Empty Fairground

The Munich Oktoberfest has had to be cancelled several times in its history since 1810. The reasons for this are mainly due to armed conflicts and epidemics. It is true that after the First World War, as well as after the Second World War, Oktoberfest-like events were held on the Theresienwiese. However, their scale in the years 1919 and 1920 as well as 1945 to 1947 was hardly comparable to the peacetime Oktoberfests of years gone by.

In 1866, the collection of signatures shown here against the planned cancellation of the 1866 Oktoberfest was displayed in five Munich public houses. They were signed by 209 Munich residents and submitted to the city council at the end of September. However, the application was not approved there. The Oktoberfest was not held in 1866 due to the German War.

Kostenüberschreitung, Festsetzung der Ausschankzeiten, Verhütung von Exzessen, Nichtabhaltung des Festes wegen der politischen Ereignisse, Eingabe und Unterschriftenliste der Bürger

  • München

An "Oktoberfest number" in the "Der Drahtverhau" field newspaper in 1916 reminded Bavarian soldiers on the front of a "piece of home" in fourteen annotated drawings. Typical scenes of the folk festival are shown, such as the livestock shows, the horse race, the barbecued fish on a stick or a dancing bear. An Oktoberfest waitress is beaming on the cover.

After the end of the Second World War, the Oktoberfest did not have to be cancelled once until 2020. Only then did the coronavirus pandemic force another pause. An unusual dirndl has been in the holdings of the Münchner Stadtmuseum since September 2021. Three Munich-based companies created a specially designed one-off to commemorate the cancelled 2020 Oktoberfest. The black dirndl designed by Amsel Trachten, Paulaner and Hirmer comes with a love letter to the Oktoberfest. The signatures of the Oktoberfest landlords and other Munich personalities are immortalised on the dirndl.

Trauerdirndl, Andenken an das wegen der Covid-19-Pandemie ausgefallene Oktoberfest 2020

  • Alexandra von Frankenberg (Amsel-Fashion)

In the same year, the sale of the “Koa-Wiesn-Krug” (No Oktoberfest beer mug) brought in 50,000 euros. Councillor Roland Hefter came up with the idea. The income raised went to the Oktoberfest musicians and artists who, like the showpeople, were affected by the cancellation of the Oktoberfest again and were virtually unable to generate any income. The beer mug’s motif shows an unemployed Oktoberfest musician being consoled by “Mama Bavaria” and angel Aloisius about the cancellation of the Oktoberfest again. The mug’s melancholic and humorous motif was drawn by the well-known caricaturist Dieter Hanitzsch.

Bierkrug "Koa Wiesn 2020"

  • Dieter Hanitzsch

Years without the Oktoberfest:

  • 1813: Napoleonic Wars (Wars of Liberation)
  • 1854: Cholera epidemic (approx. 3,000 deaths in Munich)
  • 1866: Prussian-Austrian War (so-called German War)
  • 1870: Franco-Prussian War
  • 1873: Cholera epidemic
  • 1914-1918: First World War
  • 1919: Substitute "Autumn Festival"
  • 1920: Substitute "Autumn Festival"
  • 1923-1924: Hyperinflation
  • 1939-1945: Second World War
  • 1946-1948: Substitute "Autumn Festival"
  • 2020: COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2021: COVID-19 pandemic

Julia Misamer