Traditional costume and German music are more fashionable in Munich than ever before. The Oktoberfest and other traditional fairs and markets are especially popular with young local people now. Young bands have brought a new version of folk music (Volxmusik) to the city's clubs and are also enjoying success further afield. But people are not just experimenting with fashion and music: culinary creations are also being conjured up by combining the best of traditional fare with dishes from all over the world. Even in the beer gardens, alongside beer and pretzels, you'll find Italian antipasti, spring rolls, falafel and a host of other international specialities on the menu. Guten appetit!
The traditional lederhose and dirndl are not an everyday sight, even in Munich. If you get off the train at Marienplatz square in the middle of the week dressed in traditional costume, you're likely to attract some attention. During the Oktoberfest, however, everyone takes the opportunity to get dressed up. Even younger visitors have acquired a taste for it. Throughout the rest of the year too, there are a number of occasions during which you're likely to see people in traditional costume: the Spring Festival or Kocherlball (traditional cooks' ball - folk dancing event), for example, or even at a variety of themed club evenings based on traditional costume and customs.
There are a number of stores around the city specialising in Trachten. Before and during the Oktoberfest, you'll even see dirndl and lederhose for sale in trendy boutiques and large clothing stores as well as a number of pop-up stores.
The dirndl has also found its way into the collections of young Munich designers. Cross-over is often the theme of these sophisticated and trendy, yet respectful 21st-century versions of the traditional costume featuring African fabrics, Chinese silks or motifs from Indian saris.
But there's one thing that will never change: the best lederhose are those that have already been worn in and have a shiny patina. The finest examples can be found at flea markets or from specialist retailers.
Traditional music is played at many of Munich's traditional beer halls and cafés (Weisses Bräuhaus, Hofbräuhaus, Löwenbräukeller, Turmstüberl). As the folk musicians jam on the stage, it's not unusual for guests to join in and sing along too. Young musicians have also come up with their own new styles based on the old favourites, mixing traditional tunes with sounds from other cultures, setting them to techno beats and writing contemporary lyrics. The Bavarian band Brass 'Banda' has even filled Munich's Olympic Hall with tuba and brass music. Famous local acts such as Zwirbeldirn and Kofelgschroa began their stage career playing at the folk music festival at Munich's Fraunhofer theatre restaurant. Every year, you can discover new musical treats from the young Volxmusik scene here.
There's plenty of delicious food to keep hunger at bay in Bavaria too: a host of specialities such as roast pork, dumplings, weisswurst (veal sausages) and leberkäse (Bavarian meatloaf) are served at all the traditional restaurants. Beer garden specialities include obazda (a classic Bavarian cheese spread), fresh radish and pretzels. Alternatively, you can bring your own picnic basket filled with anything your heart desires, often with a very international twist.
Many Munich restaurants are also breaking new ground by blending international cuisine with a good dose of Bavarian hospitality (and locally brewed beer). Some of the dishes offer a fusion of Bavarian and international influences, e.g. suckling pig with Japanese mayonnaise or Bavarian tapas.