Pflasterspektake, which stands for pavement spectacle, is a very popular annual street art festival in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. The festival includes a variety of performances, like the concerts of various kinds of music, street theatre shows, pantomime, painting, juggling, acrobatics, walking on a tense rope, fire eating, samba parades and much more. Apart from that, it also includes a special programme for the children.
Widely known as one of the most famous festivals of its kind in Europe, it is held every year for three days in July in and around the main square and the Landstrasse, near the centre of Vienna.
The festival is the brainchild of Siegbert Janko, the cultural manager of Linz, who was instrumental for the inaugural festival that took place from 16 to 18 July in 1987. Initially named as the International Street Musicians’ Days, the inaugural festival was a grand success with the active participation of around 150 musicians, mostly from Austria and the neighbouring Germany, along with a group of Samba dancers from Munich. Due to the overwhelming public response of the new festival, the decision was taken to continue it every year with the inclusion of acrobats, magicians and pantomimes as added attractions and a changed name as Linz Pflasterspektake.
The festival of 1989 took place shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the enthusiastic artists from the countries belonging to the erstwhile Eastern Block actively participated and performed in Linz. Henceforth, the organizers had to take the decision to select the artists, in order to restrict the number of participants.
Today, around 100 artists, comprising of groups and solo performers, from more than 30 countries, transform Pflasterspektake in Linz into a unique venue of international street performance art. While the kick off of the opening ceremony of the festival takes place on a Thursday at 4 pm, on the following Friday and Saturday the programmes start at 2 pm and are scheduled to be closed by midnight. However, although the two courtyards are reserved for musicians playing unplugged or a cappella, some musicians play in pubs until 1 am.
With breathtaking acrobatics and mind boggling magic shows, light entertainment by the powdered clowns on the sidewalks and performances of the mime artists on every street corner, the intoxicating live music and the creative costumes, along with the heart pounding performances by the samba dancers rule the scheduled three days of the urban culture and enchants equally the hearts of the young and the old.