Chiemgau musicians on the road all over the world

Chiemgau musicians on the road all over the world

Martin Kurz, Martin Wilhelm, better known as 'Maschtei', and Willi Stangl are from the Chiemgau area. One from Prien am Chiemsee, the other from Reit im Winkl and the third from Rohrdorf.  All have been musicians with the Oktoberfest band DIE KIRCHDORFER® for many years. Many know DIE KIRCHDORFER® from the Oktoberfest in Munich (since 1994 the official festival band in Thomas and Toni Roiderer's Hacker festival tent) or from the Salvator strong beer festival on the Nockherberg. As the official band of the Munich Oktoberfest and in cooperation with the city of Munich, DIE KIRCHDORFER® are allowed to use the official “Oktoberfest Munich” logo.

When Oktoberfest in Munich is over early October, there are many Oktoberfest events that take place around the world through November. 'That's right,' says the KIRCHDORFER® bandleader Thomas Wohlschläger. Luckily, most organizers around the world have understood the principle: if you want to book an original and, above all, LIVE band from the Oktoberfest in Munich, you can only do so after the Oktoberfest in Munich.  In Japan, Oktoberfest is often celebrated in the months of May, June, July or August, rather than October when the it is much colder.

DIE KIRCHDORFER® has done 120 international tours in 19 countries in the last 20 years and the three Chiemgauers Martin Kurz (tuba, electric bass, vocals), Martin Wilhelm, the Maschtei (vocals and guitar) and Willi Stangl (accordion and keyboard) are almost always on board. The three have already traveled to many countries beyond Europe, trips to Brazil, Chile, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dubai, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, Namibia, the Russian Federation and South Africa have been included. The goal is to bring the Oktoberfest from Munich and Bavaria out into the world and to share the way Oktoberfest is celebrated in Munich to so many people all over the world. In 2022, after the Oktoberfest in Munich, tours to São Paulo/Brazil, Dubai/UAE, Windhoek/Namibia, Kinshasa/DR Congo and Pune/India were on the schedule.

Kurz and Wilhelm are well rounded musians, Stangl is a virtuoso on the accordion. Martin Wilhelm is also known as Elvis Presley from Reit im Winkl. In the finest white Elvis costume and to the intro sounds of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' he then appears on stage and sings an excerpt from the legendary show by Elvis Presley in Madison Square Garden in New York in 1972. The audience immediately jumps up, dances and sings! We also offer an exclusive photo session with Elvis from Chiemgau for all guests on the stage.

During the 16 days of Wiesn (2023 will be 18 days) in the Hacker festival tent, DIE KIRCHDORFER® will be in action in big band form with 21 people daily from 12:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A variety of instruments are represented, a 12-man wind section with trumpets, trombones and saxophones, drums, percussion, keyboard, guitars, electric bass, and 2 female singers. 
All DIE KIRCHDORFER® performances are 100% LIVE, regardless of whether the line-up is large or small. Abroad, the band often travels with a smaller group, depending on the size and duration of the events. In Dubai or Namibia, for example, 12-14 musicians, but never less than 7 musicians. 'You owe it to the audience to play live, because that's honest music,' Thomas Wohlschläger quotes the famous bandleader James Last said. Unfortunately and often unnoticed by the audience, says Wohlschläger, many other bands no longer stick to this and use tricks wherever possible, with playback or half-playback, MIDI, etc. But the KIRCHDORFER® philosophy is still: We play LIVE – always.

As a band, we are very fortunate not only to be able to play at the Oktoberfest in Munich, but also to be able to 'export' this very special Munich and Bavarian attitude to life to many countries, one could almost say 'once around the world' (like Karel Gott sings about it). 'For us as musicians and band, this is a very special privilege that we appreciate very much,' says bandleader Wohlschläger. DIE KIRCHDORFER® have been involved in the Oktoberfest at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai since 2007. At that time, we started playing in small tent for about 300 people. The event grew year by year and today there is room for around 1,600 people in the tent for 17 days of Oktoberfest in Dubai.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were not any abroad events since March 2020, but since 2022 everything has been as usual or even more intensive. People have been waiting patiently and now they enjoy it even more when the Oktoberfest comes to their country and, so to speak, to your home. A very special highlight in 2022 was the short trip to André Rieu. He called 6 days before his last and 15th summer concert in Maastricht and said he was planning a surprise for his orchestra and production after the concert, as an after-show party, namely an Oktoberfest. So DIE KIRCHDORFER® had the opportunity to play party with André Rieu, all his musicians and his complete production team on July 31, 2022 with 10 musicians. And who couldn't be missing?? Of course, the three Chiemgauers Martin Kurz, Martin Wilhelm and Willi Stangl!

It is traditionally quiet for DIE KIRCHDORFER® over Christmas and New Year, but in 2023 things will start again at the end of January with a tour to Chile, South America for a beer festival in the city of Valdíva, located directly on the Pacific Ocean, about an hour's flight south of the capital Santiago. It is midsummer there and the well-known brewery Kunstmann (a family-run brewery with German roots and German master brewer) invites you to the annual beer festival. A very good friendship has developed over the years and the brewery boss, Armin Kunstmann, visited DIE KIRCHDORFER® with his whole family in the Hacker festival tent in 2022, a great honor for the band!

To close the loop, from March 10th to April 2nd, the 5th season awaits in Munich, the Nockherberg, 24 days of Salvator bar, strong beer festival with Christian Schottenhamel and Florian Lechner in the Paulaner Nockherberg in Munich (the birthplace of the Salvator Doppelbock 375 years ago) until the Oktoberfest opens its doors again on September 16, 2023 for 18 days this time.

The Chiemgau is well represented at all events with Martin Kurz, Martin Wilhelm and Willi Stangl....

Text and images: Oktoberfestband DIE KIRCHDORFER®

Chiemgau musicians on the road all over the world Oktoberfestband DIE KIRCHDORFER®

Official Band since 1994 in the Hacker-Tent at the Oktoberfest in Munich & more than 100 Int. Tours in 20 countries

Austria | Brasil | Chile | China | DR Congo | Dubai/UAE | France | India | Italiy | Japan | Kazakhstan | Liechtenstein 

Namibia | Netherlands | Russian Federation | South Africa | South Korea | Switzerland | Tanzania | Thailand

Official Band since 2018 at the Salvator-Strong Beer Festival of Paulaner Brewery at Nockherberg in Munich

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