Cultural events despite Corona?

Potsdam/Neuruppin, 18 January 2022

How great is the risk that infected persons are among the visitors of open-air music festivals? What do visitors know about risks and protective measures? Do they accept such measures, and do they abide by the rules? Researchers from the Harding Center for Risk Literacy/Potsdam (associated with the Faculty of Health Sciences) and the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane (MHB) explored these questions in a joint project with the Brandenburg Ministry for Economic Affairs, Labour and Energy. Their focus was on the festivals “Nation of Gondwana” and “Zurück zu den Wurzeln” on four weekends between 16 July and 15 August 2021. The festivals were not identified as drivers of infection, so Dr. Felix Rebitschek from the Harding Center. Most festival visitors assessed the effectiveness of protective measures correctly but overestimated the basic level of risk. Up to the last security check, approximately four out of five visitors consistently complied with precautionary measures. Festival guests in general were very positive about the test and security concepts.

Many restrictions are potentially necessary for cultural events with many visitors. Hygiene concepts may complicate the practical and economic feasibility of events with paying guests. The model project served to try out concepts with strict entry restrictions in the format of a consistent test strategy and subsequent minor restrictions during the event.

The aim was to statistically analyze the incidence-related risk involved in various kinds of access restriction and to determine a ratio of risk, access restriction and hygiene measures which visitors are willing to accept. This is to serve as a basis for decisions on the practical feasibility of open-air events next summer even with higher incidence rates.

Brandenburg’s economics minister Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach underlines his concern to open up perspectives to the hard-hit event industry in times of Corona: “For organizers and authorities alike, findings from this study provide important and scientifically sound decision guidance for the next festival season.”

The report is available at: It will be published pursuant to obligatory review procedures.

Harding Center for Risk Literacy
The Harding Center for Risk Literacy changed its affiliation from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin) to the Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences in Potsdam in 2020. It stands for information, generally intelligible processing of data and facts and the development of analogous and digital tools to facilitate informed and efficient health and consumer-related decision-making. The team at the Center conducts studies, expert surveys and public opinion polls. They also organize further and advanced training for physicians, journalists and consumer advisors who have a special responsibility to correctly interpret risks and convey their expert knowledge to patients and the general public in a comprehensible manner.

Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane
The Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, one of the member universities of the Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences, is a state-accredited university under the sponsorship of municipal authorities and independent nonprofit organizations. With four university clinics (Immanuel Klinikum Bernau Herzzentrum Brandenburg, Immanuel Klinik Rüdersdorf, Ruppiner Kliniken and Städtisches Klinikum Brandenburg) and currently a total of more than 35 cooperating hospitals and over 150 teaching practices, the MHB stands for practice-oriented and science-based teaching concepts and the integration of research, student instruction and patient care in the State of Brandenburg and beyond.

Faculty of Health Sciences
The Brandenburg Faculty of Health Sciences was established in 2018 as a joint department by the University of Potsdam, the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg and forms the core institution of the Brandenburg Health Campus. The aim is to develop new formats of medical, nursing and technical health care and innovative degree programs. In collaboration with further universities and research facilities, the new department is intended to improve medical care in the State of Brandenburg.

Dr. Felix G. Rebitschek, Head Scientist, Harding Center for Risk Literacy

Media information, Faculty of Health Sciences, issued by the University of Potsdam
17-01-2022 / No. 001