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Festival of Regions 2023

High Time

The next Festival of Regions will take place from 23 June to 2 July 2023 in the region along the Summerauerbahn. Under the motto HIGH TIME the focus of the artistic works will be on questions regarding our future. Ranging from the climate catastrophe to societal togetherness. The train line Summerauerbahn will function as a geographical and topical starting point for the coming Festival of Regions.

The Train has not yet Left the Station
But it is high time to reset the course. And high time for a change. High time to talk to each other more. To come together again. To work on the future. To break down barriers. To become more open to the contradictions and discrepancies and unconventional ways of going about things. It is high time to allow for something else.

The Track as a Metaphor
For the festival edition in 2023, the train tracks – as a representative for the region – take the place of a metaphor for the great number of challenges we face. Starting from public and individual transport all the way to how we deal with resources and the borders in our minds. A metaphor for the journey, the way we design and form the landscape and our society. For the overcoming of distances. For places of encounter and of dialogue between regions, cultures, and generations. For setting out and leaving the old behind. For staying and continuing. For crossovers. For slowing down. For stopping and moving on. For something that belongs to us all. And affects us all. For a collective resource.

The Region along the Summerauerbahn
The festival 2023 will take place in the region along the Summerauerbahn. From the city of Linz, through the Mühlviertel over the border into the Czech Republic in the direction of České Budějovice and even further … a meandering path as a connecting element between the city and the countryside.

A View from the Train Window
If you take a look out the train window you will see a landscape that is ever changing from station to station. From the central train station in Linz to the first stop in the Franckviertel, packed in between the industrial harbour, the main road, and the area of the voestalpine. An unembellished stop for commuters. Over the old bridge across the Danube onward to Steyregg and Pulgarn. The suburbs of Linz. Passing St. Georgen a.d. Gusen you go left and right through the increasingly dense residential and commercial areas. A conurbation led on by the extension of the highway, express roads and main roads, sprawls in every direction. A countermovement to the rural exodus has existed for a long time already. Traffic jams all along the roads. There would be enough room in the Summerauerbahn! After St. Georgen comes the narrow Gusental until you reach Lungitz. Undeveloped nature. And then the next levels, meadows and fields, until you arrive in Katsdorf, Wartberg and Schloss-Haus – with train stations and stops either on the margins or far away from the centres of these places. From Pregarten, over Kefermarkt along the river Feldaist to Lasberg. After around one hour of the journey: The train station in Freistadt, forty five minutes away from the city if you travel on foot. It is rumoured that the operators of the horse and carriages in Freistadt prevented a closer connection one hundred and fifty years ago. Finally you then reach Summerau and the view over the border to Horní Dvořiště in the Czech Republic.

A Region with a Special Cultural Concentration
The Mühlviertel and the region along the Summerauerbahn in particular is a place with a great number of cultural initiatives. Some of them have over thirty years of history (Local-Bühne Freistadt, Heimatfilmfestival Freistadt). These are collectives that have put a lot of work into the building of structures, places, networks, and an audience. But there are also a number of tender and promising flowers within the cultural landscape that are still developing. This special cultural concentration is the Humus for a festival that once more intends to focus on regional participation and sees itself as an impulse for more to come. Or to put it in the words of the founding generation of the festival from thirty years ago: A festival that is not a “show of achievements of what is”, but rather an occasion to break the familiar mould and create something new.

Participation from the Czech Republic
The Summerauerbahn has connected Upper Austria and the Czech Republic for one hundred and fifty years. As a section of the international train service from Linz over České Budějovice to Praha, it represents not only transport, but is also a symbol for an exchange of ideas across borders.