Pflasterspektakel is a German word, which stands for,” pavement spectacle”. It is an annual street art festival in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. In this particular case, street art does not actually refer to graffiti-style paintings, instead it includes a variety of performances, like street theatre shows, concerts of various kinds of music, dance, circus performances, stilt walking, walking on tense rope, fire eating, clowns, juggling, acrobats, pantomime, paintings, samba parades, and a special programme for the children. The festival is widely known as one of the most famous festivals of its kind in Europe.
The origin of the festival is dated back to 1985, when it was started by Siegbert Janko, the cultural manager of Linz. Initially, it was known as Internationale Straßenmusicantentage, which means, International Street Musicians’ Days. After the successful completion of the event in the first year, it was decided that the festival will be continued every year with a changed name as Linz Pflasterspektake. It was also decided that, apart from the musicians and samba dancers, other events like acrobats, magicians and mimes will also be included to it.
Tagged as world’s leading festival of the street art with participants from more than 30 countries, this street party event is held for three days during the second half of July. It is held in and around the main square and the Landstrasse, which is very near to the main square. Two courtyards are reserved for musicians playing unplugged or a cappella. In case of rain, the event moves to the old city hall and other indoor locations. The Pflasterspektakel kicks off with an opening ceremony on a Thursday at 4 p.m. The following Friday and Saturday, witnesses the festival starting at 2 p.m. and continued till midnight each day. However, some musicians play in pubs until 1 a.m. Improvisation of a finale, or several finals, on Saturday evening on the main square is another important feature of this street party festival.
Shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, artists from Eastern Block Countries started to perform in Linz. From the said year onwards, organizers had to select artists because there were more applications than could be accommodated. Today, around 100 artist groups and solo performers from more than 30 countries transform Linz into a unique venue of international street performance art.