The organizers of Oktoberfest, Munich’s heralded and raucous annual beer festival, have sought to reassure distraught Germans by dismissing rumors that the event will move to Dubai.
Local media reported that plans were being drawn up to move this year’s event to the United Arab Emirates city, amid high Covid-19 case rates across Europe.
The reports shocked Germans, who reacted angrily to the prospect on social media.
But organizers said they weren’t involved with any plans to relocate the festival, known locally as Wiesn, and insisted it would remain in Bavaria.
“Recently, media in German-speaking countries have been reporting intensively on plans by a private individual to hold an Oktoberfest in Dubai,” organizers wrote on their website. “Various headlines linguistically suggest that the Munich Oktoberfest is actually being relocated to Dubai, is moving there, or is taking place in the desert this year due to a possible cancellation.
“The Oktoberfest is a Munich original and takes place exclusively in Munich,” a spokesperson for the Department of Labor and Economic Affairs of the City of Munich, which organizes the event, said in a statement.
“The plans that have now become known are not being pursued by the organizers of the event in Dubai either on behalf of or with the consent of the City of Munich.”
The plans were reported in German newspapers including Bild, which wrote that German businessmen had been behind the plans since last year.
Under the plans, dozens of tents, live music and portable breweries would be set up in Dubai, while celebrities would be flown in as headline guests, Bild reported.
Oktoberfest was canceled last year due to the pandemic, and this year’s event could still be in jeopardy as European countries battle to control a third wave of coronavirus.
Organizers have set a date of September18 as the start of the two-week festival. But Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter has said “the decision as to whether the Wiesn can take place this year or has to be canceled for a second time in a row has not yet been made.”