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5 Top music festivals in Austria to attend in 2024

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An open shot of a music venue in Austria during its summer music festivals
The Grafenegg Festival is a major international classical music festival in Grafenegg, close to Vienna, Austria | Photo: Lisa Edi

Music festivals in Europe have a rich and storied history dating back centuries, with roots in ancient celebrations and religious rituals. And when it comes to Austria, festivals featuring a variety of music genres attracts people from all over the world during summer months.

Although many people are more familiar with  the Salzburg Festival, renowned worldwide for its celebration of classical music and opera against the backdrop of Salzburg’s stunning architecture and natural beauty, Austria’s festival scene goes way beyond it, including jazz, electronic music and several other concerts taking place indoors and outdoors from June to September. Here is a selection of five music festivals in Austria to attend in 2024.

Innsbruck Festival of Early Music

When: 21 July to 30 August 2024.

Featuring opera productions and music concerts in historical venues, the 48th Innsbruck Festival of Early Music will take place in Austria in July and August. The event, set in Innsbruck, is one of the most renowned festivals of Baroque music in Europe and have been a magnet for visitors from all over the world since 1976.

A varied program accompanies the festival. Backstage events provide a glimpse behind the scenes, at the lunchtime concerts in the Hofgarten you can eat, drink and listen to the sounds at free admission. Festive lift music meets the squares of the city, as in the days of the Tyrolean archdukes. And the heyday of the Renaissance is resurrected during the castle feast at the Ambras Castle.

Salzburg Festival

When: 21 July to 31 August 2024.

Every summer since 1920 the Salzburg Festival is a highlight in the Baroque city of Salzburg. Some of the greatest artists of classical music appear on the stage of the event, which features opera, concerts and drama.

Visitors can also experience contemporary theatre on Hallein’s Perner Island, in the middle of River Salzach.

To attract an young audience, every year the Salzburg Festival offers tickets with discount of up to 90% for to teenagers and young adults under the age of 27.

Castle Grafenegg Music Festival 

When: 16 August to 9 September

Every year in August, audiences flock to hear classical performances amid the beautiful setting of a centuries-old castle and adjacent park.

Seven centuries of history can be seen in the architecture of Grafenegg Castle. Extended in the 19th century, it has become Austria’s most important example of historicism and in Grafenegg it is possible to find stylistic traces from Gothic through Baroque and Biedermeier to elegant Neo-gothic.

Ars Electronica Festival

When: September 4 – 8, 2024

Since 1979, the Ars Electronica Festival has flourished throughout Linz, taking its avant-garde programming from one exciting location to the next. Instead of restricting itself to traditional art spaces or dreary conference rooms, the festival engages directly with the city it calls home. The diverse venues have included Linz Harbor, a network of subterranean tunnels, a monastery, a tobacco processing plant and a former Austrian Postal Service logistics facility.

Over 1,000 artists and scientists from over 40 countries join the event every year.

Jazz Festival in Saalfelden

When: August 22 – 25

The Jazz Festival in Saalfelden began in 1979 in a horse barn and has long since established its main stage at the Congress Saalfelden. Concerts are also held in the Kunsthaus Nexus and free performances take place in front of the Town Hall. All in all, the festival features four days of jazz in the middle of SalzburgLand’s spectacular Alpine scenery.

In 2024 the 44th edition of the Jazzfestival Saalfelden will take place from August 22-25, where international artists will be playing on new and already established stages in and around Saalfelden.

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Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep

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Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer

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Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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