Established in 1998, European Bike Week has become The Continent’s largest free motorcycle festival. Harley-Davidson may sponsor the event but all motorcycle enthusiasts, regardless of brand preference, are welcome. Of course, COVID-19 ruined the party in 2020, but with Austria relaxing restrictions in May, 2021, following a downward trend in new cases, Harley forged ahead.
The festival will be held at an outdoor venue on banks of Lake Faak in the Carinthia region on September 7-12, 2021. Attendees will need to present proof of compliance with Austrian 3-G rules, which includes a negative COVID test or vaccination card. As of August 19, 2021, the country has reported 1,226 new cases. Those numbers are manageable compared to Austria’s peak of 9,586 new cases set on November 13, 2021, but new cases have been steadily rising again since late June, 2021.
However, cases haven’t risen to the point of threatening the festival. Luckily, the show will go on with the Bar and Shield offering a 2021 model exhibit, demo rides, merchandise displays, and a HOG Meet Up Zone. Attendees will be able to test out all-new platforms like the Sportster S and Pan America along with Harley’s extensive range of Touring and Softail bikes. On the other hand, there’s no official parade, evening entertainment, or a custom motorcycle show in 2021 due to health safety.
"We are delighted to bring back European Bike Week this year, " proclaimed Harley-Davidson EMEA Vice President Kolja Rebstock. “After the disappointment of having to postpone the event in 2020, we are more determined than ever to have a strong presence in Faaker See (Lake) this year. We are fortunate to have reliable partners in Carinthia who have been of great help in finding ways to organize a safe event, which remains our number one priority.”
With the Sportster consistently ranking as H-D's highest-selling model in Europe, the rollout of the new Sportster S will be critical for the brand. Adventure riding is also very popular in Europe, so we expect a long queue for Pan America demo rides. No, we may not be back to 100 percent normality, but we’re glad to see long-time festivals return to the calendar in 2021.