NewsDespite inflation and the energy crisis: optimism about the...

Despite inflation and the energy crisis: optimism about the start of the Wiesn

Created: 09/16/2022 Updated: 09/16/2022 5:22 am

Oktoberfest
Party despite the crisis? The Wiesn starts again after a two-year break. © Sven Hoppe/dpa

After a two-year Corona break, the Oktoberfest is to be celebrated again, just like before, with millions of guests and without conditions. Many are enthusiastic, some are skeptical.

Munich – The beer tents are up, and also the Ferris wheel and the Olympia Looping roller coaster.

Felt hats and gingerbread hearts are already hanging from the stalls, and kilos of roasted almonds are ready and waiting. On the streets of the city of Munich, many are out and about in dirndls and lederhosen. The Oktoberfest is about to start. On Saturday, for the first time after two festivals canceled due to corona, it’s time again: Ozapft is.

He is happy, but different than before, says Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD). The mood is different. “I’m happy that thousands of people are happy.” On Saturday, Reiter will tap the first keg of beer and open the folk festival.

Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) predicts that the Oktoberfest 2022 could be better attended than the last one in 2019. “The Oktoberfest enthusiasm and anticipation are enormous.” The festival will also flush money into the city. The economic value was recently at almost 1.3 billion euros.

Reservation situation good despite crises

“We’re looking forward to it getting started. It’s about time we celebrated another Wiesn,” says host spokesman Peter Inselkammer. Despite inflation, war, energy crisis and Corona: The reservation situation is very good, even at lunchtime the tables in the tent are partly fully booked.

Around six million guests came before Corona, about one in five from abroad. Even if the pandemic is not over, we want to celebrate like we always have: without restrictions, close together in the tents. Some welcome this, others see it critically. Rarely has the festival been so controversial.

It is already foreseeable: the Wiesn will trigger a corona wave. According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incidences regularly skyrocketed after folk festivals, most recently after the Gillamoos in Abensberg. Almost two weeks after the start, the corona incidence in the Kelheim district exceeded the 1000 mark.

Bogner: Expect an increase in the number of cases

“Of course it will lead to an increase in the number of cases,” says Johannes Bogner, head of the Clinical Infectious Diseases Section at the LMU Clinic at the University of Munich, also about the Wiesn. “It is very well documented that after local events there is a measurable increase in the number of cases.”

Munich’s former mayor Christian Ude (SPD) has already announced that he will not go to the tapping on Saturday because of the risk of corona. “We are a couple from the high-risk group,” said the 74-year-old of the “Abendzeitung”. He left open whether he would visit the folk festival at all. He will keep an eye on the health risks. According to the “Abendzeitung”, Bavaria’s Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) left open whether he would go to the Oktoberfest this year.

The Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (55) is different: He wants to visit the Oktoberfest without mouth and nose protection. “The corona situation is currently stable,” the CSU politician recently told the “Bild” newspaper. “Everyone should decide for themselves whether and how they visit the Wiesn. I come without a mask.” And with a view to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD): “I am surprised at Mr. Lauterbach’s exaggerated messages.” There is “no growing burden in the hospitals”.

Lauterbach responded on Twitter: “I wish everyone a good Oktoberfest. I’m not a spoilsport either, dear @Markus_Soeder. Nevertheless, I ask everyone who goes to test themselves beforehand. I appeal to mutual consideration.”

At times it was also discussed whether there could be an Oktoberfest while people were dying in the war in Ukraine – and whether it was reasonable that everyone should save energy, but millions of kilowatt hours of electricity and gas were consumed at the festival within two weeks.

No patio heaters due to energy crisis

As a contribution to saving gas, the innkeepers do without patio heaters outside. Baumgärtner, also an economics officer, calculates that the electricity consumption at the Wiesn is 0.6 per mil of the city’s annual consumption, and for gas it is 0.1 per mil. “The Wiesn will not lead to the lights going out in Munich.” Nobody should be cold because of that. Rather, without Oktoberfest, more energy would be consumed elsewhere. A roast chicken costs more energy in the oven at home than one that cooks with a lot of people on a Oktoberfest grill. “In terms of energy, the chicken at the Wiesn is a sustainable bargain.”

Not because of the gas prices, but because of the general price increase, guests will have to dig deeper into their pockets for this chicken as well as for the beer: The price for the beer is on average 13.37 euros, almost 16 percent more than in 2019 With the dishes it should be less. The increase in energy costs does not fully affect the festival because there are preliminary agreements.

The decision that the Wiesn should take place was announced by Mayor Reiter at the end of April – with reservations. He also sees a corona wave after the Wiesn. The situation in the hospitals is also important, and there are no extraordinary burdens there.

On Saturday, Reiter will now tap the first keg of beer and open the folk festival. The traditional Oktoberfest mantra for tapping “To a peaceful Oktoberfest” should at least be added this time: “To a healthy Oktoberfest”. dpa

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