The day after I arrived in Qingdao, my hosts decided to do me some good and brought me to the Qingdao International Beer Festival.
The Beer Festival was a marketing gimmick invented by the Tsingtao brewery. Tsingtao beer, if you’ve never heard about it, traces its origins back to the time Qingdao was a German colony. The Germans built a brewery, which continued to operate, and it seems that Tsingtao Beer is the closest China has to a national beer. Despite the name, the Beer Festival isn’t really all that International. They’re using a Bavarian theme for part of it, and selling German beer, and on the first day – I am told – Musicians from Bavaria play some music (for which they get paid very well).
Despite the apparent popularity of the event, I can’t really say too much good about it. It’s horribly loud – very loud – the Bavarian theme is so superficial and fake that it is hard to even call it “a mockery of the real Bavaria”, there are some rusty rides, and, well, lots of beer. (I am guessing the later is why it’s popular at all.) I wonder if Chinese people would feel the same about China-themed events in Europe.
Much to my annoyance, the festival also featured a constant flow of salespeople: Every five minutes or so, some musician would come and offer to play music for money at our table. This, by the way, happened as the stage music was so loud I could hardly talk to my hosts.
Overall I definitely hated the event, and I can only recommend that you stay as far away as possible from it. Don’t waste your time and/or money.