August culture vulture

Article published on Aug. 2, 2007
From the magazine
Article published on Aug. 2, 2007
Despite a slow start to the summer weatherwise, Europe’s festivals – even outdoor festivals – are in full blossom. THE event overwiew for August

Sziget festival

Once a year over 100 bands and several tens of thousands of music-lovers come together on Budapest’s idyllic island of Sziget. It seems that together with that of Roskilde this festival is Europe’s most popular summer event. While the likes of Nine Inch Nails, The Killers or Tool perform, the civil village offers even more fun – not least with a stand of the Budapest team. (Budapest, 8-15 August)

(Photo: flophoga/ Flickr)

Woodstock festival

"Woodstock festival" represents perhaps the best refute of claims of rough Polish-German relations. A visit to Küstrin/Kostrzyn on the border between the two countries should suffice to set skeptics straight in their doubts. Poles, Germans and other Europeans revive the memory of the original Woodstock in coming together in a spirit of repsect, and above all, fun! As if this weren’t incentive enough, entrance is free, and the enthusiasm of many small or new bands contribute to making this Europe’s biggest ‘free and open-air’ festival! (Kostrzyn, 3-4 August)

(Photo: © Tomasz Wójcik)

MET in Berlin

For those who prefer cool museum or concert halls to rough tent living should pop into Berlin’s new National Gallery. In a similar vein to the exhibition it hosted in 2004, this year it offers 150 French masterpieces that the New York Metropolitan Museum has lent the German capital. Not only are we talking about works by great painters like Ingres and Picasso but the exhibition is a unique opportunity to see these works on European ground. (, )

MoMaBerlin1 June - 7 October

(Photo: © David von Becker)

Edinburgh International Festival

(Photo:© Klaus Lefebvre)

One of August’s definite highlights is the Edinburgh Festival with its generous program of classical music, opera, ballet and theatre performances. Several hundred events, this year including two concerts by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and a Tiger Lillies performance of a Monteverdi piece, turn this Scottish city into one of the biggest attractions in Europe every August. The Fringe, having established itself as a parallel festival, deserves special mention: it is the forum which allows amateurs or less well-known artists and street performers to put on their act along side the official Festival. They are everywhere to be found and for two weeks turn Edinburgh into the city of culture par excellence. (Edinburgh, 1 August - 2 September)

The Salzburg festival

(Photo: ©James Neeley/ Flickr)

Classical Music lovers don’t dispair! For the prestige of the Salzburger Festspiele ensures that anyone who’s anyone in your music scene will at least give a quick stopover concert in Mozart’s home town. One of the highlights this summer is the Berlioz Opera production Benvenuto Cellini by Philipp Stölzl, who has durected several advertising spots as well as music videos, amongst others for Madonna. (Salzburg, 27 July - 31 August)

Bayreuth festival

The legendary Wagner-Festspiele, or Wagner festival, is an annual ritual that attracts international VIPs and opera lovers from all around Europe. The concert hall was especially built for the occasion and puts on one Wagner opera per day. Unfortunately tickets are no longer freely available, but last-minute drop-outs do sell their tickets online – beware of shockingly high blackmarket prices though! (Bayreuth, 25 July - 28 August)

(Photo: ©Josim/ Flickr)

Szegeder open-air festival

Now in its 70th year, the Szegend open-air festival is again to be the biggest of its kind in Hungary. Five productions of operas, musicals and operettas attract a big audience every year to the ‘city of sunshine’, as it is known by the people. Weather permitting, this August should see the performance of a Turkish dance show, Frank Wildhorn’s operetta , and Erkel Ferenc’s opera . (, )

RudolfBánk BánSzegeduntil 20 August

(Photo: tildi/ Flickr)

The Great Week of Bilbao


Finally, this month the Basque country offers the Aste Nagusia or ‘Great Week’ in Bilbao. The whole city turns into an open-air stage for the numerous festival events: the street theatre on the Plaza Arriaga is one of the highlights, while the side squares put on pelota tournaments or concerts. A constant to the whole week is the firework competition that niosily makes itself known every day. Last but not least eight bullfights, no less, are fought in the city’s arena in the course of the week. (Bilbao, 14-22 August)