Screen of the Music Film Festival at City Hall at night

Curtain up on Rathausplatz

Rathausplatz occupies a prime location the heart of Vienna. This impressive square in front of the capital’s Neo-Gothic City Hall is flanked by the greenery of the Rathauspark on two sides, with the Ringstrasse boulevard and the Burgtheater opposite. One of many events that plays out here every year, the summertime Music Film Festival is in a class of its own.

As in each of the past 26 years, more than 60 top productions will be shown on a 300-square-meter screen in July and August 2017. There is something to suit every taste: from opera, operetta and classical concerts to ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, rock and pop.

In 2017 the 27 Club will take center stage: the name of course referring to artists that died at the tender age of 27. Members include Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The 2017 event will also feature special concert screenings to mark a number of major birthdays including Kurt Cobain (50), Jimi Hendrix (75), Elton John (70), Barbra Streisand (75), Ella Fitzgerald and Dean Martin (both 100).

And then there are films of productions at major opera houses including La Scala in Milan and the Vienna State Opera, as well as performances by top orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the Wiener Symphoniker.

Besides all the music, delicacies from 26 different concession stands take concertgoers on a culinary grand tour. Convenience food is a no-no, with regional organic produce the standard bearer instead. Sun shades provide respite from the sun – and keep diners dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The daily opening hours run from 11 in the morning all the way through to midnight, and audiences represent a huge cross section: people looking to quench their thirst or have a bite to eat, locals out relaxing after work and visitors to the city taking time out from seeing the sights. The venue really comes into its own when night falls, by which time the 2,000 seats have all been claimed by music lovers. Lights, camera, action!

Even more action on Rathausplatz

A packed program of events stretches out across the whole year.

  • Jan 24-Mar 12, 2017: Covering 8,500 square meters Vienna Ice World is a romantic winter fairyland.
  • May 12, 2017: Thousands of people attend the Vienna Festival opening ceremony, which heralds the start of five weeks of contemporary stagecraft.
  • Jun 10, 2017: The Life Ball – featuring a larger-than-life outdoor opening ceremony – is Europe’s largest and most flamboyant charity event in the fight against AIDS.
  • Jun 28-Jul 10, 2017: At Vienna Jazz Festival the stage in front of the big screen sets the scene for performances by international newcomers.
  • July-August 2017: At midday on Sundays live bands take to the Music Film Festival for the always popular jazz matinees.
  • Nov 12-Dec 26, 2017: The Christmas Market and Vienna Christmas World transform Rathausplatz into a winter wonderland.

Text: Susanna Burger

City Hall Square (Rathausplatz)

Rathausplatz, 1010 Wien
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