At his weekly press conference, Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, gave further details about the easing of restrictions beginning May 4th, in the second phase of the fight against the coronavirus epidemic. While shops may remain open without a time limit and zoos and open-air museums may also open, events larger than 500 people cannot be held until August 15th. This concerns several major events, ceremonies, concerts, and festivals, which we have collected below.
The PMO Head said that as there was a demand from the event management sector for an exact date until which mass events could not be organized, the government decided not to allow mass events for more than 500 people until August 15th. Thus, in the case of force majeure, the situation becomes clear. Gergely Gulyás added that if the epidemiological situation allows, the country may celebrate the founding of the state together on the national holiday on August 20th.
However, the government’s announcement means that the festivals and concerts planned until then will certainly not be held, at least not in their usual forms. This practically applies to almost the whole summer festival season, and the majority of events will be canceled. Although some organizers such as the Bánkitó and FEZEN festival event management team have already announced that they will cancel their festival this year, while festivals with only or mainly domestic performers like Fishing on Orfű and Colorado have postponed their own event until late August. The Debrecen Campus Festival is also thinking about postponing the festival planned for July to a September date.
The festivals that will definitely be affected by the restrictions are the Colorado Festival (Nagykovácsi), Fishing on Orfű (Orfű), and the Volt Festival (Sopron) in June. In July, the Rock Marathon (Dunaújváros), Balaton Sound (Zamárdi), the Campus Festival (Debrecen), the Bánkitó Festival (Bánk), the Valley of Arts (Kapolcs and its surroundings), the FEZEN (Székesfehérvár), and the EFOTT (Lake Velence) will be canceled (or postponed if they find another date to organize the events). In August, the Sziget Festival (Budapest) is also involved, as it would have originally taken place between the 5th and 11th of August, which falls into the restricted period.
Major summer festivals cancelled in Hungary
Budapest's Sziget Festival, the Volt Festival and Balaton Sound are being cancelled in view of the novel coronavirus epidemic, organisers said on Thursday. Tamás Kádár, the chief organiser of the Sziget Festival, said work was under way on how best to compensate ticket holders. The Sziget Festival has been cancelled for the first time in its 16-year history. 'We have no ready-made solution for this situation,' he said. This state of affairs is causing serious damage to the festival sector and endangering jobs and companies, Kádár said. Representatives are in talks with decision-makers on an aid package, he added.
A number of concerts will also be postponed in the Papp László Budapest Arena as well. Harry Styles and Nick Cave will come back at a later date in 2021, while the Celine Dion and Pearl Jam concerts are also under reorganization for a new date. There is no information yet about the Korn, the System of a Down and the Judas Priest, Aerosmith, and Kiss concerts.
It is also almost certain that the Hungarian Grand Prix of Formula 1 cannot be held in front of spectators on the original date, as the Hungarian leg of the race series would have been held between July 31st and August 2nd. For now, it seems that the Hungarian Grand Prix will be organized as a closed-door race.
However, the German newspaper Bild, learned more details about the re-organized race calendar of the 2020 Formula 1 competitions earlier this week. According to this, the season would start with a double Austrian Grand Prix, with the first race on June 5th and the second on the 12th. The British Grand Prix would follow after a two-week break, also with two competitions, on July 26th and August 2nd. It shows that the Hungarian Grand Prix would also be postponed, and that they would also double the race weekends at the Hungaroring as well. The possible dates of the two Hungarian competitions are August 16th and 23rd.
This means that the new dates are already in the period after the government’s restriction ceases, so it is also possible that, in addition to the national holiday, Formula 1 will be one of the first mass events, which could be held with spectators – of course, with taking epidemiological measures into account.
featured photo: Zoltán Balogh/MTI