When did Mission Shakti really begin?

Grafenegg finale with Beethoven and Regen

It was already clear that there would be no normal season in Grafenegg this year before the first note was played. Those responsible had decided early on: The festival would take place, but due to the pandemic, with a strict security concept. For example, the artists were shielded in their own area in which everyone was tested. In total, tests from around 1,100 people were evaluated for the festival. In addition, the audience was separated from one another in zones and only led to the stage and back out again in stages.

In retrospect, this concept should have worked. The feared cluster did not occur in Grafenegg, only a positive CoV test made headlines after the opening evening - more on this in Grafenegg visitors with Covid-19 (noe.ORF.at; 20.8.2020).

Festival "of necessity" with "best artists"

"On the one hand I am very relieved, on the other hand very sad that it is already over," said Rudolf Buchbinder, the festival's artistic director and soloist at the final concert, opposite noe.ORF.at. “This year there were inevitably the best artists you could possibly have.” Many international artists could not come, instead classical music stars such as Anna Netrebko and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra made their Grafenegg debut.

16,600 people attended the festival's 15 concerts, two of which were canceled due to bad weather, including the opening concert. "We are always dependent on the weather - this year with the bad luck that we have no alternative," said Buchbinder. The previous alternative stage inside, the Grafenegger Auditorium, could not be used due to the new security measures.

2021 as the anniversary year

That should change again next year if possible. Then the 15th anniversary is also on the program. The artistic director compares the medium to long-term goals of the festival with a career: “It's hard to make a career, but it's even harder to stay on top. That will remain our job. ”Traveling with larger orchestras will also be a major problem in the near future.

Contracts in Grafenegg extended until 2070

A new “Advisory Board” will also take care of the longer-term strategy. “The aim is to position Grafenegg even better internationally as a music location,” said Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP). Former Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein will head the voluntary committee. "We have known each other for more than 20 years in a wide variety of functions," said Mikl-Leitner. Bierlein is very culturally affine and has many international contacts.

Jazz as a suggestion for Grafenegg

Culture has been her balance since childhood, said Bierlein in an interview with noe.ORF.at. In addition, she has often attended events in Grafenegg: "It is an unbelievable jewel." Bierlein praised Buchbinder's work in the highest tones, saying that in the new committee she did not want to "give him anything artistically, but only advise the management".

Another focus in addition to international marketing is the strategic planning of young people, who should be even more enthusiastic about Grafenegg in the future. Bierlein can imagine additional jazz concerts here that could take place in addition to the existing concert performances. She also wants to use the park more for other artistic forms in the future, such as sculptures. But all of these are rough personal ideas of Bierlein. The first consultation with the Advisory Board should take place soon.

Felix Novak, noe.ORF.at