Abensberg – folk festival without people and festival – Bavaria

Folk festivals in Bavaria are still not allowed due to Corona and have been canceled, including the Gillamoos in Abensberg in Lower Bavaria. However, Prime Minister Markus Söder’s CSU and Hubert Aiwanger’s Free Voters do not want to forego the traditional political exchange of blows, which always takes place there on a Monday in September at the Volksfest three weeks before the general election. The Prime Minister and his deputy will come to Abensberg this Monday for events with a fairly manageable number of guests, the speeches will be broadcast live on the net. Of the parties represented in the Bavarian state parliament, the FDP and AfD also hold classic political rallies in Abensberg. Instead of on the fairground, the meetings are spread across the small town.

The Gillamoos in the Kelheim district has more than 700 years of tradition and is known nationwide for its political morning pint. Especially in election years, these, often with a visit from federal politicians, are seen as a mood test and a good chance in the final sprint to tighten the positions again with belligerence, even with punching out points and tips; It is not uncommon for the speeches in Abensberg to resemble those on political Ash Wednesday.

“Our messages during the political morning pint are more important than ever this year. Because it doesn’t matter who will rule in Germany in the future,” said the CSU district chief and district administrator Martin Neumeyer, who invited Söder to Lower Bavaria. Therefore one wants to advertise for “ideas and future concepts” of the CSU shortly before the federal election. The venue is a festival hall, only a few hundred spectators should be present, most of them in the beer garden. The Free Voters, who invite you to a brewery inn near the festival meadow, plan only a few dozen participants that it is first and foremost a “virtual Gillamoos Monday”. The Söder / Aiwanger duel should also be exciting for spectators at home. It is well known that the FW want to go to the Bundestag, they could take many important votes from the CSU – even if it failed – in Bavaria.

Perhaps the vaccination debate will also be part of this two-way exchange. Aiwanger, who personally refuses the injection, had only a few days ago with his FW called for a “Freedom Day” based on the British model, i.e. a deadline for the end of all government corona measures. Söder clearly rejects such a day, the pandemic is “not a request concert” has been said in the CSU for a long time. And the party’s vice-general secretary, Florian Hahn, countered on Twitter: If Aiwanger called for a day of freedom, he could only say: “It already exists – individually for everyone with their own vaccination!” So there is potential for conflict in the air here. On Friday after a meeting of the CSU board of directors, Söder tightened the tone for the election campaign against the coalition partner: “In the state elections, a vote for the Free Voters may not make sense, but it is not given away” – now it is, however, the FW would certainly be “have no member of parliament in the Bundestag”. The representative of Bavarian interests, said the CSU chairman, “we are doing for the free voters”.

The FDP invites you to a bar in the old town, Daniel Föst, Bavarian top candidate and state chairman, and state parliamentary group leader Martin Hagen speak. In the AfD there have been frequent complaints in recent years that they are being “bullied” – because as a newcomer to the Gillamoos, you did not get a tent or bar, but had to move to the nearby castle garden. Curiously, the AfD, as the party that most relentlessly rejects all Corona measures, is now a role model with its open-air appointment with a view to the pandemic suitability of the morning pint. The following spoke, for example, Group leader Katrin Ebner-Steiner and MEP Markus Buchheit.

It cannot be ruled out that the SPD and the Greens missed the opportunities offered by the increasingly defused Corona situation a little. Of course, she would never admit such a thing. The local Greens have set up a small meeting that is not of the nature of a rally. Without a folk festival, there would be no Gillamoos atmosphere, says state director Eva Letterbauer. “That’s why it makes absolutely no sense to organize any kind of replacement. We’re really looking forward to the time when people can come together again at folk festivals.” In return, the Greens offer hundreds of creative election campaign events. Arif Taşdelen, General Secretary of the Bavarian SPD, says: “We have decided against a beer tent event out of caution because of Corona. After all, politics has to set a good example here, after having imposed many restrictions on the citizens.” They also want “no aggressive campaign speech”, in difficult times people valued the matter-of-fact style. Like Olaf Scholz – who will “hopefully be Chancellor” at Gillamoos 2022. Söder and Aiwanger advises Taşdelen to seek “personal conversation with each other” instead of “insulting from hall to hall”.


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