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Headliner Dr. Rubinstein

Headliner Dr. Rubinstein

Important stages will be open-air and free of charge this year, the Orpheum, the studio stage of the Graz Opera House and the Postgarage will be featured as new festival venues with musical programme and installations.The official presale for all ticket categories of the festival will start on 1 July 2021.

Elevate goes Open-Air

This year, important programme items of the festival will take place open-air and with free admission. On Friday, 6 August, the Lendplatz in Graz will be the venue for the current protagonists of the local pop and indie scene. The first band is Land of Ooo, the indie rock trio from Graz that combines melodious lo-fi guitars with an easy-going rhythm section and impressive falsetto vocals. Behind Monsterheart is songwriter, producer and visual artist Anna Attar. Attar calls her music “Graveyard Pop”, although her music has nothing to do with graveyards, but is uplifting in a twisted way, with melodies that stick in your memory. The post-rock band CULK, formed around singer Sophie Löw, is more sombre.

Löw’s voice sounds like a mixture of Nico and Lydia Lunch. She forms the backbone for velvety, beguiling songs that are simultaneously self-confident and unruly and go as a declaration of war against the patriarchy. Last year’s FM4 Award-winning dream-pop duo Anger closes the stage, fusing intimate lyrics with sweet melodies and hazy bedroom vibes, and happily taking their cue from contempo-rary downtempo club sounds to do so.

On Saturday, 7 August, the open-air stage in the Volksgarten will provide club atmosphere. Local and international DJs and live acts will come together here from afternoon to evening. One of the headliners is Dr. Rubinstein, who fuses acid and 90s rave in her adventurous sets. Rubinstein is considered a high-flyer on the Berlin club scene and is known for her bubbly, energetic performances. Azu Tiwaline’s tribal sounds are strongly inspired by the musician’s origins in the Sahara region and the El Djerid region in southern Tunisia. Tiwaline wants to bring the sound of the desert into her live sets. To do so, she brings together elements from Saharan and Berber trance music with contemporary dub sound and mystical soundscapes. Afterwards, the operators of the Viennese label Neubau, Djs and producers Heap and Bocksrucker will play. You will hear obscurities from all over the world combined with cosmic krautrock, wave and dark grooves.

Mouse on Mars at the Orpheum

After the programme in the Volksgarten, it’s straight on to the Orpheum for a live set by Asfast. The Graz-born musician is considered one of the country’s up-and-coming electronic acts. Mysterious narrative qualities and cinematic sound design meet the harsh energies of metal and the spherical qualities of dark ambient. Similarly cathartic, albeit in a very different way, is the sound of Jessica Ekomane. The Berlin-based musician is interested in psychoacoustic phenomena and plays with our perception in the process. Her quadraphonic performances create impressive situations in which sound begins to act as a transformative element on space and audience. Finally, Mouse on Mars, one of the greats of the German electronic scene, enters the stage of the Orpheum. The duo of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma, which has now existed for 25 years, premieres its new album “AAI” at the Elevate Festival. Interested in the latest technologies, the duo explores artificial intelligence on it as both a narrative framework and compositional tool, creating their most explicit science fiction work to date. The result is a detailed album, nimble and whimsical and infused with polyrhythmic grooves.

Late-Night Club Music at Postgarage

And there is also a programme in Postgarage! On Saturday night, Nene H, who comes from Istanbul and lives in Berlin, will heat up the dance floor. Nene is considered one of the most popular DJs of the European techno underground. Her non-conformist attitude is reflected in her brute techno sets. Unbending and wild, she presents herself as a DJ while taking adventurous risks as a musician in bold, analogue live sets. On her debut album, which will be released in July, she combines musical elements from the Middle East with a western-influenced club sound, reflecting on her German-Turkish identity.

