Austrian Music Highlights #9

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Is it just us, or is there suddenly an overwhelming amount of live events springing up like wildflowers? Is it more than ever before? Or, is it actually just like before (the p-word), but our live-culture consumption muscles have gone limp and are rather out of practice? 

Who knows? Who cares?! It’s time to buckle up, get back out there and face the music (literally)! The tunnel has been long and dark, but the light of summer is here. So get ready to bask in the steamy season of live music events!


This chapter of Austrian Music Highlights focuses exclusively on summer festivals; because if there is one thing that music lovers can be sure of this summer, it’s that festivals will be everywhere – the regularly scheduled ones, plus the ones postponed from the months of lockdown previously. Get ready, and get tickets! (Some events may sell out quickly due to corona restrictions and audience limitations.)

(c) Glatt&Verkehrt


Composed by the curatorial team of Esra Özmen (EsRap) and Herwig Zamernik (Fuzzman), this year’s Popfest program brings together some of the big, up and coming names of the local rap scene (Yugo, Dacid Go8lin, Eli Preiss, Slav, T-Ser, Kid Pex) with idiosyncratic interpretations of pop in every conceivable direction (Mavi Phoenix, Buntspecht, Elektro Guzzi, Pauls Jets, Alicia Edelweiss, etc.) and the intersections between the art, metal and industrial scenes (Schirenc plays Pungent Stench, Fuckhead, Gebenedeit). “The fuel of current sub and pop culture is feminism and diversity, which the Popfest impressively proves again in its 12th edition,” says a pleased City Councillor for Culture, Veronica Kaup-Hasler, about the current program. What has emerged is probably one of the most courageous Popfest programs to date. An invitation to a musical voyage of discovery, full of surprises and new talent (such as Oskar Haag, Christl, Skofi & Skyfarmer, Gyal, Zack Zack Zack), is warmly extended by Popfest 2021. In order to organize this year’s events in a responsible and corona-safe way, the festival is moving its central open-air venue from July 22 to 24 to the Arena Wien. On Sunday, July 25th, Popfest will then return to its roots at Karlsplatz and the Karlskirche.

Power is deeply inscribed in the Kunsthistorisches (Art History) Museum Vienna. Ganymed in Power, a new production by Jacqueline Kornmüller, opens up fresh perspectives on old masters of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. This highly unique and interdisciplinary theater, music and visual arts piece incorporates 8 contemporary authors and 6 composers who have written commissioned works inspired by masterpieces of the museum’s Picture Gallery. Kornmüller has brought these texts and compositions to the museum’s stage with 30 artists, bringing image and contemplation to life. The summer run of Ganymed in Power, originally scheduled for Spring 2021, but postponed due to the pandemic, will take place in July and August, with the opening night on July 21st. This 8th chapter of Ganymed is powered by creative musical talents such as Benny Omerzell, Martin Eberle, Martin Ptak, Golnar Shahyar, Mahan Mirarab, Mona Matbou Riahi, Klemens Lendl & David Müller (Die Strottern), Lukas Lauermann and Emily Stewart, to name a few.

© KHM-Museumsverband

RIPPLES & rotations

The annual festival at the Lunzer Mountain Lake, Wellenklänge is back, hitting the Seebühne (Lake Stage) from July 16th – 31st, 2021. If you are looking for a magical combination of high quality music framed by a stunning natural backdrop (as well as some very cool echo effects produced by the surrounding mountains), then this is the festival to attend. Once again, artistic directors, Julia Lacherstorfer & Simon Zöchbauer have created a fantastic program, under the theme, “Prosper & Perish“ which, as they  explain, “highlights two aspects of life that affect us all”. If one attends the opening concert, they will get to hear the sensitive and truth-telling songs of Violetta Parisini performed together with the Schmusechor, or if they go to the closing concert, they can rock out with My Ugly Clementine. Sandwiched between them are class acts Leo Skorupa and the Sketchbook Orchestra, MILLYCENT, Die Knoedel, Christian Muthspiel – Orjazztra Vienna, the CPM-Lab closing concert with Angélica Castelló, David Six, Simon Zöchbauer & participants of the CPM-Labs, and Emily Stewart’s solo program, “Anatomy of melancholy”.

Mühlenrauschen is gearing up for another weekend of concerts at the end of the month. On the 30th and 31st of July, 2021, after a one-year break, the music festival will take place on the romantic grounds of the Old Mill in St. Veit an der Glan. As usual, a broad spectrum of music will be offered. In 2021, this ranges from singer/songwriter, funk and future soul to contemporary beats, indie rock, new wave, drum & bass and groove. During the course of the festival weekend, indoor and outdoor concerts can be experienced by Drahthaus, Elis Noa, Ryan Tracey, Kimyan Law, Mother’s Cake, Dives, West Belt United feat. Jahson The Scientist, Flirtmachine, Little Element, and many more.


Glatt&Verkehrt celebrates its 25th anniversary this year between July 9th-25th. Since 1997 the annual Glatt&Verkehrt festival has been collaborating with distinctive and exciting music projects from the farthest corners of the globe, and presenting them on their stages in the Wachau region of Lower Austria. A common thread runs through the festival – an exploration of musical roots, whether traditional folk music, jazz, classical or avant-garde. The two-week festival will host 17 events this year. The broad scope of exciting concerts ranges from pure traditional music to contemporary and jazz-infused projects. The festival highlights include numerous world premieres, commissioned works, and Austrian debuts of international and domestic artists. Besides a special focus on musicians from Italy, as well as expansion of the venue platforms, other highlights of the 25th edition include Austrian acts such as 5/8erl in Ehr’n & Jazzorchester Vorarlberg, Jelena Popržan and Diknu Schneeberger & Benjamin Schmid.

