Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Michael Hofmann

No Oktoberfest this year

The Oktoberfest has been cancelled: Reactions from grief to hope

For the first time over 70 years, the Oktoberfest has to be cancelled - due to the Corona pandemic. Not only Prime Minister Markus Söder and Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter expressed great regret about this decision. See here how Oktoberfest hosts, showmen, market traders and breweries react to the Oktoberfest cancellation in 2020.

"A bitter pill to swallow": Statements from politicians

"It hurts us and it is an unbelievable pity", said Prime Minister Markus Söder, when he had to announce the difficult decision yesterday together with Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter: Because of the Corona pandemic, there can be no Oktoberfest this year. The risk is simply too high when millions of people are celebrating exuberantly in the beer tents in a confined space. The Lord Mayor added: "For the Bavarians and Munich residents, the Oktoberfest is the highlight of the year and not to let it take place is of course a bitter pill to swallow." But one that all of us must swallow this year.

Clemens Baumgärtner, Head of the department for work and economy, expressed himself similarly: "Of course I fully support the decision. It is the right decision, because at the moment we cannot ensure that we will have a Wiesn that will bring joy to everyone but not danger - a safe Wiesn."

More information

Video statement by Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter

Peter Inselkammer Peter Inselkammer • Photo: Anette Göttlicher

Oktoberfest host Peter Inselkammer: "Health of the guests has the highest priority"

And how do the Oktoberfest hosts react to the end of the Oktoberfest 2020? In short: With great regret, but with just as much understanding. "In view of the fact that it will probably still take some time to develop a vaccine and effective drugs against the lung disease Covid-19, this step was logical and necessary," emphasizes their spokesman Peter Inselkammer."

Of course, Inselkammer regrets the loss of the Wiesn for the people of Munich, who love their Wiesn so much, but especially for the many employees who earn their living at the Oktoberfest: "For about 10,000 people, this is a severe financial blow," said Inselkammer.

Otto Lindinger, spokesman of the small tents Otto Lindinger, spokesman of the small tents • Photo: private

Otto Lindinger, speaker of the small tents: „It's a stab into the heart!“

Otto Lindinger from Bodo's Cafézelt is spokesman for the 21 small tents. He emphasises his full understanding for the cancellation of the Wiesn 2020, but nevertheless: "For us Small Wiesn Tents, it's also a great pity and a huge stab into the heart of each of our 21 small but fine festival tents."

Despite the great variety of the small Wiesn tents, everyone is united by "the overwhelming love of the Wiesn - the Oktoberfest season is the absolute highlight of the year for all of us". The economic loss is one thing, says Otto Lindinger, but the emotional loss is also immense: "We already miss contact with all our guests and employees. Especially in our mostly tiny company sizes, things are often a family affair, and direct contact with our guests is highly appreciated by both sides."

What remains is the anticipation of the Oktoberfest 2021: "We are looking forward to make you happy next year - when on September 18, 2021 it is finally time again to say: "O'zapft is"".

Peter Bausch Peter Bausch • Photo: Peter Bausch

Peter Bausch, acting chairman of the showmen: "Do anything for Oktoberfest 2021"

And the Munich showmen were also hit hard by the cancellation. Peter Bausch is the provisional chairman of the event company of Münchner Schausteller GmbH and represents about 150 showmen. He explains: "Health comes first, of course - that of the visitors, the staff, the showmen and also your own family. I had hoped until the very end that there might still be a solution for the Oktoberfest - because this cancellation hits our industry hard and we have to fight for economic survival. After all, our livelihoods are at stake here, and it is a very difficult situation for us showmen. We can't do our job anymore, we don't have the income to keep our normal business going."

The showmen are missing a whole year due to the winter break and the Oktoberfest cancellation "and moreover the most beautiful and biggest folk festival in the world!" Bausch therefore appeals: "I very much hope that the politicians see If there will be folk festivals again in 2021, we need a financial rescue package for us showmen. Folk festivals take place on our doorstep, they are like short holidays, they are balm for the soul. Let's do everything so that we can experience this again in 2021."

Günter Bretz Günter Bretz • Photo: Gunnar Jans

Günter Bretz, Munich district office of the market traders and showmen: "With vaccine, the carousel must turn again"

And Günter Bretz, 1st Chairman of the Munich district office of market traders and showmen with over 500 members, also speaks of a "painful stab in the heart". And continues to explain: "For all market traders and showmen, their existence is at stake, as all public festivals in front of the Wiesn have been cancelled. The Wiesn was the last hope.

We all hope that a breakthrough in medicine will be achieved as soon as possible and that a vaccine will be developed so that the carousel can turn again and strolling around the markets will be possible without any restrictions. For us market traders and showmen, I hope that we will survive the crisis in good health and see each other again soon, so that we can enjoy the flair at the Wiesn, fairs and markets without any worries.

Oktoberfest beer Oktoberfest beer • Photo: Leonie Liebich

Breweries still want to produce Oktoberfest beer

Directly affected by the decision are of course the large Munich breweries, which serve seven million litres of beer or even more every year at the Oktoberfest. In a first statement, however, they too showed understanding for the cancellation of this year's festival: "As much as the 'Wiesn' is not only a fixed date in the calendar for us as the Munich Breweries Association, but is a matter of the heart, we understand this decision and support it. An Oktoberfest without Munich hospitality and cosmopolitanism, for which this festival stands like no other, would not be conceivable for us either."

At the same time, the breweries give all disappointed Wiesn fans hope for at least a little Oktoberfest flair this year. The special Oktoberfest beer will still be available in 2020. As in every year, the breweries will start brewing the Munich original from the end of July - this year mainly for export and gastronomy.