Relaxed Wiesn 2022 with many US guests

Munich (dpa/lby) – Many guests from abroad, no major staff shortages due to Corona – and now also good weather: The Munich Oktoberfest has restarted largely without problems after a forced break of two years. “I’m totally satisfied – the Wiesn is taking place,” said festival director Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) on Friday of the German Press Agency.

So far, there have been slightly fewer visitors than at the last Wiesn in 2019, especially on the rainy first few days. However, it was possible to stroll around the site without crowds.

The weekend could bring about a turning point: On Friday, numerous guests in traditional costume flocked to the festival grounds in glorious weather. “There will be more visitors,” said Baumgärtner. “We have many tourists from abroad beyond expectations.” Britons and Americans in particular celebrate in large numbers. One reason for the interest of Americans in particular could be the dollar exchange rate, which is favorable for them. “The Wiesn will never be this cheap for Americans again.”

Even after the first few days of the festival, one thing is clear: the controversial party song “Layla” is obviously very popular with Oktoberfest visitors. “According to what you hear from various sources, “Layla” could already have what it takes to hit the Oktoberfest – but the Oktoberfest is not over yet,” said Baumgärtner. As in previous years, a classic is right at the top: “The absolute number 1 Oktoberfest hit is still the “Cheers to the Cosiness”. Before the festival, the Wiesn landlords had agreed on the recommendation not to play “Layla” in the original version. Apparently, the festival audience has different tastes than the hosts.

There were slight teething problems in the newly designed Bräurosl tent, which Peter Reichert runs as the new landlord. Among other things, the choice of music – but not because of “Layla”, but because of brass music – was not well received. According to the media, there was also other criticism. A new band is playing in the evening; Reichert had to report to the festival management. One is still in discussion, said Baumgärtner.

According to Baumgärtner, despite the risk of corona infection in the narrow tents, many older guests come – and a lot of families – as before. “I have the impression that there is no difference from before the pandemic.” So far, neither the hosts nor the security service have complained about staff shortages due to Covid-19.

But not only the number of visitors, but also the Corona numbers are increasing. In terms of incidence, Munich has so far not particularly distinguished itself from the overall trend in Bavaria, which is currently noticeably increasing again. According to previous experience, it takes one and a half to two weeks after the start of a folk festival for any waves of infection to show up in the incidence. The Wiesn has only been running for a week.

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) told the “Passauer Neue Presse” (Friday edition) that he would have liked free corona tests at the Oktoberfest. “I think that if you charge almost 15 euros for a pint of beer, you can also offer visitors a free test,” he said. “It would have been a gesture of solidarity that would have been noticed beyond Germany .” He was invited to the Wiesn, but didn’t go. “If everyone had been offered a test at the entrance, I might have thought about it.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220923-99-872858/5

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