German Summer Music Circuit Canceled Amid Virus Crisis Restrictions

Wacken Open Air Festival Heavy Metal Germany
Gina Wetzler/Getty Images

The likes of Green Day, Kings of Leon, Slipknot and The Offspring were set to play such summer events as Rock am Ring, Rock im Park and heavy metal fest Wacken, which are now banned under new regulations.

Germany's 2020 summer of rock is no more.

New coronavirus restrictions mean every music festival on the German summer circuit, from giant events like Rock am Ring and the Wacken heavy metal fest to electronic dance music festival Parookaville have been called off for this year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday outlined new restrictions on mass events, banning all large public gatherings until at least Aug. 31. The measures are meant to stem the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and to allow Germany to gradually begin to restart its economy, which has been in lockdown for more than a month.

The move means every German festival on the summer calendar is off for this year. Organizers, including FKP Scorpio (which run such music festivals as Hurricane, Southside and M'era Luna), have confirmed they are canceling this year.

"For the organizers and their teams, the artists and the 175,000 fans who wanted to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Rock am Ring and the 25th of Rock im Park on the first weekend of June, [this] decision is, of course, disappointing," the organizer of the events said in a statement. "But our producers have full and complete understanding of this inevitable measure in the interests of the safety and health of everyone involved."

Green Day, System of a Down and The Offspring were among the acts scheduled to perform at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park this year. The twin festivals have been rescheduled for the weekend of June 11-13, 2021.

The Wacken heavy metal festival, originally set to kick off July 30, was to feature such hardcore bands as L.A. Guns, Slipknot and Judas Priest.

"It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that there will be no Wacken Open Air this year," the organizers posted on the Wacken website, adding: "Stay healthy – In Metal We Trust!"

It is unclear whether any of the festivals, many of which were already sold out, will be able to refund ticket holders.

Germany has been praised for its handling of the coronavirus crisis. Although the country has a high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 — more than 132,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University — there have been far fewer deaths due to the illness — some 3,592 — than in smaller countries such as the U.K., Italy and Spain.

Merkel on Wednesday outlined the step-by-step procedure by which Germany hopes to restart post-crisis. Starting next week, some small shops and businesses can begin to reopen, provided they fulfill certain hygienic and public heath requirements. Social distancing rules will remain in place until at least May 3. Schools across the country will be allowed to open gradually, starting on May 4.