Breaking: Lucerne Festival is off

Breaking: Lucerne Festival is off


norman lebrecht

April 29, 2020

Almost the last of the great summer festivals, Lucerne has fallen victim to a new set of rules published today by the Swiss authorities.

It’s looking bad for Salzburg.

Press release follows.

Lucerne, 29 April 2020. With deepest regret, Lucerne Festival announces that the Summer Festival
must be cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic. It was to have taken place between 14 August
and 13 September. Owing to the provisions that the Swiss Federal Council announced today, it is not
possible to present the concerts in compliance with the mandatory health regulations, nor is it
possible, for organizational reasons, to postpone these events. This means that, for the second time
since 1940 in its long, storied history, the Summer Festival will be cancelled.

“This decision is extremely painful,” remarks Executive and Artistic Director Michael Haefliger regar-
ding the cancellation. “We had hoped until the very end that we would be able to hold the Festival

despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We struggled, thought through alternative scenarios, and
examined every conceivable possibility. But after the most recent decision by the Swiss Federal
Council, we unfortunately find ourselves compelled to cancel the originally planned Festival exploring
the theme of “Joy.” We know what cancellation means for the many artists who have been looking
forward to their performances in Lucerne for months and who are now unable to perform, and we
also know what it means for Lucerne Festival’s audience. However, we will not allow the coronavirus
to take from us our joy in music. Every crisis is also an opportunity and opens up new possibilities. In
the coming weeks and months, we will regularly update you about what we are planning and will also
have some remarkable digital offerings.”
Tickets that have already been purchased will be refunded; alternatively, their value can be donated
to Lucerne Festival. For further information, please visit the website at 


  • Steven Mendler says:

    Why they sell tickets till the last day?

    • Mick the Knife says:

      “Tickets that have already been purchased…can be donated to Lucerne Festival.”

    • Sue Gmegh says:

      Because it’s pathetic to surrender. Besides, I doubt they have sold any tickets at all after the outbreak of the cold

  • MezzoLover says:

    There is no way Salzburg will go ahead as planned.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      There is a possibility “something will go ahead” even if it is not “as [originally] planned”.

  • The big surprise is the fact that they didn’t annonced it earlier. After a long springtime Maestro Chailly will have a long summer.

  • Marcello says:

    Lucerne has been waiting for today’s decision of the Swiss government. Bregenz (Austria) is still going ahead and Salzburg has not decided yet.