July 7, 2009

Popular summer festivals in Western Europe; Featuring festivals in Austria, Finland and France

Salzburg Festival, Salzburg (Austria)

July 25-August 30, 2009

The Salzburg Festival
(Salzburger Festspiele) is a prominent festival of music and drama. It is held each summer (for five weeks starting in late July) within the Austrian town of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

(Leonard Turnevicius and Maija Kovalevska's production of Berliozs Benvenuto Cellini)

Founded in 1877, the festival was then discontinued in 1910 until the end of WWI when it was revived with an official performance of Hofmannsthal's play Jedermann on the steps of Cathedral Square. It then experience shut downs and revivals a few more times brought on them by such dramatic historic events as WWI and Austria’s annexation into Germany.

(During the festival, the city transforms and fills up with people from around the world)

As this summer festival gained fame and stature as the premier venue for opera, drama play, and classical concert presentation, its musical repertory concentrated on Mozart and Strauss, but other works, such as Verdi's Falstaff and Beethoven's Fidelio were also performed.

After WWII the festival gained its power back and from then on the festival was growing in size, popularity and prestige.

For tickets and hotel bookings, click here.
(Festival's fireworks over Salzburg)

For the Salzburg Festival's schedule 2009/2010, click here, where you can buy tickets online as well.

Helsinki Festival, Helsinki (Finland)

August 1-30, 2009

This is a month long festival that features “Finnish and international creative arts performances by artists’ ensembles and exhibitions of the highest level."

Helsinki Festival offers an exciting programme of music, theatre, dance, the visual arts, cinema and events across the city, featuring artists of international repute. First held in 1968 the festival now attracts more than 250,000 visitors annually.

One of the highlights is the Huvila Festival Tent, which has been a unique venue for some of the best musicians and performers from all over the world. At the end of festival on the Night of the Arts all art galleries, museums and bookshops stay open until midnight and are free to everyone.

To explore the location of the festival more, click here.
For tickets, click here.

Provinssirock Festival, Seinajoki (Finland)

This festival was in June this year, but that does not mean that I don’t want to mention it today, so that “tomorrow” (or next year), you’ll know that Finland hosts one of the largest international rock festivals in Europe.

Seinajoki, a city located in Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland, might have only a little bit over 56,000 residents, but that does not stop it from being a hostess to three large summer events: Tangomarkkinat - a tango festival attracting more than 100,000 visitors annually, Vauhtiajot - a racing event with music, and Provinssirock – one of the largest rock festivals in Finland.

For more on Provinssirock, click here.

During its existence since 1979, Provinssirock has gone through many changes and seen its share of economic ups and downs. The number of festival goers grew steadily from the first Festival until late 1980's, when the temporary drawbacks of the recession hit. When the Festival was still organised by Kemu ry, the Festival was the most successful between the years 1986 and 1988 - the two day event gained audience of 35,000 to 40,000. The Festival kept growing from the 1993 two day event (with an audience of 12,000) until an all time high in last summer 2008 three-day-event were sold out with an audience of 75,000 visitors!

Founded in 1979, Provinssirock has gone through many changes, but one thing stayed constant – the growth of its success and number of the visitors that reached 75,000 last year.

For tickets, click here.
To learn more about the Seinajoki city and its surroundings, visit the city's official site.

Festival d'Avignon, France

July 7-29, 2009

This year marks 63rd year of the Festvial d’Avignon, which makes the festival officially older than its neighbor - The Cannes Film Festival.

Founded by Jean Vilar in 1947, it grew out of the play and an art exhibition that were happening at the same time in the same town.

To learn more about the festival, click here.
For tickets, click here.

Avignon, a city in the southern France, is a sight on its own that worths a visit. I'm pretty subjective to France as I think it's one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, but you are your own travelers to visit and judge for yourself.

Visit Avignon-de-Provence to learn about its historic and cultural importance.

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