The Oktoberfest has to be canceled this year and for the second time in a row. The pandemic does not allow a folk festival with so many visitors, said Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) in a joint press conference on Monday afternoon. This means that the last hope is that the Oktoberfest can be celebrated again this autumn - and certainly not a week longer, as various politicians had called for in the first disappointment after the cancellation last year. The failure of the largest festival in the world was no longer surprising because of the still high number of infections. The landlords and showmen reacted nevertheless disappointed to the final decision. Many people fear for their existence.
For the friends of the Oktoberfest it shouldn’t be any consolation that this year again other big folk festivals in Bavaria like the Gäubodenfest in Straubing cannot take place. There, the city council had already decided last week to cancel.
The mayors of Abensberg, Straubing, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rosenheim, Würzburg and Regensburg were also present at the internal meeting. The Gillamoos fair in Abensberg and the autumn festival in Rosenheim would be affected by the cancellations. Instead, however, „small innovative solutions“ should be possible in different places depending on the incidence in the city. In Munich, for example, this is the so-called Wirtshaus-Wiesn, which took place across the city last year.
For weeks in Munich - very similar to last year - the renewed cancellation of the Oktoberfest became apparent. Reiter and Söder had already let the expectations tend towards zero with public statements. The timing of the decisions is almost the same, as is the reason, only that this time the Oktoberfest falls victim to the third and not the first wave.
Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU), as a consultant for work and economy at the same time Wiesn boss, spoke in an initial reaction of a „sensible decision“ made by Söder and Reiter. „Of course I’m sad that the Oktoberfest is canceled again,“ he said, „but it’s the only right decision. The visitors to the Oktoberfest should enjoy it, and that’s not possible if you get sick from it, it’s that simple. „
Like most of his colleagues, the spokesman for the Oktoberfest restaurateurs, Peter Inselkammer, had already expected this decision. „Of course this is a big disappointment and a heavy blow for us,“ he said, „it hurts our hearts.“ It was hoped until the very end that the decision could have been postponed until the forecasts made an Oktoberfest possible this year. „But I wouldn’t have wanted to make the political decision either,“ he said.
A budget version of the Oktoberfest, possibly with approval only for vaccinated people and a negative test, would not have been an alternative in Inselkammer’s opinion: „That has nothing to do with the original Oktoberfest, we want to do it wisely or not at all.“ Anything else would also be detrimental for the event itself, he says, „because people don’t want a cheap copy either, they want the original“.
Almost even more difficult than the innkeepers, who will at least be allowed to open the outdoor catering again in the foreseeable future, the showmen hit the renewed cancellation of the Oktoberfest. „This is the second year in a row that our livelihoods are literally being pulled from under our feet,“ says Peter Bausch, spokesman for the Munich showmen: „This is particularly bad for us because the Oktoberfest has a great impact on all other folk festivals and for everyone small shooting festival that we live on for the rest of the year. You can say: If the Oktoberfest is canceled, there is no egg market in Posemuckel either. „
For the showmen, this ultimately means the ban on going about their work with their business. The bridging aid covers the fixed costs to a large extent, but of course the costs for private living costs are not included. „We are all no dreamers,“ says Bausch, „but after the announcements by BionTech and the statements of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, we were still hoping that at least a little something would still work.“