How a 'semi-charmed' street party became a national festival

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Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — In 1982, San Miguel Oktoberfest was launched as a radio-based sponsorship event in the Ultra Sports Center. Thirty-five years later, it has become the longest-running beer and music festival in the country — not to mention the biggest — and continues to grow every year. In 2012, the Oktoberfest was certified as an official Philippine Fiesta by the Department of Tourism.

Through the years, San Miguel Oktoberfest has also become known as a big supporter of the OPM scene, consistently working with iconic bands like The Dawn, Side A, Parokya ni Edgar and more to give the attendees a good time. The event puts the spotlight on San Miguel’s sterling line up of beer brands — San Miguel Pale Pilsen, San Mig Light, Red Horse Beer, San Miguel Flavored Beer, San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer, San Miguel Super Dry, Cerveza Negra, San Mig Zero, and Gold Eagle Beer.

This year’s Oktoberfest began Sept. 13 at the SM MOA Arena and will continue through November. For more information on this year’s San Miguel Oktoberfest, visit the San Miguel Oktoberfest Facebook page.

Here’s a look back at some of the festival’s biggest milestones.

Oktoberfest- Life (2008-2011).jpg Illustration by MIA TOGLE

‘Semi-charmed' street party

Few bands characterize ‘90s student life as much as Third Eye Blind, the rock band behind hits like “Semi-Charmed Life” and “Jumper.” And in 2008, as GenXers grew nostalgic for good times in the ‘90s, San Miguel Beer threw in for the first time a foreign band on a street party along San Miguel Avenue for a one-night only performance.

A million reasons

In 2009, on its second year, Oktoberfest launched the San Miguel Oktoberfest T.V. Game, a show where the brand gave away a million pesos every week throughout the month of October.

Talk that tech

The third year of San Miguel Oktoberfest is notable for its tech innovation. The 2010 festival was marked with the use of video-mapping lights and sound spectacle that used ultra-high definition projection system of giant SMB bottle images on the facade of Microtel Hotel, which served as the backdrop to Oktoberfest festivities. That year’s festival was attended by a crowd of 15,000 people.

Laneway or the highway

The 2011 Oktoberfest took its cues from international music festival like Laneway and Coachella and successfully staged a multi-stage, multi-genre festival simultaneously happening in multiple tents within one venue. The effort proved a hit with SMB fans, attracting a crowd of 20,000 that didn't clear until 4 a.m. and took in a giant beer pyramid that overflowed beer from top to bottom.

Oktoberfest- Life (2014-2017).jpg Illustration by MIA TOGLE

Raining beer

In 2012, the Department of Tourism sanctioned San Miguel Oktoberfest as an official festival of the Philippines. And two years later, the brand celebrated with the first ever beer shower. 

Shower tour

A year later, in 2015, the beer shower traveled the country. In multiple venues across the Philippines, Filipinos participated in what was fast becoming a national tradition.

Fest for all

In 2017, San Miguel Oktoberfest had become a festival for everyone. This year, the brand is staging a multi-event Oktoberfest, ranging from beer plazas to concerts, band competitions to surfing events, MMA events to pulutan festivals, living up to its “DiverCity” theme. Best of all, the year marks the first time Oktoberfest visibly included the LGBTQ community in the festivities.

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The San Miguel Oktoberfest continues on Oct. 13, 20, and 27 in the Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Oct. 13 in Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Oct. 14 in Laguna Central, Greenfield District, Sta. Rosa Laguna, Oct. 14 and 28 in Thunderbird Poro Point. Oktoberfest activities will continue through November. For more information on this year’s San Miguel Oktoberfest, visit the San Miguel Oktoberfest Facebook page.

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