while other buzzing acts like Philly indie rock group Girlpool and R&B singer Kamaiyah also perform. Yo Le Tengo will keep things chill as the sunsets on the island after Nile Rodgers.

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Take it slower than normal:

Thanks dad. I know that sounds boring, but this isn’t some swill you find at big festivals because of crazy sponsorship deals. There are plenty of good beers of all types and ciders that will get to you if you rush things. You will want to take the time to actually taste the beers and not chug them like a college natty. Also this means those beers will be a bit heavier than something you may normally drink and on a day outside in volatile weather, pacing yourself will keep you on your feet and dancing for longer. You probably won’t want to come loaded either because then you won’t be able to tell the difference between a Keegan Ale and something from Rogue. There will be plenty of beer for you here from 90 different breweries from around the world.

Get In On The Food:

The beer will likely make you very full, but missing out on food could put you face down in the ground. You may want to go back for seconds on a few of the beers you tasted so make sure there is a solid base of food to help you survive the day and subsequently the weekend. There will be food from Roberta's, Sweet Chick, Oddfellows Ice Cream Co and more.

Plan Your Beers:

Spontaneity is good. However if there are some beer you are very interested in, you probably aren’t alone. So get there early and choose five to seven you are going for first to get in those lines before the festival peaks with crowds at Octfest. That way when you want to switch things up with some less popular beers later on, you won’t have to wait in long lines.

Beware Of The Ferry:

Since this on Governors Island, you will have to take the ferry over. The ferry doesn’t frequently – every half hour – so make sure you get there early to get to the ferry you want. There are ferries from Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, so you have options.

Octfest will take place this weekend, Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 from 2 pm until 10pm each day. It will take place on Governors Island, a change of pace from the standard Randall’s Island festivals. Tickets are still on sale now and they are at a 30% discount, so get them now. 

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