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Art & Culture

Promenade Concerts: The Joys of Music in Mirabell Gardens

Music is in the air! From May 1 to August 31, visitors get to explore Mirabell Gardens accompanied by upbeat music. Thanks to our popular Promenade Concerts, these historic grounds are not only filled with the fragrance of flowers, but also lively toe-tapping melodies performed by local wind ensembles.

“Did you notice that? Is there a concert somewhere? I definitely hear music!” We are strolling through idyllic Mirabell Gardens. It’s Sunday morning, shortly after 10:30. We have just finished treating ourselves to breakfast at one of the charming cafés on Franz-Josef-Strasse, indulging in the luxury of having all the time in the world, or so it seems. Above our heads, a dark-blue sky, the entire Andräviertel section of Salzburg dozing like a contented cat in the spring sunshine. We’re in the mood to savor this atmosphere for a little longer. So, we pick up an ice cream at the corner and saunter in the direction of Mirabell Gardens. And that’s where we’re standing now, pondering where the music could possibly be coming from.

Lively melodies and a unique setting

We hear flutes and trumpets – and wasn’t that a trombone? With our curiosity sparked, we continue on our way, ambling past the Pegasus Fountain. Finally, we discover the reason for those elusive sounds echoing amid these splendid grounds: Beneath a leafy canopy of trees, a group of musicians has gathered – the Salzburg AG StadtBus band, as we learn later. Men and women in beautiful uniforms strike up a traditional melody directly across from the magnificent Four Elements Fountain. We pause in the shade cast by the trees and notice that a cluster of listeners has formed around the musicians. Over in one corner, an elderly couple even ventures a short dance. The whole scene is quite beautiful. A concert in an ambience that would do justice to an international concert hall – moreover: an ambience virtually impossible to replicate in a traditional concert hall

“Promenade Concerts” with a long tradition

Mirabell Gardens actually hosted similar musical events back in the 19th century. In those days, as an advertisement from the July 6, 1876 edition of the Salzburger Volksblatt tells us, they were already known as the “Promenade Concerts”. Today, Salzburg City’s cultural department organizes around 40 events every year in cooperation with an association of local wind ensembles, an association made up of 14 member bands and 630 active musicians. Through their public performances, they make a valuable contribution to the cultural scene here in the city of Salzburg.

Every summer with free admission

Since the 1970s, these Promenade Concerts have again been taking place every Sunday and public holiday from May 1 to August 31. Between 10:30 and 11:30 AM, local wind musicians tease us with a glimpse into their broad repertoire. Never charging admission, visitors can listen to the different bands and even show off a few of their snazziest dance moves in time to the sprightly rhythms. Or, if they prefer, simply make themselves comfortable on one of the benches in Mirabell Gardens and soak up the atmosphere.

Music is in the air

Suddenly, the band belts out a fanfare and a little girl next to us claps her hands with excitement. As we lean against a tree enjoying the music, we also catch sight of several locals sporting dirndls and lederhosen. On our other side, we hear Italian visitors chatting and notice how they tap their toes to the rhythm of the music. That’s perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this event: seeing how music brings different cultures together and touches people to the core. All of this, against the glorious backdrop of Mirabell Gardens in full bloom. On a Sunday, with sunshine and mild temperatures – and us, ice cream cones clutched in our hands. What more could you possibly wish for?

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