41st International Jazzfestival Saalfelden

Monday, 23.08.2021

41st International Jazzfestival Saalfelden

More than 60 concerts, more than half of them with free admission, thrilled several thousand visitors.

For the first time, the festival was extended to a full week. From August 16 to 22, 2021, the 41st Int. Jazzfestival Saalfelden took place on different stages on the mountain and in the valley. Daniela Neumayer, production manager of the Jazzfestival: "With guided hikes and a bike tour to concerts on the mountains, we wanted to enable our audience to experience the beautiful surroundings of Saalfelden Leogang even more intensively throughout the week." The popular and completely sold-out "We hike Jazz" hikes on the Asitz and to the Lettlkaser hut were accompanied by Austrian musician Lukas Kranzelbinder, who has been a fixed part of the line-up for several years. The musical bike tour up the Biberg was guided by bike enthusiast & guitarist Alex Pinter. There were also concerts at the Stöcklalm, at the Berggasthof Huggenberg and at the Peter-Wiechenthaler Hütte with a beautiful view of the Saalfelden Leogang region.

With the Mainstage in the Congress Saalfelden and the ShortCuts in the Kunsthaus Nexus, the traditional stages of the festival, those stages that are especially dedicated to international formations returned this year.  Great musicians like Marc Ribot, Angelika Niescier, Avram Fefer and many more performed on the Mainstage. Christian Lillinger, Craig Taborn and Elias Stemeseder formed a new formation and played the ShortCuts. The NEXUS+ series of plays already offered free concerts starting on Monday by, among others, Sain Mus+, David Helbock, Richard Koch or Katharina Ernst and Rdeča Raketa with extraordinary works. Also a Pinzgau musician was offered a stage this year. Anna Sophia Defant, a native of Saalfelden, performed with Bernhard Hadriga from Lower Austria at the Kunsthalle in the Nexus on Sunday. 

Christian Reiner, this year's Artist in Residence, created no less than five projects at different venues. The idea behind the Artist in Residence projects is to give Austrian musicians space for their creativity. The language artist from Vienna took advantage of this opportunity and thrilled the audience. The Bookbindery Fuchs, which served as a stage for the third time in a row, became a spontaneous meeting place for improvising musicians starting on Thursday. Christian Fuchs from the Bookbindery Fuchs worked together with Artist in Residence Christian Reiner and double bass player Christian Weber on a very special project - a 16 meter long set was printed simultaneously to the music.

The already established city park with a young and attractive gastronomy concept was upgraded and covered this year. Bands like Rumba de Bodas, Buntspecht or El Flecha Negra inspired young and old. Elektro Guzzi and Erwin & Edwin made the audience in the Kunsthaus Nexus dance. A vacant industrial hall from the 1950s, the Otto-Gruberhalle in Saalfelden, served as a new venue. Extraordinary concerts brought new life to the old building. Bands like Hang em High, Vegeta or Kry provided whimsical sounds in a special ambience. Also new was the outdoor stage in the Kollingwald Saalfelden - a meeting place in the middle of the greenery. Another musical highlight was TubAffinity, an artist on roller skates who enlivened the entire town throughout the weekend.

A program with musicians from all over the world, was not possible due to the current travel restrictions. Mario Steidl, the artistic director of the Jazzfestival, commented: "In the programming, it was especially important to me that we also offer a stage to European or Austrian musicians. With the new stages, the numerous free concerts and the diverse line-up, we wanted to build a bridge to the young audience. It should therefore not only be a festival for jazz fans, but also meet a broader taste and thus also enthuse people who are not so at home in jazz.  For this reason, the stages in the Nexus and in the park were programmed stylistically with jazz and pop in equal measure. On the Mainstage, the Shortcuts and in the Gruberhalle, the program was clearly based in jazz or improvised music."

Saalfelden thus once again became a city of music in the midst of Salzburg's mountains. Regardless, the organizers took the current situation very seriously. With a Covid-19 representative, a comprehensive prevention concept was developed, which ensured the greatest possible safety for visitors, artists and staff on the event grounds. Arch. DI Wolfgang Hartl, responsible for the programming of the Jazzfestival, comments: "Covid-19 made the festival planning very difficult. We worked on a total of four festival versions. Until the summer, we didn't know which concept we could implement. But there was never any question of canceling the festival. I would like to thank the jazz fans for respecting our Covid-19 measures such as the FFP2 mask obligation in indoor areas, the „vaccinated, tested or recovered rule“ and the registration obligation, and for supporting us so energetically." 

Jazzfestival organizer Marco Pointner is also thrilled, "We achieved over 10,000 concert attendances this year despite the current Covid-19 requirements and travel restrictions. We are very satisfied. The new as well as the well-tried stages have been wonderfully received - the audience was fantastic!" 

Facts and figures on the 41st Saalfelden International Jazzfestival:
- More than 100 journalists and organizers 
- More than 10,000 concert visitors on seven playing days
- 80% capacity on the Mainstage. The ShortCuts and hikes were completely sold out.
- 63 concerts on 14 venues, more than 40 of them with free admission
- Budget: 650,000 euros 
- Total added value: approx. 2.5 million euros