Oktoberfest - ein Fest der Landeshauptstadt München
Photo: Sebastian Lehner

Oktoberfest 2021 cannot take place because of the pandemic

Wiesn 2021 in Munich is cancelled again

After the cancellation of the Wiesn in 2020, the world's largest folk festival unfortunately cannot take place in 2021 either. Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder and Munich's Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter announced the news at a joint press conference in Munich on May 3, 2021.

Decision to cancel the Oktoberfest was made in May

Actually, the 187th Oktoberfest should have taken place from 18.09. to 3.10.2021 on the Theresienwiese in Munich. But for the second time in a row, the Corona pandemic ensures that unfortunately nothing will come of it. Minister President Dr. Markus Söder said today at the press conference in Munich that the unanimous decision was made to recommend that the major folk festivals in Bavaria not take place - including the Oktoberfest.

Söder gave three reasons for the cancellation of the Wiesn 2021: "First: The situation is too uncertain. We have an economic obligation here - a later cancellation of the Oktoberfest would be an economic loss." The second reason he cited was the potential damage to the Oktoberfest brand, a globally renowned calling card for Munich and Bavaria. Third, Söder said, an Oktoberfest with requirements such as mandatory masks and distances in the large tents would not be feasible and could lead to "chaotic conditions."

Lord Mayor Reiter: "It wasn't an easy decision"

Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter on the decision not to hold the Wiesn in 2021: "It wasn't an easy decision, but I have to make it now and I have done so." He said that responsibility for people's health should be weighted higher than the legitimate interest in celebrating: "That's why there will be no Wiesn in Munich this year either - for the 26th time in total."

Reiter asked for understanding for the decision. Despite measures and vaccinations, the pandemic is not yet over worldwide, he said. "The risk is simply too huge that people here could become infected with the Corona virus. I know how hard this is not only for the visitors, but also how much it affects everyone who works at the Wiesn and now has to do without that income once again - from the waiters and waitresses to the stall operators, showmen and innkeepers. But: Oktoberfest can only take place completely or not at all." Or, in one Bavarian sentence: "So a bissl Wiesn geht ned." ("There's no thing like a little bit of Wiesn.")

Mayor Reiter about Oktoberfest alternatives

Wiesn boss Baumgärtner: "The decision is right and sensible"

"For a while it looked as if the Oktoberfest could take place this year," says Clemens Baumgärtner, the Labor and Economic Affairs Officer responsible for the Oktoberfest. "Unfortunately, that hope has now been dashed because of a third wave of infection. The decision is correct and reasonable, because no danger to life and limb of the guests may emanate from the Wiesn. That would severely damage our festival and our brand."

He added that the renewed cancellation was a heavy blow for the people who run the Wiesn, from festival hosts to carousel operators to pretzel vendors. There will also be no "replacement Wiesn." But: "We want to think about a new edition of the summer in the city, for example."