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Live music at the Rheinaue: How 5,000 fans can attend the Panama Open Air Festival

Live music at the Rheinaue : How 5,000 fans can attend the Panama Open Air Festival

5,000 people a day will be allowed to party at the Panama Open Air Festival on 10 and 11 September in the Rheinaue park in Bonn. The organiser is counting on lots of vaccinated people.

After cancellation in June, it now seems that the Panama Open Air Festival in Bonn's Rheinaue park will be taking place after all. On 10 and 11 September, a total of up to 10,000 visitors will be allowed to come and party to techno and house music. The city has already approved the concept for the event - provided that the NRW state’s planned relaxations of the corona rules remain in place. There will be certain entitlements for those who have been fully vaccinated.

Organiser Sandro Heinemann from Rheinevents had already drawn up the plans, including hygiene measures, for the big festival in July, which was designed for over 20,000 visitors. “We had actually shelved that,” he says. What he is planning now is a smaller version, which, after one and a half years of partying abstinence nevertheless seems crazy: Up to 5000 visitors a day are expected to come to the Rheinaue site known as the kleine Blumenwiese, and artists including David Puentez and Felix Kröcher will perform on two small and one large stage. International artists will also be taking part, but Heinemann has not yet revealed the line-up. “At the moment, the artists are not yet working to capacity, which is why we have been able to book at short notice.” For the slimmed-down festival was not intended to be like this. “It was only the change in the Corona Protection Ordinance that has made this possible.”

Music festivals allowed from 27 August

The decisive passage from the Ordinance is explicitly aimed at large events and applies regardless of the incidence rate. Thus, from 27 August, music festivals with crowds of up to 1,000 are in principle allowed, as long as negative test results are provided. “Those who are fully vaccinated are not counted,” Heinemann explains. Accordingly, 4,000 people would have to be immunised or recovered, but this would not be a problem. “Our experience from the Bonnlive Kulturgarten shows that this applies to about 70 percent of our visitors.” If Bonn does not reach incidence rate level 2 on the days of the event - although the rate is already above 35 and thus in this range - the health department can even approve events with more than 1,000 unvaccinated visitors, provided there are hygiene measures and a concept for protecting against infection.

Once you have entered the grounds, you are allowed to move freely without a mask, and even dance in the crowd and in all areas. “But there is distancing in the seating areas, and we have installed water toilets only and increased the cleaning times,” says Heinemann. Contact tracing is carried out via the ticket system, which has already proven successful at other events. But exact information concerning who was where, with whom and when, is not recorded.

What happens when there is a COVID case?

Should a COVID infection be discovered afterwards, not all 5,000 visitors will automatically have to quarantine, explains Andrea Schulte from the city press office. “In the event of a positive case, individual contact tracing is carried out in line with the current RKI criteria.” This involves asking the infected person for their close contacts. However, under the current regulations, anyone who is fully vaccinated does not have to be quarantined, even if they are named as a close contact and show no symptoms. “They are only required to keep a record of symptoms. However, those who have not been vaccinated must quarantine for at least six days and can then be exempted by testing negative.”

Ticket prices and cancellation

Those with a ticket for the original festival in July, which remains valid for 2022, will receive a discount and has the right of first refusal for the new event. “We decided not to offer a one-to-one ticket exchange because the new Open Air Festival is smaller and will remain a one-off,” says Heinemann. Accordingly, the tickets are also cheaper, costing around 60 euro for both days and 40 euro for one day. The tickets will be on sale from Tuesday, 10 August. Heinemann says that the festival-goers are on the safe side should the Panama Open Air Festival be cancelled at short notice due to high infection rates and new guidelines from the state. “They can return their tickets and get their money back straight away.” This offer is supported by special funds from the federal government and the state.

Tickets can be purchased on the website (in German): www.panamaopenair.de

(Original text: Nicolas Ottersbach, Translation: Caroline Kusch)