Sarasota Downtown Blues Festival

Guide to Rocking Out at Rocktoberfest

Sarasota's Rocktoberfest, set to rock this October, promises a day and night filled with music, food and vibrant downtown energy. 

Whether you're a rock music enthusiast or just looking for a fantastic weekend getaway, this festival is not to be missed. The authentic three-day Oktoberfest experience is coupled with fantastic live musical performances, big pints of beer and hearty good food! Be sure to bring your festival spirit, a comfortable lawn chair and a hefty appetite!

Here's your guide to making the most of this year's Rocktoberfest and enjoying the best of downtown Sarasota.

Details of the Event

As the sun dips below the horizon, J.D. Hamel Park will transform into a musical paradise. With free admission to the public, Rocktoberfest features a full lineup of live bands, craft beer and a family-friendly festival atmosphere that will have you dancing the night away. Between performances shop the Marketplace of arts, crafts and select fine products and services.

Festivalgoers will also find a wide variety of food plus a German feast fit for King Ludwig himself! Dine on German foods like Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wurstl (Sausages), Brezen (pretzels, Knodel (potato or flour dumplings), Kasespatzel (cheese noodles), sweet mustards, sauerkraut, red cabbage and more! 

Fri, Oct 13, starting at 4 PM-10PM, Sat, Oct 14, 11AM- 10PM, and Sun, Oct 15, 11AM-6 PM

Explore Downtown Before the Music Begins

Before heading to Rocktoberfest on Saturday, explore the Sarasota Farmers Market in the morning – located on Lemon Ave, from 1st Street to Pineapple Ave (just a stone's throw away from the event's location). Sample local produce, artisanal treats and handcrafted goods from friendly vendors. It's a great way to soak up the community's vibrant spirit and get a taste of what’s to come for the bayfront event later that day.

sarasota farmers market

In Between Sets: Where to Wander

Directly across the street from J.D. Hamel Park, take some downtime to stroll through the beautiful Sarasota Bayfront Park and maybe even stop for a tropical cocktail at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill and/or a bite at Marina Jack as a relaxing interlude to recharge for the rest of the festival. Enjoy the serene waterfront views of the marina and bay before heading back to the event to jam out for the rest of the evening!

bayfront park

Keep the Party Going Downtown

Don’t want the party to end after the event’s ended? There will be plenty of close by bars and restaurants throughout Sarasota’s downtown streets to keep you entertained. From craft beer (including more German-style brews) at 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottleshop to worldly flavors at 1592 Wood Fired Kitchen & Cocktails, indulge in the opportunity to explore the lively downtown culture of the city for your memorable weekend getaway.

sarasota downtown

Hotels to Stay Close By

In order for you to dance the night away without any worries of how you’re getting “home,” stay within walking distance (or a short cab ride) to one of downtown’s many modern hotels.

For an edgy and vibrant stay, Aloft Sarasota, also on North Palm Avenue, provides eclectic rooms, a lounge with a pool, rooftop bar with city views and a location that's within walking distance of Rocktoberfest.

Immerse yourself in the artistic heart of Sarasota by staying at the Art Ovation Hotel on North Palm Avenue (just one block down from the event). This boutique hotel features art-inspired décor, rooftop dining, and a convenient location near the festival.

art ovation

Another excellent choice for your stay is The Westin Sarasota, which offers contemporary elegance and is conveniently located just down the way from the event’s location. Enjoy spacious rooms, a rooftop pool and an on-site restaurant.

Experience luxury at its finest at The Ritz-Carlton, situated just minutes from J.D. Hamel Park. This elegant hotel offers stunning waterfront views, top-notch dining on the bay and a serene spa to unwind after a night of rock 'n' roll.

From eclectic dining to scenic park scenes and comfortable hotels, Sarasota has everything you need for a rockin' good time. So mark your calendar, pack your bags, and get ready to rock the night away in beautiful Sarasota!