From music festivals to major sporting events, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a wave of unprecedented event cancellations around the world — and it looks like Germany’s Oktoberfest is no exception.
Germany’s latest lockdown measures now include a ban on major public events until August 31. Although Oktoberfest is due to start after the current cut-off, Bavaria’s state premier said the festival will probably not take place this year.
“I am very very skeptical. And based on the current situation, I can hardly imagine that such a large event would even be possible at that time,” Markus Söder told local public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk on Wednesday evening.
Söder added that he and the mayor of Munich will make a final decision in the next two weeks on whether to call it off.
“It would be a real shame” to cancel Oktoberfest, but the current situation makes it “highly unlikely” that it will go ahead, Söder said.
Last week, Oktoberfest vendors floated the idea of holding a mini-Oktoberfest — one that would only be open for locals in Munich and the surrounding region. The suggestion failed to gather steam with Munich city officials, who dismissed the idea.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival and draws in 6 million people every year to the city of Munich. This year’s festivities are scheduled to start on September 19 and run until October 4.