Popfest (c) Simon Brugner
Popfest (c) Simon Brugner

The POPFEST WIEN SESSIONS are a two-day discussion programme that will examine the current conditions of contemporary pop creation as part of the Popfest Wien 2018.

Curated by Nino Mandl and Katharina Seidler, the festival will present more than 50 artists in the city centre – including newcomers like Aivery, Dives, Anger, Pauls Jets, Pressyes or Felix Kramer, but also more established artists like Kreiml & Samurai, Lukas Lauermann or Mavi Phoenix. For a quick overview, check out this Spotify playlist by Walzerkönig!

Each year, the accompanying Popfest Wien Sessions offer a forum to shed light on aspects of musical life. This is also the ninth year of its existence: on Saturday 28 July and Sunday 29 July 2018, the Popfest Sessions will take place with free admission in the Atrium of the Wien Museum on Karlsplatz.

The economic conditions with which musicians have to struggle are to be explored in a discursive and constructive-critical way. How, for example, do creative people deal with new technologies, what international significance does domestic music production have, and what significance do lyrics have?
Representatives of the Austrian and international music industry, music journalists, and musicians themselves will examine the aesthetic dimensions, the economic potential and risks of a rapidly changing industry in roundtables and discussions.


Saturday, July 28 | Wien Museum Karlsplatz

11.00 – 18.00 Viennese Label & Vinyl market pres. by Vienna Business Agency

13.00 – 14.00 Panel 1: Music Management – Star Maker or Service Provider?
Music managers perform a wide variety of tasks to promote a career – from finding the right business partners to advising on artistic issues – and now an increasing number of Viennese pop acts are employing them. Often managers are portrayed in the media as starmakers; stories of mangers flops are less common. Do young acts really need management? Or in other words: can they even afford it? When is the right time to get involved with management? Which decisions should be made by the management, which should remain with the musicians, what is a meaningful distribution of tasks? International and national music managers report on their experiences and their roles in building successful acts. Guests: Kata Fohl, tba., Moderation: Sandra Walkenhofer (MMFA)

14.00 – 15.00 Live: Lupin

15.00 – 16.00 Panel 2: Indie goes Schlager
Labels like Lotterleben, founded by Stefan Redelsteiner, and acts rooted in the indie genre like Fuzzman and The Singin´Rebels or Alf have released flawless hits in recent months. There were always Schlager fans among the indie scene but until recently there were fears of contact with the genre. What has changed? Guests: Stefan Redelsteiner, Fritz Ostermayer

16.00 – 17.00 Live: Toni Wegas

Sunday July 29 | Wien Museum Karlsplatz

12.00 – 18.00 Viennese Label & Vinyl market pres. by Vienna Business Agency

12.00 – 13.00 Panel 3: What´s your price?
On May 3, just six days before the Red Bull Music Festival in and around the Ferris Wheel, DJ Sonja Resista published an open letter to all bands performing there titled “Dear Music Scene: A Sermon”. The post hit a nerve, got over 600 likes, was passionately discussed and spread in the media all the way to Germany. Ex-Popfest curator Patrick Pulsinger was one of the artists mentioned: “I totally agree with the criticism and reservations,” he wrote, “but I know the people there who do good cultural work. Unfortunately, the fact that adequate payment for art and culture can only be achieved through private hands is an ugly side effect of our society.”An interesting comment, since, conversely, the subsidising public sector, especially when it promotes free festivals, is often accused of indirect market damage.

The Popfest can also be addressed in both cases: It is financed almost entirely with funds from the City of Vienna and has for years been in cooperation with Red Bull, which provides one of the stages of the festival with the Brandwagen. All the more reason to face the debate in real life beyond the social media. Robert Rotifer, co-founder of Popfest Wien will discuss this with DJ Resista, Patrick Pulsinger and the audience: Whether state or private, in the streaming age pop culture has long been dependent on third party support – how much does artistic integrity cost? Guests: Dj Resista, Patrick PulsingerModeration: Robert Rotifer

13.00 – 14.00 Live: Alex Miksch Trio

14.00 – 15.00 Panel 4: The Superfan
What would pop music be without its audience? We want to talk to people who spend a large part of their free time at concerts in Vienna and beyond. People who regularly spend money to see bands they have seen tens of times. People who are always watching what’s new in the music city of Vienna, often closer to the action than many professional music journalists and frequently photographing, filming or writing about it – all for the love of music. We’ll talk to them about their passion and what they think of the term “superfan.” – “Imagine there’s a concert and nobody’came.” Moderation: Katharina Seidler & Nino Mandl, Guests: Andrea Putz, Raimund Rauch, Gabriele Bröckner

15.00 – 16.00 Panel 5: Ich spiele Leben – Round table in memory of Hansi Lang
Ten years ago one of the strongest personalities ever produced by Austrian pop died. A great voice, a poetic talent, a songwriter from the gut without an inner censor, a performer without distance to his role, that is precisely why Hansi Lang was so captivating, but also so vulnerable. His career began in the seventies with Wickerl Adam and his “talent factory” (Harri Stojka, Thomas Rabitsch, Falco etc.), the famous rock theatre ensemble Hallucination Company. It flourished in the New Wave era of the early to mid-eighties with tracks such as “Keine Angst”, “Montevideo”, “Addio Westwelt” or “Ich spiele Leben”, which everyone and every pop listener knew, even if they never quite made it to the top of the charts.

The audience-friendly tendency of Austro-Pop toward cabaret was just not his thing. And while others were popular, Lang, who grew up far away from the better side of Viennese life, sang in High German about “quiet days in Realstadt”. Ultimately, however, he was also his own greatest enemy in his unstoppable urge to self-destruct.
Wickerl Adam will not only dedicate a musical tribute to Hansi Lang at this pop festival, but will also talk to filmmaker (“Oh Yeah, She Performs”) and radio presenter Mirjam Unger about the people behind the myth. Including ex-Popfest curator Wolfgang Schlögl (I-Wolf, ex-sofa surfers), who worked with Thomas Rabitsch and Lang on his last musical project Slow Club before his early death.Moderation: Mirjam Unger, Guests: Wickerl Adam und Wolfgang Schlögl

More information & full timetable: Popfest Wien
All talks and concerts are free of charge. The Popfest Sessions are presented by the Vienna Business Agency.