Austrian Ukulele Festival was my 2nd festival this year and one that I just love coming back to for several reasons. Back in 2017 the first edition was also my very first ukulele festival that I attended and it definitely sparked the ukulele craziness in me. But every year that I attended so far (I only missed 2021) was just a big party that filled me with joy for weeks. And then of course the festival is located in the beautiful city of Graz.
As you’ve probably seen in my blog about Berliner Ukulele Festival 2022, I am doing festivals a little different this year. No Instagram live report and not as many pictures and videos – just living in the moment and enjoying life. But I want to give you a little overview on what happened.
Austrian Ukulele Festival traditionally starts out on Thursday evening with a concert at Theatercafé. So far I’ve always missed it because I never could get off work – it was exciting to finally be there. Feels like I finally got the complete package. Theatercafé is a small, I wanna say vintage (but I guess old would be more accurate) but very charming venue. It is well-frequented by art and music students and art and music connoisseurs. So if you’re ever in Graz make sure to check their schedule to see what’s on – but also be aware, that the party usually doesn’t start until very late at night 😉 – you’ve been warned.
Friday open-mic, strum-along and concerts happened at Salættl. The restaurant is the latest addition to the (I wanna call it) “Kaisers empire” that is at least partly responsible for the festival. It is located in Stadtpark right in the middle of town. So I guess that’s your restaurant recommendation if you ever visit Graz. I tried to google some infos on the building itself – it’s also called “flower pavillion” but I couldn’t really find any historic on it. But the show was happening outside anyway. They built a very nice outdoor stage that also made it possible for people to just walk by and enjoy for a little while.
Saturday open-mic, strum-along and of course concert night was located at Orangerie in Stadtpark. It’s a beautiful location with an outside stage again and the possibility for the locals to just sit in the park and also enjoy the music. I am still suprised that both outdoor locations were allowed to play music until about 10 p.m. All in all the locations were very carefully selected and just worthy visiting even without the festival.
The line-up was, as always, incredible. Since there were concerts throughout the weekend some artists played more than one set – what a joy 🙂
- Kaisers Ukulelen Combo
- Marc Gallagher
- The League of Ukulele Gentlemen
- Amelia Coburn
- The Birdwatchers
The strum-alongs and open-mics were hosted by Nick Gordon – so it was clear that it was gonna be fun. They had a big monitor on stage with the song sheets – Nick was magically scrolling through them and leading, sometimes with a little help, through the songs with his usual charm. I loved that there was so much time for strumming and singing together. You could really feel that that was something everyone missed in the last two years. Thanks for making it happen.
The open-mics were an absolute pleasure this year. So many great artists (yes, I went there) and perfect organization. Sign-up was at the location, everyone got to play 2 songs + 1 encore and everyone sticked to their allotted time on stage. That made for a very entertaining and not too busy afternoon.
And yes, I also played some of my original songs – needed to try them out at with a Austrian Dialect speaking audience before I officially premiere them at UFO Festival. Thanks for the picture Alessandro 🙂
I loved how laid back the festival was (again) and how much time there was to just hang out with friends during the day, but also after the concerts at night. It was so much fun jamming, singing, talking and laughing with everyone. The perfect opportunity to recharge, rekindle and be in the moment. Thanks to everyone who was there and who made it happen.
There’s really not more to say now except – can’t wait to be there again next year.