Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

Oktoberfest 2020 has been cancelled

The Wiesn 2020 cannot take place because of Covid-19

"It is the biggest and most beautiful beer festival in the world", said Bavaria's Minister-President Markus Söder. But the Oktoberfest will have to be cancelled in 2020 due to the Corona Pandemic. Söder announced this today, April 21, 2020, in a joint press conference with Munich's Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter. The background, statements of Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner and all further information.

“The risks are simply too high“: Oktoberfest 2020 had to be cancelled

"It hurts, it's such a pity," said Minister President Söder in the Bavarian State Chancellery – together with Munich's Lord Mayor Reiter. However: "We have agreed that the risk is simply too high."

The Oktoberfest 2020 should actually take place from September 19 to October 4. About six million visitors from all over the world were expected. In times of Covid-19, however, the danger of infection in the mostly crowded beer tents and the many people in the streets and alleys on the Theresienwiese would be too high.

"We have experienced that the après-ski in Ischgl, various beer festivals for example, or even carnival events were unfortunately virus hubs," said Söder. This is why the greatest sensitivity applies to public festivals. "As long as there is no vaccine, as long as there is no medicine, special care must be taken."

„A difficult emotional Moment“ for Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter

For Munich's Lord Mayor, April 21, 2020 is "a quite sad day", Dieter Reiter said in the State Chancellery this morning. The Wiesn is the central Munich festival and highlight of the year – at least for many people. "Not to let it happen is a bitter pill to swallow."

"This will disappoint a lot of people," says Reiter. But the name "the biggest folk festival in the world" shows what this is all about: "We have about two million foreign visitors, we have a beer festival where people sit close together." The Lord Mayor continued: "I am a big Wiesn fan, not only because of my task of tapping, but I am at the Theresienwiese almost every day. That's one of the hardest decisions you can make." But the health of the people is the highest priority.

A visibly affected Lord Mayor spoke of "several hearts beating in his chest", but unfortunately the Oktoberfest "simply cannot exist in these times". For him personally, the traditional tapping in the Schottenhamel tent is one of the central official acts of the Munich mayor. "I hope that in 2021, no, I'm sure that we will see another Oktoberfest in 2021 - hopefully under different conditions by then. Until then, I must beg your indulgence that there was no other solution."

Video: Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (in German)

Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner: "A work of art that can be done completely or not at all".

Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner also regrets the cancellation of Oktoberfest 2020: "A decision that saddens us all: It affects me, deeply and personally. A festival for millions, which stands for Munich, for the joy of life, for Bavaria, cannot take place". Of course, he fully supports this decision, Baumgärtner said: "It is the right decision because – at least for the time being – we cannot ensure that we have a Wiesn that only gives pleasure to everyone, but does not pose any danger."

Baumgärtner especially thinks of the people who would have made their living with the Oktoberfest 2020: "No matter if it is the festival host, the carousel operator, the pretzel vendor ...". It's a difficult year for all employees. "Nevertheless," says Baumgärtner, "the Wiesn is a total work of art that you either do completely or not at all – and this work of art cannot be moved backwards or made in a smaller form." In conclusion, however, Baumgärtner gave courage and looked confidently into the year 2012: "Let's do everything to ensure that we can celebrate a healthy, joyful, happy and fulfilling Oktoberfest in 2021."

How Oktoberfest hosts, showmen, market traders and breweries react to the Oktoberfest 2020

Video: Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner (in German)