New rule at German festivals: No bags or backpacks

New rule at German festivals: No bags or backpacks


norman lebrecht

July 28, 2016

Taking their security lead from Bayreuth, German music festivals are banning bags and backpacks in the aftermath of recent attacks. The impact is being felt from today at pop festivals. Wacken, a metal festival, is the first to enforce a bag ban. Munich’s Oktoberfest is considering one.

There has been no Government directive, but festival organisers are receiving police advice to this effect.

festival backpack


  • Sean says:

    You need sunglasses, sunscreen, a coat, etc. What do people bring their stuff in? Just carry everything?

    • Max Grimm says:

      The ban on bags and backpacks applies to the areas where the concerts take place, the ban doesn’t apply to the campsites at which the visitors stay when not attending performances. Obviously bags and backpacks are permitted at said campsites.
      If you need things you didn’t/couldn’t carry, you’d have to make your way back to the camping ground and retrieve them.

  • Gerhard says:

    For the moment this safety protocol is being discussed for a lot more than just music festivals in Germany. If it should get widely established, restrictions like this may apply as well to fairs including the Oktoberfest, sport events and who knows what else. The problems this will cause for everyone which Sean points out above are obvious, and this may be the reason why no such general rule has been established yet. If backpacks are banned, people will be forced to use something else to transport their gear, and whatever it is, it won’t be better from the security aspect. Therefore I believe this is just activism to convince people that they are safe, even though it has in fact very little effect, if any at all.

    • John Borstlap says:

      That seems unlikely: in bagless crowds, a psychotic jihadist won’t be able to enter the premises and he would probably not even try. So there is certainly an improved security aspect.

      • Live says:

        Yes, and if we all were naked then jihadists would have to resort to the bum for bombs, and they probably wouldn’t do that 🙂

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          A creative terrorist would find a way in all possibilities that Nature provides.

          • John Borstlap says:

            Seems unlikely…. first, cleverness in that area seems to be quite restricted, and second, the ‘fighters’ relationship to Nature appears to be seriously impaired.

        • Cyril Blair says:

          This has already happened (bomb in the rectum) in Afghanistan.

  • David Nice says:

    Meanwhile no-one even looks at your bags (and I’m often carrying a small rucksack) when you enter the Albert Hall to share a Prom with usually around 5000 other people. In Istanbul six weeks ago there were scanners. Shouldn’t we have those too?

  • Robert Holmén says:

    George Carlin had a routine called “a place for my stuff” about how people carry too much with them.

    • V.Lind says:

      Tell me about it. Trying to move into a bus to get to a vacant seat, you get bashed about by the households these people seem to require to carry about. And, once they are secured to their backs, they forget about the amount of space they take up/require as THEY bash about. Not that they notice — their heads are buried in phones.

      • Sue says:

        Got to agree with this. On European trains I was often ‘assaulted’ by these heavy bags and those huge rucksacks people also use. They take up the room of one person in a crowded area but they seem unaware or uninterested as they move about. That’s why I always travel in the first class or business sections of trains. But streetcars and buses are another matter. Don’t travel in summer; that’s my advice.

  • Nick says:

    Merkel sure has changed Germany

    • John Borstlap says:

      Don’t think so. There are immense efforts going-on in Germany to receive and help and support war fugitives, to provide psychiatric help for traumatized people, to put the children in schools, teaching them their first German words, etc. etc. and that is the typical German way of doing things. The change is in the appearance of extremes of reactions: the bad ones like Pegida and other Wutbürger, rightwing populists etc., and the good ones as described. These different mentalities were always there, but current problems bring them to the surface, like in the UK the brexit protests against the elites and in France the rightwing Penistes.

      • Sue says:

        Clearly anybody who doesn’t share your bien pensant ideology is some kind of deluded and ignorant ‘mentality’. As time goes on you may come to regret your remarks and what will happen to your fellow human beings – whether they appreciate high art or just want to live their lives with a job, their family, a society they recognize and in a safe country.

        • John Borstlap says:

          The alternative is immense graveyards at Europe’s borders of people who merely wanted safety. This would render everything where Europe stands for, to a hypicritical lie.

          • May says:

            What a load of baloney, “what Europe stands for.”

            If we turned them all back, maybe they would work to improve conditions in their own countries. You want to know what Europe stands for, for much of the third world? Europe stands for a massive welfare state for anyone looking for a meal ticket.

          • John Borstlap says:

            To May: maybe you have missed a couple of things…. there is a devastating civil war going-on in Syria and Lybia, and fugitives flee from death and destruction. Not noticed? Not seen the news? Not read newspapers? Not heard neighbours talking? I follow these developments closely through BBC programs, CNN, and especially German TV programs which extensively inform the public of what is going-on in the country, and the efforts are impressive, while mishaps are as openly and honestly treated as the success stories. People saying such senseless things as this comment, and so cynical, need courses in European history and civilization. It is not difficult and merely requires some time and attention. It is not merely the immigrants who need Europeanization, many locals need it too. If you are a European: shame on you.

          • Sue says:

            Perhaps you need to catch up on some reading: or do some reading, at least –


          • John Borstlap says:

            To Sue: that article is greatly misinformed. In Islam, there is no ‘supreme leader’ comparable with the catholic pope, Islam is very much divided, splintered, and merely ‘led’ by the local imam. Anybody can stand-up and say he is representing Islam. It is not an organized religion, they have the book and for the rest Islam is the product of culture, and has different forms according to the culture it is part of. Hence the millions of Indonesian muslems who feel quite different from Middle-East jihadists. Many so-called ‘muslems’ living in Europe have adapted to Western culture without problems, especially the people coming from big cities which in many muslem countries are already much westernized. The Syrian middle-class war refugees are already quite westernized, they are fundamentally different from, for instance, the primitive Moroccan immigrants from the Atlas Mountain Range in North Africa. And so on…

  • Hanns Wurst says:

    “The recent wave of islamic violence is in no way related to Frau Merkel’s liberal migrant policy”
    T. de Maziere, Minister of the Interior

    • May says:

      Anyone who has a chauffeur doesn’t need a backpack.

      • John Borstlap says:

        But the chauffeur, called Ali Muhamed Boughelaia, is an immigrant from Lybia, with bulging eyes and a sharp driving style, and always having his backpack on the seat next to him. De Maziere knows where he is talking about, although he is a bit nervous when being driven to his next press conference.

  • Cyril Blair says:

    The NFL (National Football League) in the U.S. already has a no bag policy. The only bag you can carry into an arena must be 12x6x12 inches or smaller and must be clear plastic or clear vinyl.

    There are many days when I feel like the terrorists have already won….

  • Peter says:

    So what are women with larger than average secondary sexual assets supposed to do at Oktoberfest?
    “Women with bra sizes cup C and larger are to undergo a detailed body search at the Oktoberfest checkpoints”.

  • Richard Gibbs says:

    The Albert Hall is sadly a disaster waiting to happen. Multiple entrances, minimum security and any number of opportunities throughout the Proms.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Security staff is disguised as audience members, they get special training to react enthusiastically to the music, whatever is being played, and they are so numerous that it always seems that the hall is sold-out.