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.
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