A fun and offbeat way to discover Vienna, the Wir sind Wien (We are Vienna) festival celebrates the diversity and culture found in every corner of the city, visiting a different district every day. Its diverse program features quirky highlights like the performance of the classic Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus in eight Freibäder (outdoor pools), concerts in Baulücken – empty building sites – and guided tours of Gemeindebauten, artist studios and other local landmarks.

There will be pianos in public places where passersby can play and pros give occasional concerts; a traveling exhibition of Austrian caricaturist Manfred Deix, who gleefully shocked and mocked social taboos; and so-called Rotlichtkonzerte (Red Light Concerts), where street corners become stages for live music to entertain pedestrians while they wait for the light to change.

The “Wir sind Wien” festival brings art and culture to all districts of the city.

Art For the People

Now in its 11th year, the festival began on May 31 and will continue until June 23. For the opening, a tram was converted into a mobile stage with a piano in front and speakers in the back; Lilian Klebow and Simone Niederer sang while the legendary pianist and arranger Bela Koreny accompanied them along the scenic route around the Ringstraße. Later that evening, the official opening ceremony took place at Kursalon Hübner in the Stadtpark with concerts by the Waldig Sextett featuring Patricia Ferrara and Buntspecht – and free beer.

At the opening, Harri Kopietz, former city council president and head of the host organization Basis.Kultur.Wien, hail the initiative, that “brings art and culture to the Gräztl, where the people are actually at home.” Culture Councillor Veronica Kaup-Hasler, called it “a whirlwind that moves through the city.” Admission to all events is free, and anyone can participate. The only challenge is simply getting a seat on a tram.

Through Jun 23, various locations. wirsindwien.com

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Born 1988 in Boston, MA, USA. Started writing at a young age and was published in The New York Times for varies poetic entries. Worked in the film industry as a Director of Photography with writing credentials for The History Channel and numerous independent films around the east coast of the U.S. A jack-of-all-trades, he has sold art, dairy products and also framed houses. After working as a telecommunications engineer for over 10 years, he followed his passion for writing to Vienna and ended up on Metropole’s doorstep.