Events & Festivals in Upper Austria
Upper Austria is a big province, divided into very rural areas in its provincial countryside and thoroughly urban places around its industrial hubs. Traditional celebrations and festivals are usually associated with religious ceremonies, things you will find mentioned in my article on the traditions and customs of Austria. The capital Linz has become an innovative and creative place in the past 20 years. One of the most famous festivals of Austria is held here in summer, the Ars Electronica, a festival of digital art.
A different kind of festival can be found in the Salzkammergut: Here the 19th century heritage from the early days of Austria′s tourism are celebrated in traditional music performances. The most important one is the Operettenfestival (Operetta festival) of Bad Ischl. Beyond that, the Salzkammergut has a distinct local culture that extends into the Salzburg and Styrian parts of this region - where you find plenty of authentic folk culture.
Various folk customs and traditions are held in the Salzkammergut - see my article on the Perchten of Austria for details.
Salzkammergut again: The "Internationale Chortage" draws choirs from all over the world to Bad Ischl. Takes place towards the end of April.
In the community of Urfahr just outside of Linz, the 200-year-old Tradition of the "Urfahrer Frühlingsfest" is held - a spring fair that takes place in early May. Later in May, the LinzFest is something like a town fair for Linz, with a focus on entertainment music. Held between the Lentos (a museum of contemporary art) and the Brucknerhaus (concert hall).
The "Linzer Pflasterspektakel" is a festival of street artists held in Upper Austria′s capital in late June. Supplemented with food stalls and music (surprise).
Summer is the main season for "Zeltfeste", rustic celebrations with brass bands, folk music, roasted chicken - and of course beer and more beer. These events are usually anything but civilised, nonetheless, hugely popular in Upper Austria. The organisers are usually societies of the village where the fest is held - firemen, youth associations (Landjugend, beware of these) or folk music clubs.
"Internationales Lederhosentreffen" in Windischgarsten - a meeting of lederhosen enthusiasts from all Austria, Bavaria, South Tyrol and Switzerland. A rather peculiar occasion, but potentially interesting for international tourists. Held in late July.
August is the season of "Seefest" lake festivals, especially in the Salzkammergut. Note the one in Mondsee, which is famous for its fireworks and light effects on the Drachenwand, a bare mountain. Held in early August.
The Ars Electronica is a festival of digital art that I have mentioned above. As far as it concerns festivals and events in Upper Austria, this is probably the highlight. Said to be a festival for "art, technology and society", held in early September in Linz. Includes the "Klangwolke" or "sound cloud" - sound effects and music in the entire city centre.
From mid-September to early October, the Brucknerfest is held in Linz. It is named after Anton Bruckner, but the performing orchestras play all sorts of music by his contemporaries - such as Gustav Mahler.
The 15th of November is the day of St. Leopold, the patron saint of Upper Austria. Until recently, it was a bank holiday in the province and celebrated with fairs even in small villages.
Christmas markets - big deal everywhere in Austria, but particularly nice in small, historic towns. Note the one in Mondsee, St. Wolfgang and Bad Ischl. But also Steyr, which is particularly famous for its Christmassy traditions.
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Festivals & Events elsewhere in Austria
Vorarlberg - Tyrol (Tirol) - Salzburg - Upper Austria (Oberösterreich) - Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) - Vienna - Carinthia (Kärnten) - Styria - Burgenland
Traditions & Customs of Austria
Best of Fest: Most Popular Festivals of Austria
Ministery for Education, Culture and Science (includes folk culture)
Austrian Tourism Council for current events