Austria: Vienna Danube Island Festival

The Vienna Danube Island Festival will take place for the 21st time from June 25 to 27, 2004.

The Danube Island in Vienna is an artificial island made of excavation material constructed between the natural Danube and the New Danube, a drainage channel. The construction of the New Danube was decided in the 1970s as a politically controversial flood protection measure for the city of Vienna. The newly created area comprises approx. 270 hectares of water and 390 hectares of public grassland, and with its bathing beaches quickly became a new leisure and recreation area for the population of Vienna, while at the same time taking into account ecological interests with its numerous biotopes. It was only shortly after the first kilometres of the island were opened that a Viennese politician, Harry Kopietz, had the idea of using the area for a major festival. This was the start of the first Danube Island Festival, an event that over the years has become the largest and most peaceful open-air event in the world. The last kilometres of the island were only completed in 1988.

Each year, the island attracts not only the population of Vienna, and in total over 3 million visitors came in 2003. 2000 performers, 300 music, theatre and cabaret groups entertain the visitors on around 16 stages of the 4.5 km long festival site between the North Bridge and the Reichsbrucke. Many famous national and international stars come to the island each year to receive a warm welcome from their fans. Food and drink are available in plentiful supply. 2680 metres of barriers, 21 km of electricity cable, 400 m rubber matting, fireworks and a cloud of sound and of course countless largely voluntary attendants ensure that this mega-event is a success. The Danube Island Festival has become a highlight of the European cultural year. And the best thing for all the Viennese: Admission to the event is free!

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