'The risk is simply too great': Germany's Oktoberfest 2020 officially cancelled

The annual Munich event has been called off due to the coronavirus crisis

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 16, 2016 shows empty beer benches in a festival tent as preparations were under way for the opening of the Oktoberfest beer festival at the Theresienwiese fair grounds in Munich, southern Germany. Germany's Oktoberfest beer festival will be cancelled in the year 2020 as "risks are too high" from the novel coronavirus, Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said Tuesday, April 21, 2020. / AFP / CHRISTOF STACHE

Munich's Oktoberfest 2020 is officially cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual festival was planned to run from Saturday, September 19 until Monday, October 5, in Munich, Germany. However, organisers have announced that this year's festival will not go ahead.

“We have decided the risk is simply too great,” Minister President of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, told a group of reporters on Tuesday, April 21.

“It hurts, it is a huge shame,” he added.

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 3, 2019 shows people crowding in a beer tent of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany.  Germany's Oktoberfest beer festival will be cancelled in the year 2020 as "risks are too high" from the novel coronavirus, Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder said Tuesday, April 21, 2020. / AFP / Christof STACHE

Annually, the lively two-week long festivities are held held in packed tents with long wooden tables and oompah bands. Traditionally Bavarians don lederhosen and dirndls for the event.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, more than two million international visitors had been expected to travel to Munich for Oktoberfest. It makes more than €1 billion (Dh4b) for the city each year.

History of Oktoberfest 

In the modern day, festivities are replicated in bars and gardens around the world, but Oktoberfest has very regional beginnings.

The tradition dates back to 1810, when festivities were held to celebrate the October 12 marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese.

Munich's citizens were invited to join the celebrations, which were held for five days in the fields outside of the city gates.

In 2019, the event attracted a total of 6.3 million people across more than two weeks, with the crowds gathering in the 14 large and 21 small tents.