Wiesen: Jazzfest, Sunsplash & Strawberries
The term "Wiese" means "meadow" and is the name of a village in the northern part of the Burgenland. There isn′t much to see in Wiesen: Less than 3,000 residents, the obligatory but rather unexciting parish church and a nature reserve called "Naturpark Rosalia-Kogelberg". Like many villages in the Burgenland, Wiesen has various names: The Hungarian one is Retfalu, the Croatian one is Bizmet. Since Wiesen′s farmers are famous for their strawberries, Wiesen is sometimes also called "Erdbeergemeinde" or "strawberry community".
For a long time, the Wiesen was part of Hungary - only in 1921, the Burgenland finally became part of Austria. All in all, the village would have absolutely nothing to shout about (ignoring the strawberries for a moment). If only there wasn′t the tent.
In a small gorge or valley near Wiesen, surrounded by forests, you can find the "Wiesen Festival Site" or "Festivalplatz". The site is 25 years old and consists of a characteristic tent made of steel ropes that avoids the use of pillars for an unconstrained view on the stage. The tent serves as a festival venue for a variety of events, of which the "Jazzfest Wiesen" is by far the most famous.
Wiesen: Festival Action in rural Burgenland
Others are the "Forestglade", "Sunsplash", "Two Days A Week", "Spring Vibration", "GrooveQuake" or the "Urban Art Forms Festival", which take place annually, biannually or even more infrequently. The Jazzfest, held since the 1970ies, is Austria′s biggest Jazz event and attracts artists and visitors from half of Europe - and the rest of the World. It takes place in mid-July and is followed by the "Sunsplash", a concert series of West Indian and Latin American music.
However, if you prefer strawberries over Jazz, you might plan your visit for early summer: Nine days after Fronleichnam or Corpus Christi, the "Miss Strawberry" election takes place. Attractions nearby include Mattersburg and Forchtenstein on the northern part of the "Road of Castles".
Further north you will find the province′s "capital" of Eisenstadt, the villages of Rust and Mörbisch and - following Lake Neusiedlersee, the Seewinkel Area. To the south, aficionados of Romantic composer Franz Liszt will be drawn to his birthplace in Raiding. Westwards, Wiener Neustadt is just across the border to Lower Austria.
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