Vienna’s good at contrasts. A city where modern art and a monument to the 1679 plague are neighbours. And in early September, the 18th-century Karlskirche church towers over a colourful mix of modern-day street performers at the Buskers Festival.
- Fun mix of music, dance, acrobatics, magic, juggling etc.
- Another good place to keep the kids engaged
- Free entry (but be generous to the performers)
- 2024 dates: Sept 6-8, 2024
- See also:
The art of street performance
(Press photo © Buskers Wien)
Many outdoor Viennese events take place in the shadow of grand historical buildings, adding an extra dimension to proceedings.
(Although to be fair, it’s a struggle to find locations in the center that aren’t in the shadow of a grand old building.)
One such event is September’s Buskers Festival. This 3-day feast of sound and colour takes place in the Karlsplatz park area in front of the imposing Karlskirche Baroque church.
The “buskers” are not lanky students playing Mull of Kintyre on beaten-up stratocasters. Nope, these street performers are masters of their trade: magicians and musicians, jugglers and acrobats, clowns and dancers…the usual and the unusual from all around the world.
The artistry on display creates a positive vibe to brighten a late summer day.
Several performances go on at any one time at various stations around the park. The crowds can get quite big, drawn in by the free, lively street entertainment (and possibly by the beer and food on sale, too).
When we went, we still found space enough to enjoy the buskers, taking in an acrobatic show by the Freaks, music from the Balkan Tango Vibes, and a magic act from Diogo Alvares of Brazil, just to give you a flavour of the festival’s scope.
All very enjoyable and deserving of a contribution to the inevitable hat that any self-respecting busker has to hand. So relax and take in the shows.
2024 dates, tickets & tips
The 2023 event was postponed fairly late in the day, unfortunately. The next event is expected across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 6th, 7th and 8th, 2024. Times last time out were 2pm to 10pm.
No ticket required, but you certainly want to drop a few coins and notes in the hats as you wander around.
Check the official website for the full programme (once it becomes available).
Expect dozens of performers across numerous genres: everything from aerial acrobatics to musical jugglers. The Buskers Festival typically also features a pop-up market that showcases the work of independent design labels and artists.
How to get to the Buskers Festival
Underneath Karlsplatz square is one of Vienna’s busiest transport hubs, so getting to the Buskers Festival should prove easy (it’s also close to the centre, if you’re on foot).
Head for any station or stop with the word Karlsplatz in it. Which means you can take the U1, U2 and U4 subway lines, trams 1, 2, 62, 71 or D, and buses 2A, 4A and 59A.
While you’re there, do a quick detour to the Otto Wagner station pavilion: a classic bit of white, green, and gold Jugendstil architecture.
Address: Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna