Bregenz Festival: We’re going ahead

Bregenz Festival: We’re going ahead


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2020

The Austrian lakeside festival, which begins late July, has issued an ebullient statement:

As things stand at present, the Bregenz Festival should go ahead as planned from July 22 to August 23 2020. As last year’s production, ‘Rigoletto,’ is returning for its second run on the lake stage, considerably less preparation is needed than for a new production. Rehearsals are due to start in mid-June.


  • Gustavo says:

    Spiele ohne Begrenzung

  • Andy says:

    Good for them. Every country is going to need to try and get things up and running again sooner or later, and there needs to be some countries early on who are prepared to give it a try.

  • Dejan says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, this statement has been on the Bregenz Festival website for almost 2 weeks. Obviously they will get the directive from the Austrian government until April 30 the latest. The statement was written before the government’s decision.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      While I can totally understand the Bregenz Festival’s desire to hold their festival as planned in late July and August, as a medically trained person I would ask them to PLEASE speak with an expert in epidemiology before coming out with such an announcement. It is doing a very serious and dangerous disservice to everybody and may give people a false sense of security at a time when we all need to be extremely vigilant.
      No matter if the number of cases in Austria or elsewhere declines substantially in the coming months, which it probably will, as long as there is no vaccine available, the virus remains active and arranging assemblies of hundreds of people in close proximity will pose a very high risk of another outbreak. It is a sad reality, but it is better that we accept that such festivals and events won’t be able to take place in the same close proximity to others until there is a vaccine or other tested treatment, which won’t be available for more than a year at the earliest.
      Decisions like what the Bregenz Festival is making can only be made in close consultation with medical experts, particularly a medical expert in epidemiology.

      • Dejan says:

        Fully agree. I am not an epidemiologist myself, but a friend of mine is, so he fully confirms what you wrote here. It is a very risky business. Not to mention the international nature of the festival – many visitors from abroad will not be able to attend due to the travel/health restrictions.

      • Gustavo says:

        Medical experts?

        Saviours of the World?

        They genetically characterised a virus, gave it a fancy name and started to non-randomly sample the old and rich people in the northern hemisphere after observing multiple outbreaks elsewhere.

        They then informed politicians that the virus is worse than predicted, causing human societies to go mad and cancel life altogether (except for car driving, smoking, eating).

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Sorry but you are wrong. There is no guarantee that a vaccine will exist this year, next year, or the year after. The lockdown has real consequences for people’s health and welfare. Eventually, we will have to reopen with or without a vaccine. That doesn’t mean we need to reopen now, but there is a good chance we will be able to reopen in June or July.

  • Hermann the German says:

    Whether Ischgl in the winter, especially in apres ski, or Bregenz in the summer, the same wrecklessness seems to reign in western Austria. Something is rotten in the state of Austria.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Somehow I doubt it. And even if it does who fancies sitting out of doors, in the rain, in close proximity to others at the present time?

  • Orchestral Musician says:

    It’s not just the Bregenz festival that is still on.
    Incredibly, the Austrian Grand Prix is still scheduled to take place in early July!

    Nobody should expect any large events to actually occur in Austria this summer. This is just a matter of the Austrian government delaying official guidance.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      No, we will start reopening at some point since the lockdown itself has bad effects on society. Whether the festival can go ahead is touch-and-go.

  • Peter Altmann says:

    Lächerlich zu glauben, dass Bregenz stattfinden kann.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    It is very risky to relax the current restrictions too soon, especially in Europe. In Australia things are looking much brighter, but even here the current foreign travel ban should remain in place in the next few months. The sooner we control this virus the better, otherwise all the measures taken so far may end up being futile.