Elevate Arts - Multisensory installations in the festival’s art programme

Who doesn’t know him, the visionary musician, artist, producer and activist Brian Eno? Eno has not only inspired generations of music makers, he is also considered the founder of ambient music. In the early 1970s, he achieved international fame as a founding member of the British band Roxy Music, produced albums with Talking Heads, Devo, U2, Laurie Anderson and Coldplay, and collaborated with colleagues such as David Bowie, David Byrne and Grace Jones. In addition to his unique musical career, Eno is also known for his visual experiments with light and video. One example is the immersive installation 77 Million Paintings. The visual music composed for it, is conceived as a constantly evolving soundscape and visual landscape, unique at every moment. For the Elevate Festival 2021, a specific, space-filling 3D sound adaptation of 77 Million Paintings has been devised, incorporating the Dom im Berg’s Ambisonic sound system installed in 2019, which will be on view from 5 - 28 August.

The large-scale project around Brian Eno also includes the continuation of the Music for Elevators series started in 2020 around the Finnish artist Jimi Tenor. From the start of the festival, the two cabins of the Schlossberg lift will be played all year round with pieces composed by Brian Eno especially for this occasion, even after the festival.

A commissioned work by the Italian musician and media artist Lorem will be shown on the studio stage of the Graz Opera. Entitled Distrust Everything, it is an AV installation generated by artificial intelligence systems and 3D photo-grammetry that transports visitors into an eerie synthetic dream with photo-realistic landscapes.

Sudden scene changes synchronised with sound events create a sensual disorientation and a sense of dreamlike displacement.

Neoclassical concert highlights in Graz Cathedral

Thursday evening promises atmospheric concerts in Graz Cathedral, which will be the venue of the Elevate Festival for the first time. Lukas Lauermann, one of the busiest cellists, will make the church resound. Lauermann has not only collaborated with the greats of the local pop world, he also impresses as a solo musician. His sensitive, elegiac pieces show the versatility of the cellist, who also likes to experiment with extended playing techniques and electronics. Maria W. Horn and Mats Erlandsson also combine acoustic instruments and electronics. In a performance conceived especially for the Elevate Festival, the two Swedish musicians present hypnotic pieces for four-hand organ and electronics. They will use an amplified, electronically prepared organ - a hybrid instrument that succeeds in creating spectral timbres. The headliner of the evening also comes from Sweden. The musician, singer and composer Anna von Hausswolff is not only known for her expressive songs, she has also been working intensively with organ music for many years. In her haunting, emotional and stubborn pieces, Hausswolff explores the instrument’s potential for new forms of expression and its wide acoustic spectrum.

Overview of the acts confirmed so far:

Anger (IT) Anna von Hausswolff (SE) Asfast (AT) Azu Tiwaline (TN) Brian Eno (UK) Culk (AT) Dr. Rubinstein (IL) Heap & Bocksrucker (AT) Jessica Ekomane (FR) Land of Ooo (AT) Lorem (IT) Lukas Lauermann (AT) Maria W. Horn (SE) Mats Erlandsson (SE) Monsterheart (AT) Mouse on Mars (DE) Nene H (TR)


Discourse programme: Festival Theme Momentum

The Discourse programme of the Elevate Festival 2021, entitled Momentum, will address, among other things, the manifold implications of the pandemic on people, society, media and technology. For the first time, the programme will take place at Next Liberty Graz and will offer multi- layered content through cooperation with EU projects such as Sphera, We Are Europe and Re-Imagine Europe.

Star guest Brian Eno will participate in a live conversation via video stream. German philosopher Ariadne von Schirach will speak again at the festival after her 2020 talk. The lawyer and activist Renata Àvila from Guatemala will also take part in the discussion, as will the Russian net activist and sociologist Xenia Ermoshina. Other confirmed speakers include: Journalist and author Cinzia Sciuto, university lecturer Maryam Laura Moazedi, director and activist Paul Poet and journalist and festival curator Thomas Edlinger.


The full programme of the festival will be presented at the beginning of July.

The festival pre-sale starts on 1 July.

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