Munich might seem like an unusual destination choice for one’s first trip to Europe. If left to my own devices, I honestly would’ve probably gone somewhere else (I had no idea at the time how much I would fall in love with Munich). But my decision to go there was not haphazard.
I am an avid swing dancer, and had spent the past 10 years hearing about all the cool swing dance events held throughout the world but had never been to any of them. So when one of my good friends mentioned that he would be attending a swing dance festival in Germany that year, I decided to tag along. The solution was perfect: I would finally get to experience swing dancing in another country, I had a legitimate excuse to go abroad, and if I got lonely after spending a day sightseeing alone (my friend was hired to teach at the festival during the day) I knew I would see some familiar faces every night at the evening dances. And so the decision was made- I would attend the Rock That Swing Festival!
The Rock That Swing Festival is held over 5 days and nights every February in Munich and features some of the best swing dancers and swing bands from all over the world! Attendees can spend the day taking classes from instructors they would normally have to travel thousands of miles to see, and then spend the evenings dancing to amazing bands in the beautiful Deutsches Theater. Never being one to take group dance classes, I opted out of the day time festival activities in favor of sightseeing, and bought only the evening pass to attend the dances.
First of all, the theater is gorgeous. It is one of the recommended places to visit on most Munich itineraries, so I got lucky and was able to kill two birds with one stone.
Seating was assigned at this festival, which I thought was pretty cool (that never happens at dance events in LA). You had to choose your seat at the time of ticket purchase. I got lucky again, and ended up at a table with nice people.
The interior of the theater is just as beautiful as the outside…
The second night was similar to the first, except for this night they had Bill Haley’s Comets playing! It was an awesome show. The band line up featured two of the original members, and Bill Haley’s daughter sang a few songs with the band.
And of course I had to sample the local food during the show. Apple Strudel!
During the band break, some of the swing dance instructors performed. Here are my friends Steve and Chanzie! They are seriously awesome dancers. If you are interested in taking swing dance lessons in the LA area, these are the people to go to.
And then the band returned to finish out the night. They kept the dancers swinging to the old-time rock ‘n roll until the wee hours of the morning. The band might be quite a bit older now than they were back then, but they sound just as amazing, as if untouched by time since the 1950s.
Like any good party, there was an after party down the street at a smaller club. It was much easier to dance at the after party. I didn’t have to travel so far from my seat to get to the dance floor.
This festival was so much fun! I didn’t get to dance as much as I would have liked, probably due to not knowing many people there and the dancers seemed less willing to dance with strangers than they are back at home. But even just going to see the bands and be in the Deutsches Theater was still totally worth it. Plus it gave me something to do in the evening instead of just hanging out in my hotel room.
But most importantly, the Rock That Swing Festival is what brought me to wonderful Munich, so I will be forever grateful to my friend Steve for introducing me to this event.
If you want more information on Rock That Swing, visit their website!