News Festival summer 2020 - postponing, waiting, canceling - the...

Festival summer 2020 – postponing, waiting, canceling – the dilemma of the organizers – Radio SRF 3


The “Büetzer Buebe Volksfest” in August in Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium is postponed by one year. The “Unique Moments” festival in Zurich is scheduled to take place in September 2020 instead of the beginning of June. Many organizers are waiting for a Federal Council decision. Other festival organizers are cautiously announcing new bands for the upcoming events, or have already canceled their planned open air.

The Federal Council’s provisions are clear: no events will take place until April 19, 2020. At the moment, we don’t know how it will go on afterwards. The first organizers of concert events have now reacted and postponed or canceled their festival or stadium concerts.

Trauffer and Gölä postpone

The Swiss dialect superstars Trauffer and Gölä postpone her “Büetzer Buebe Volksfest” exactly by a year. Their concerts in Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium are now planned for August 20 and 21, 2021. The two musicians and entrepreneurs can thus reschedule orders to suppliers such as stage builders. Due to the postponement, the tickets remain valid and the ticket price does not have to be refunded.

The organizers of the festival have the same “Unique Moments” announced. Your event is scheduled to take place in September 2020. The festival too “Stars Of Sounds” in Aarberg BE was moved from June to September, now extended by one day and partly supplemented by bands from the partner festival “Stars of Sounds” in Murten FR.

Moving is not an option for everyone

Moving is not an option for some organizers, as the site will then no longer be available, or the line-up would have to be booked completely new.

Joachim Bodmer, media spokesman for the Openair Frauenfeld, explains that «a postponement triggers a lot of new problems». They also check this option, but give it little chance.

Most major festivals are currently waiting to see what new ordinances or changes the Federal Council will announce around April 19th.

This is how Simon Haldemann from Berner explains Belt Festivalthat they are currently working on the organization of the festival as well as a possible cancellation or postponement. The organizer mentions the “point of no return” 60 to 90 days before the event, i.e. the point in time when it must be certain at the latest whether the festival can take place or not.

But even if the authorities allowed major events this summer, the lack of ticket sales since the beginning of March and the possible fear of the public to attend such major events are mentioned as enormous risks. Christoph Bill, President of the Swiss concert, show and festival organizers (SMPA), describes the current situation:

He goes on to explain: “If the authorities cancel ‘too late’, the costs are incredibly high. If you cancel yourself as an organizer, you are legally on a delicate path towards the stakeholders ».

Joachim Bodmer from the Openair Frauenfeld speaks of a loss of about a third of her total budget if her event is canceled. Specifically: a loss of CHF 3 to 5 million.

The consequences of a cancellation

A cancellation by the organizers would result in significant demands from suppliers and the public. A cancellation due to “force majeure” – in the case of the official pandemic regulations – gives the organizers the opportunity to reject or minimize claims by third parties.

Other festivals like that Winterthur music festival weeks or that Blue Balls Festival in Lucerne these days announce new artists in their program. A kind of optimism to be able to present the preparatory work that has been done for a year now.


That has already been canceled “Zermatt Unplugged”Festival because it would have taken place before April 19th. Rolf Furrer, the managing director of this event, speaks of a “very large financial deficit”.

To avoid such a deficit, the regional one Openair Rheinwald on the Nufenen in Graubünden decided at the end of March not to hold the edition this year. In contrast to the big festivals, according to their media release, these organizers have not yet signed contracts with suppliers and bands.

The organizers of the “Stars Of Sounds” cancel in Murten.

Glimmer of hope

International and national organizers (like that Open air gampel VS) and bands appeal to their audience under the hastag #savethesummer used to take the instructions of the authorities very seriously and to implement them. An appeal based on the hope of at least partially securing their livelihoods.

Daniel Fontana from the Bad Bonn Kilbi explains in SRF 3 “Focus” talk: “If there wasn’t a festival summer this year, maybe a few events will disappear.” He also sees in it the chance that there will be new events, and “maybe this will also result in the chance that more will be listened to by young people and that they will be integrated into problem solving”.

It is already clear today that even if the festival summer 2020 could take place, many bands will not carry out their planned tours because the routing has changed due to canceled festivals in Europe. And whether the audience is ready to meet at major events remains to be seen.


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