Oktoberfest 2021 canceled: “A great pity” for millions of fans of the Wiesn
For a second time, the world’s biggest festival is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was confirmed by the German state of Bavaria, where 6 million partygoers annually meet for the two-week-long boozy festival.
This year’s festival was scheduled to take place from September 18 to October 3. The announcement is a huge blow to the city of Munich which received over a billion euros from the 2019 event and was attended by over six million people.
Markus Söder, the Bavarian state premier explained to reporters that the decision was made with a “heavy heart.” He described the risk as “simply too great.” He arrived at the decision alongside Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich who described the Oktoberfest as one of the “most global” festivals internationally. Given the pandemic still ravages parts of the world, the duo felt it wouldn't be prudent to let people hurdle into tents. According to Söder, implementing social-distancing and mask-wearing at such a festival is impossible to implement. If it turned out to be a super spreader event, it would have a negative bearing on the brand, a situation he looks to avoid.
The rowdy festival is known for long wooden tables, overflowing quantities of beer, and eccentric bands. The Oktoberfest originated in 1810 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. It has since become an international festival leader - even spawning other similar events in and outside Germany.
Germany is loosening its strict lockdown measures as the country’s death continues to drop. Several non-essential shops are now open as the country registered its lowest number of deaths in two weeks.
Will we have Oktoberfest in 2022?
Clemens Baumgärtner, Oktoberfest boss, expressed his support for the new move terming it “completely correct.” He gave every indication that the reputation of the Munich Oktoberfest as a “high-quality, safe festival” will be maintained. He predicted that the 2022 event will be “very, very well attended.”
An exchange of words emerged between organizers of an Oktoberfest-like event in Dubai and the original Oktoberfest organizers. The Dubai version is organized by Charles Blume who helped organize the Berlin Christmas market and is expected to feature food stands, beer tents, rides and attractions. The location hosts over 120,000 guests and will have no restrictions on traditional Bavarian beer, dress, music, sale, and consumption of any kind of food. Many Germans expressed their displeasure on the prospect of such an event taking place on social media - a potential relocation of the entire festival.
This prompted an official statement from the Department of Labor and Economic Affairs of the City of Munich describing the city as an “original.”
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