Did you know that Innsbruck and New Orleans (Louisiana, USA) are sister cities? How about the fact that every year since 1998 there has been a New Orleans Festival in Innsbruck? Last week throughout Innsbruck the city of New Orleans was celebrated through events and music and vast amounts of people turned out to be a part of it. Personally, I look forward to this week every year, marking the middle of the summer with lively music and good vibes!

Jazz Festival Stage

The stage is lit, the crowd is ready, the Friday night musicians are setting the mood! Photo Credit: Edith Hamberger

We Are Family : Sister Cities

The connection between New Orleans and Innsbruck has been going on a while, a lot longer than most realize. It began 42 years ago when a professor at the University of New Orleans founded a summer school in Innsbruck, leading to an official partnership between the two universities in 1983. The cities became sister cities in 1995, and shortly after in 1998 the first New Orleans Festival took place bringing the two cities closer together through music.

While it’s not quite Mardi Gras, it’s still loads of fun in the center of town. It was previously held on the Marktplatz in Innsbruck but as of last year the New Orleans Festival has moved to the Landhausplatz for the main concert part and all around town for events leading up to the that, including a parade through the city.

Jazz Parade through town, New Orleans Festival, Innsbruck

Taking the music to the people — the kick-off jazz parade through town. Photo Credit : Emanuel Kaser

Rockin’ Through the Rain

This year the festival didn’t have much luck with the weather, it showered at least a little every day of the celebration, but that didn’t seem to affect the atmosphere or the turn out. There seemed to always be a full crowd. To see the silver lining of the crazy weather… the cool summer breeze and occasional rain at least staved off the normal blistering, sweaty heat of July!

Rainy Concert Crowd, New Orleans Festival, Innsbruck

A little rain never hurt anyone, and didn’t deter the crowds coming out to enjoy the show! Photo Credit: Edith Hamberger

Universal Language of Music

Honestly, even though it is a jazz festival, you don’t have to be a jazz fanatic to enjoy your time at this festival, I don’t particularly follow jazz and still found my toes tapping and feet moving. Some classic funky jazz songs from the last few decades, some original pieces, and all around a party! Each artist that took the stage made an effort to engage the crowd with some charming banter, call and response and some songs to sing along to. Whether the artists were coming from the US, Austria or one of the other diverse places the musicians were from, they all had the same passion for performing at heart.

Jazz Guitarist, New Orleans Festival, Innsbruck

Les Getrex – Just one of the many musicians to take the stage and show off their passion for the music. Photo credit : Emanuel Kaser

So if you happened to miss the New Orleans Festival this year, don’t fret, there is always next year!