Wiesn 2022 | Balance

Oktoberfest with disappointing figures

In the wet and cold, the first Wiesn after two years of the Corona ban attracted around 5.7 million visitors, according to the festival management - more than half a million fewer than at the last Wiesn before the pandemic in 2019.
IMAGO / Christian Ender
In the wet and cold, the first Wiesn after two years of the Corona ban attracted around 5.7 million visitors, according to the festival management - more than half a million fewer than at the last Wiesn before the pandemic in 2019.

Fewer visitors, much less beer, but mulled wine and a relaxed atmosphere: That's the balance of the first Oktoberfest after two years of Corona break. The main feature of the festival: lots of rain.

At the very end, the sun shone once again - and the tents and alleys were crowded: But the last rush of visitors on the Day of German Unity could not turn the balance of the Oktoberfest in Munich. In wet and cold weather, the first Wiesn after two years of Corona compulsory break was attended by around 5.7 million visitors, according to the festival management - more than half a million fewer than at the last Wiesn before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

The weather was the main obstacle for visitors, said festival director Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) at the end of the festival. He spoke of the worst Wiesn weather in 20 years. Nevertheless, he said, the Wiesn attracted a relaxed, good-humored and young Volksfest crowd. "The Wiesn is back."

There had been debates about Corona and energy consumption, Baumgärtner said. However, like money worries or the war in Ukraine, he did not see these as overriding reasons for the drop in visitors."People want their freedom and fun back, despite all the bad news. " To this fits a book with the title "Happiness found" handed in at the lost and found office - the guest had probably no longer needed it. The song "Layla", which was controversial because of sexism, became the Wiesn hit - which the hosts actually did not want to play.

Mulled wine at ice cream stands

Fewer guests also drank less beer: 5.6 million liters ran down their throats (2019: 7.3 million liters). But all the more souvenir hunters tried to take away mugs: Stewards took a good 112,500 beer mugs from them (2019: 96,900). Because of the lousy weather, the festival management had allowed mulled wine to be served at ice cream stands, but this was only moderately popular. Many would have gone for ice cream after all.

Above all the operatores of fun rides had to suffer from the bad weather. In pouring rain, only a few guests got on the rides. Baumgärtner said that he didn't want to sugarcoat the segment's results, and that street sales didn't do what they were supposed to do. The beer gardens had been poorly attended in the "Schnürlregen" (thin but steady rain), and in addition the innkeepers had dispensed with outdoor mushroom heaters in order to save gas. The gas, but also the electricity and water consumption at the festival decreased.

Fewer visitors from abroad

The festival was more Munich-like - and younger. While the proportion of visitors from abroad fell slightly, more guests came from the Munich area, and they were younger on average. This was also shown by an analysis of anonymized and aggregated data from the mobile communications provider O2 Telefonica. According to this, 77 percent of visitors came from Munich and neighboring counties; just under 16 percent traveled from abroad, primarily from Great Britain and the USA.

Corona figures skyrocketed

Corona apparently did not play a major role for those who came to the festival. Masks were rarely seen. Yet some may have said after their visit to the festival: Ogsteckt is. As expected, the incidence skyrocketed. On Friday, the incidence in the city of Munich was 792.8, on Monday 766.8. Compared to the Friday two weeks ago, the day before the start of the Wiesn, this was almost a fourfold increase.

The police, fire department and ambulance service reported a very quiet Wiesn. The Aicher ambulance recorded 27 fewer calls at its first-aid station - and was even able to take in patients from other parts of Munich who could not be accommodated in hospitals. The computer tomograph, which was at the festival for the first time, was used around 200 times.

Despite the lower beer consumption, 45 percent of patients were brought to the first-aid station because of intoxication. This was also open at night for the first time, so that beer victims did not have to be taken to clinics that were already under strain. There were 355 "overnight patients in the so-called "Hotel Aicher"", said head of operations Michel Belcijan.

As always, stealing of beer mugs, brawls with beer mugs, other brawls and other thefts kept the police busy, as did sexual assaults, including filming under the dirndl. Of 55 acts, two were classified as rape and another as attempted rape. Officers were concerned about the increase in pickpocketing of around 50 percent. There were also more acts of aggression against officers. Police spokesman Andreas Franken nevertheless spoke of a peaceful course overall.

According to the figures documented by the festival management since 1999, in 2001 after the September 11 attacks, 5.5 million guests came, even fewer than this year. In 2016, 5.6 million visited the festival after an Islamist threat video, the second worst figure. Also, only 5.7 million visitors came in 2009.

Significantly less crowded this year was the more traditional Oide Wiesn with historic rides. With 230,000 guests,not even half as many came as in 2019.
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