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ELEVATE 2019 – Review of the 15th Edition
For 5 days around 10,000 visitors discussed, danced and celebrated and transformed the city of Graz again into a hotspot for young, contemporary festival culture from 27 February to 3 March 2019. Through the unique combination of critical-political discourse with a great variety of musical genres and its own art programme, Elevate once again created a space for the exchange and getting to know new and innovative contents. The festival brought together human rights experts, climate researchers and activists from all over the world with musicians and artists from other genres, thus enabling an exciting, cross-genre and practical dialogue on this year's programmatic motto "Truth".
"From our point of view, the increased visibility of the festival in public space and the very international and cross-generational audience response were particularly gratifying".
Bernhard Steirer, CEO Elevate Festival
The musical spectrum was characterized by soft, loud, unheard-of and never-before-heard tones and offered a successful diversity from different genres - the music program of the Elevate Festival 2019 was as varied as never before. Live concerts, audiovisual experiments, commissioned compositions and all kinds of electronic beats were the basic components on more than eight stages in and around Graz's Schlossberg; spaces for encounters between e- and underground music, disco and reflection, avant-garde and ecstasy were created.
Highlights were the sold-out concert highlights of Sunn O)) and DAF in the Orpheum, but also the club music program in the locations in the mountain enjoyed almost complete capacity utilization.
"The Discourse Programme 2019 was able to increase its number of visitors despite the expanded festival programme with parallel programming. Almost 3,000 people attended the events of one of the most substantial Elevate editions. - And the truth is still out there."
Daniel Erlacher, Head of Discourse & Activism Team
One focus of the discourse programme was on activists who are committed to important socio-political issues in the spotlight of the public. The guest star of this year's festival was Pamela Anderson, an actress and model who has long been active as an animal rights activist. Other international guests at the festival were Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, environmentalist and poet, winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize "Right Livelihood Award", and Srecko Horvat, Croatian philosopher and democracy activist at DiEM25.
The individual programme days with more than 30 individual events in the Forum Stadtpark and the Kunsthaus Graz were thematically broad in the various formats of discussion round, talk, workshop and documentary film. The festival's theme of truth was debated in the spectrum of media, journalism, technology and art, facts about right-wing extremism and terrorism were questioned, and topics such as migration and the climate crisis were also discussed.
In 2019, the art section of the Elevate Festival featured the "Creative Europe Culture" project Re-Imagine Europe as well as a newly strengthened partnership with the Institute for Art in Public Space at the Universalmuseum Joanneum. For the 15th anniversary edition, two interdisciplinary art productions in public space could be realized: "Liquid Truth" by the Berlin interaction studio schnellebuntebilder in collaboration with the design duo Knoth & Renner and Elevate Arts curator Berit Gilma, and the multi-day art action "playy.club" by the interdisciplinary art collective kleft. In addition, there was a festival residency of its own, designed by British artist Jeremy Carne, which could be seen in the Schlossbergstollen for the duration of the festival.
Re-Imagine Europe, a European-wide art production and presentation project, brings together European art with science and political discourse in various European locations until 2021. Thanks to Elevate, Graz is one of the hotspots of this project.
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>> Elevate Festival 2019 Survey (external Link)
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