The Festspielhaus is located about a 20-minute walk north from the center of Bayreuth. The approach is dramatic:
But honestly, every person on the carpet had to be identified for me with the exceptions of Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle. The guy next to me would say, "That's the minister of the environment!" and I would say, "toll!" and he would add, "...of Bavaria," and I would think, "...oh." I was reassured that a lot of the Germans needed to have the notables identified for them as well. One of the photographers said as he was folding up his tripod that the crowd was pretty B-list compared to previous years.
Merkel stayed the whole week, spending the other nights incognito and unbothered by everyone else (though it's not like she wasn't noticed). Her security was very discreet but she's been coming every year for years and I'm told they have it down to a science.
Here are people milling around during intermissions. As you can see, the dress code is formal compared to anywhere in the US but casual-ish compared to Salzburg. I can endorse Intermezzo's dress advice as accurate with one exception: I did see at least a half-dozen
But other people were taking photos of the Parsifal curtain call so I took one too. The women's chorus doesn't appear onstage so they're just wearing street clothes.
One thing I really liked about the atmosphere was how unpretentious and unritzy it is. People are really there for the music (sometimes in a terrifyingly intense way!), also unlike Salzburg. Even the food tends towards the casual: