The Schlossfest, which usually takes place at the beginning of the fall semester, will not be celebrated this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting difficulties in planning. With an average of 15,000 guests, the Schlossfest falls into the category of “large events”, which are prohibited in Germany until at least August 31, 2020. At present, it is still unclear whether large events can take place again in September. There is no doubt, however, that the guests of the Schlossfest would be exposed to a high risk of infection, especially while attending the cultural program inside the Schloss. This would be the case regardless of the provisions of the federal and state governments. In addition, the fact that the Schloss cannot provide its usual room capacities due to the ongoing construction works would make it difficult to comply with potential hygiene requirements. “Limiting the number of guests, in turn, is not economically feasible for the university,” says Prof. Thomas Puhl, President of the University of Mannheim. Moreover, according to Betty Kübe, managing director of the Universität Mannheim Service und Marketing GmbH and main organizer of the Schlossfest, the artists who substantially contribute to the program free of charge also need planning security. For all these reasons, although with a heavy heart, the organizers have decided to cancel this year’s Schlossfest.
Nevertheless, the cancellation of the Schlossfest 2020 is accompanied by the hope to hold the 17th edition of the cultural and scientific event in fall 2021. “We expect to re-open our doors on September 11, 2021, to celebrate the Schlossfest together with the citizens of Mannheim,” says President Puhl.