Jelena Proprzan (c) Glatt & Verkehrt

Hyperreality, Festival for Club Culture- Vienna will take place on three dates in July 1st, 28th & 29th – for the fourth and, seemingly, for the time being, the last time. First and foremost, it was of utmost importance to the curators to come up with a program that represents the diversity of the scene, ranging from pioneers to gaming hybrid formats. In case you missed the opening event on the opening night where Fauna performed her latest album “Syncronia” live for the first time, together with Kisling, at the Gustav-Adolf church, don’t worry, there’s still a big load of program to come.

Namely, the upcoming lineup features Colombian sound artist Lucrecia Dalt and local heroine KMT, together with The Boiler (aka Ana Threat). The new project of musician GLOR1A combines elements of gaming culture, live performance and interaction: SWAMP- Prototype 1, is a collaboration with Japanese game designer Alpha Rats, which will be shown for the first time at Hyperreality. She will also be on stage in the Stadtkino together with video and music artist Kelman Duran, who will present one of his minimalist and theatrical video works, live, as part of the festival. Detroit Techno duo Dopplereffekt was founded in 1995 and consists of Gerald Donald (of Drexciya) and To Nhan Le Thi. They will present an AV show at the Stadtkino, together with Fingers of God aka Philipp Pettauer, the Vienna-based artist producing bass-heavy, experimental sound design that does justice to the origins of techno. Lyra Pramuk’s debut album “Fountain” is described by the artist herself as “futurist folk music“. Her music is a vivid mix of singing, vocal processing and pop. Both her incredible vocal skills and her skills as a music producer are something she shares with her stage partner, Rosa Anschütz. Schacke is one of the protagonists of Copenhagen’s industrial and noise scene, and will be doing a live show, which was developed with artist Freja Sigsgaard-Hansen. Mermaid & Seafruit, the collaborative project of Magdalena Chowaniec and Markus Steinkellner, will take the audience on an intense ride through various soundcapes in the Stadtkino on the final evening. “Hyperreality – among many others in this scene – wants a new beginning, one that is desperately needed. R.I.P (Festival for) Club Culture. To new beginnings.” –Hyperreality 2021


After the “Lockdown Grooves” – online events on the original dates of the festival in Spring – Elevate is back for its regular in-person festival at an irregular time. The internationally renowned, annual interdisciplinary festival will hold its Summer Edition from August 4th – 8th at various venues in Graz. Going with tradition, the festival maintains a strong focus on cultural and socio-political topics. In addition to performances, concerts, installations and DJ sets, the program offers workshops, film screenings, lectures and discussions. With its unique combination of critical-political discourse and art, contemporary electronic music and audio-visual experiments, the festival opens up a space for innovative content. Amongst the guests are human rights experts, climate researchers and activists from all over the world, who gather in Graz once a year with musicians and artists, illuminating pertinent issues of our future. As usual the festival is packed with cutting edge artists. To name a few, Rdeča Raketa, Brian Eno, Asfast, Jessica Ekomane, ANGER, Monsterheart, Culk and many others will be filling the ears and eyes of festival-goers at various spaces stages around the city in August.

Darmstädter Ferienkurse is an annual summer highlight for every new music aficionado. The 2021 edition will take place from July 31st to August 11th. The festival and summer academy will be held in a hybrid format. Live concerts will be shown in front of a live audience if possible, and all concerts will be streamed as well. The program involves too many internationally acclaimed artists to name, but Olga Neuwirth and Georg Friedrich Haas may be mentioned with pleasure! Pieces of theirs will be performed by Ensemble Modern and The Riot Ensemble, respectively.


Vienna is art, Vienna is culture. Moreover, Vienna is more. More than the opera houses and grand-scale concert halls. More than the first and inner districts. In line with that, Kultursommer 2021 has created a colossal program, incorporating a giant list of artists and venues, on and off the beaten path. From early July, through mid-August, the 2nd edition of the festival will be hosting approx. 2,000 artists to perform at over 40 venues, from the city center to the outskirts. Chosen by a board, which stands firmly behind the high quality and diversity of the program, the lineup is exciting, vast and inclusive; encompassing a wide range of artistic disciplines, like literature, dance & performance, theater, cabaret and contemporary circus, and of course, music. Far too large, in fact, to name all, we have chosen (just) a handful of highlights from the bursting music program.

From Der Nino aus Wien hitting the stage in Florisdorf, to the beloved melancholic jazz quartet, Kompost 3 in Oberlaa, to the electric guitar trio Julie Island in Döbling, the up and coming pop artist Tina Naderer in Leopoldstadt, the quartet and self-proclaimed “democratic, international working band” DACH at the School-Ship on the Florisdorfer Bridge, rap artist Kerosin95 in the 22nd district, the electronic duo theclosing at Naschmarkt, the duo schtum in Simmering, experimental musician and filmmaker Billy Roisz with multidisciplinary artist and performer Anat Steinberg performing ‘HIGHLIGHTS AND HEADACHES: a Cliffhanger Musical’ in the 21st district, Hearts Hearts in Simmering, the Auner Quartett and Trio Alba, Rina Kacinari & Maria Craffonara in Florisdorf, OSKA on the Donauinsel, Elektro Guzzi together with pianist Ingrid Schmoliner in Oberlaa, Bohatsch & Skrepek & Stewart at Naschmarkt… so much music awaits you if you’ve got enough liquids and leg power. And, speaking of – we’re out of breath already! Therefore, we’ll save up some air and get you your dose of Kultursommer August program features in the next Highlights (#10) edition. Stay tuned!

Arianna Fleur