Revellers hoping to join in the carousing at Munich Oktoberfest will have to pass through a check before entering the festival grounds this year, Munich authorities have said.
People hoping to enter the Theresienwiese – the large open space where Oktoberfest is held each year – will have to pass through security checks, including bag checks, at all the entrances, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Thursday.
And as well as bringing in more security guards this year, city managers say that they won’t hesitate to block off the entire festival grounds with fences if things get too crowded.
Last but not least, the huge beer-hall tents run by Munich breweries that attract thousands of drinkers will open an hour later than usual at 10am.
‘Changed global context’
Oktoberfest – which Bavarians hail as the world’s largest folk festival (Volksfest) celebrated since 1810 – is being organized this year in the shadow of troubling events.
Munich authorities believe they must boost security after the sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, as well as the danger of terrorist attacks like those which hit Paris and Brussels in November and March.
The Bavarian capital’s main train station was itself on lockdown on New Year’s Eve after police said they had received credible intelligence of a terrorist bomb threat.
Oktoberfest also became the target of a bombing by a far-right terrorist in 1980 which killed 13 people including the bomber.
But in recent years the city has also had to deal with ever-increasing numbers of visitors from across Germany, Europe and the globe to its world-famous two-week-long revels.
Overcrowding and drunken misbehaviour and crime have also long been a cause of annoyance to Müncheners faced with the annual influx of booze-happy guests.
“No-one should be afraid to go to the Wiesn [Theresienwiese],” deputy Munich mayor Josef Schmid told the SZ earlier in April.
“There is no concrete danger. But of course we’re adjusting ourselves to the changed global context.”
The global context of Muslim jihad and mass sexual assaults?