Events & Festivals in the Burgenland
The Burgenland has a reputation for being rural and quiet. However, due to the relative vicinity of the Burgenland to the capital of Vienna and the densely populated Lower Austria, several festivals and events are held in the Eastern-most corner of Austria. This applies in particular to summer festivals such as the Seefestspiele in Mörbisch, an operetta festival popular with elderly Viennese; and the festivals of Wiesen, most importantly the Jazzfestival.
In terms of Classic and Romantic music, the composers Joseph Haydn and Franz Liszt have close ties with the Burgenland. And there are plenty of agricultural events and celebrations, often concerned with the main good that is produced in the Burgenland: Wine.
Throughout May, the "Great Bustard" (Otis tarda) embarks upon its courtship behaviour - which is a rather dramatic dance and even experienced birders are thrilled when they have the pleasure of watching this event. The "Großtrappenbalz" is not a festival in the strict sense of the world, but it does attract hundreds of visitors and draws them into the National Park Seewinkel.
The "Haydnmatineen" are a series of concerts of Haydn music, held in Schloss Esterhazy in Eisentstadt. The season lasts until October, the performing musicians wear historic clothes. Guess whether these concerts are touristy or not.
Burgspiele Güssing: A theatre and drama festival in the castle of Güssing that is held annually. The actors are non-professionals, supervised by professional staff.
Fahnenschwingen Neckenmarkt: A rather unusual event - historic flags are being raised to commemorate a victory of the Austrian armies against the Hungarian troops in 1620. Held on the Sunday after Corpus Christi.
Once every five years, the famous "Passionsspiele" ("Passion Plays") of St. Margarethen in the Burgenland take place. The ancient Roman quarry serves as a stage for 300 actors that perform every Sunday from June to September.
Jazzfest Wiesen: The "strawberry capital" of the Burgenland is actually much more famous for its jazz festival - I think the most innovative and creative jazz fest in Austria. Held in a tent, for more information, read my article on Wiesen.
Kammermusikfestival Burg Lockenhaus: Held on the Medieval castle of Lockenhaus, this festival is dedicated to classical chamber music.
Schlossspiele Kobersdorf: Theatre productions bring life to the Medieval / Renaissance castle of Schloss Kobersdorf. The Schlossspiele begin in mid-July and last until early August.
Golser Volksfest: A fair in the traditional sense - agriculture and entertainment happily united. Held in the community of Gols in mid-August.
Burgenländische Weinwoche: A wine fair and convention with a famous highlight: The "Festival of 1000 wines" (Fest der 1000 Weine) is held in the capital of the Burgenland, Eisenstadt.
Medieval Festival Güssing: The small town of Güssing takes advantage of its Medieval fortress - a fair with jesters, knights and damsels in distress.
Sun Splash Festival: Another music festival in Wiesen, this time with a focus on Caribbean tunes. For details, once again: Please read my article on Wiesen. Held in late August.
International Haydn Days: The "Internationale Haydn Tage" commemorate Joseph Haydn, who spent (but didn′t like) a lot of time in Eisenstadt. Held in the second week of September, with concerts in the historic Haydn Hall in Schloss Esterhazy in the capital Eisenstadt.
With the end of the wine harvest, parades and harvest festivals are held everywhere in the Burgenland. Probably the merriest time of the year in this part of Austria - until…
11th of November is St. Martin′s Day and according to Austrian tradition, this is the "end of the wine year". The new wine of the running year is presented in a celebration called "Martiniloben". Comes in handy that St. Martin is the patron saint of the Burgenland. For more details on the role of "young wine" of the running year (Heuriger), read my article on the Heurige.
Many towns and villages of the Burgenland hold markets and fairs on St. Thomas′ Day (21st of December, winter solstice). Other Christmas customs are less specific for the Burgenland and covered in my article on "Traditions and Customs of Austria".
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Festivals & Events elsewhere in Austria
Ministery for Education, Culture and Science (includes folk culture)
Austrian Tourism Council for current events