Bowing to the pressure of continuing Covid-19 concerns and major exhibitor cancellations, drupa has now re-cast its already rescheduled and shortened 2021 event as a four-day virtual one. 

drupa had been scheduled to take place in June 2020 but was postponed and rescheduled to April 2021. A host of big-name vendors – including almost all of the digital press manufacturers – then pulled out of the rearranged event, citing ongoing public health concerns as well as revised new product development and marketing activities brought about by the pandemic. Messe Düsseldorf responded by shortening the show to nine days and sought to reassure the industry about its health and safety protocols.

Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf, commented, ‘The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors in terms of their attendance at drupa 2021. Travel restrictions and budget constraints have further exacerbated the situation in the printing industry. We have taken this decision in consultation with our partners, who are entirely supportive of it. It was preceded by a detailed process of considering the current conditions and the needs of the industry.’

Mr Wienkamp continued, ‘Today’s decision to cancel drupa 2021 and present it in a different format has been an event- and industry-specific one. Messe Düsseldorf remains in close contact with the authorities and its partners of all other events, and we will evaluate the circumstances in a timely manner to take the responsible decision.’

In place of an in-person event, Messe Düsseldorf will now host a four-day ‘Virtual drupa’. This follows on from the online drupa Preview that was introduced in October of this year.

Sabine Geldermann, drupa director and project director, print technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, said, ‘Our primary goal remains to support the industry in any way we can to keep in contact at a national and international level, further develop their network and generate leads. To this end, we will be holding an interim event from 20–23 April, providing our exhibitors and visitors with an additional sales channel and allowing them to make reliable plans.’

Having previously confirmed his company’s intent to participate at a drupa in 2021, Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman at Koenig & Bauer, and also the current drupa president, commented, ‘A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time. Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors, given declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, which would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, providing a reliable pillar and an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.’

drupa 2024 is scheduled for 28 May to 7 June 2024.