European festivals are facing an unprecedented year as many are forced to cancel as a result of government bans on mass gatherings. The lengthy list of European music festivals to be called off this summer grew longer upon the announcement that Denmark, Germany, Belgium and France have banned large-scale events through the coming months.
French President Emmanuel Macron will leave the country effectively shut down until mid-July, while Danish, German and Belgian leaders announced mass gatherings are banned through August 31 in a major blow to the region’s festival circuit.
“This administrative order affects us heavily and we will need some time to process the band news. Nevertheless, we support the decision of the German government in this difficult situation for the whole world,” Germany’s Wacken Open Air Festival co-founder Thomas Jensen said. “The health and safety of all visitors, artists, employees, tradesman, security and rescue services, public authorities and all other participants has always been our highest priority. We as promoters are therefore bound to take an even greater responsibility and have to follow the instructions of the experts.”
While these countries, along with hard-hit Spain and Italy, are beginning to lift certain restrictions in an effort to relaunch their economies, major gatherings with dozens of people will likely be out of the cards for several more months. The U.K. has extended its shutdown by another three weeks, though many popular festivals have already been cancelled.
Among the most notable cancellations are London’s BST Hyde Park, Glastonbury Festival, Hurricane Festival, Rock am Ring and dozens more. Today, organizers also revealed that Oktoberfest, a fall staple of Munich, will be cancelled this year.