18.08. – 20.08. 2022

Culture as a catalyst for regional development: The ROSTFEST Eisenerz breaks down stereotypical thought patterns in a crisis region.

For a long time, Eisenerz was considered one of the most rapidly declining municipalities in Austria. The economic structural change has been affecting the mining town for a long time. The number of inhabitants has fallen from 13,000 to 4,200 in the past decades. Young people in particular have turned their backs on Eisenerz and looked for their future elsewhere. Against this background, the sociologist Rainer Rosegger, together with the architect Werner Nussmüller, started the project re-design Eisenerz, which initially dealt with the ever-increasing problem of vacancies in the place.

In order to give Eisenerz a new impetus, both externally and internally, a participatory strategy was developed that relied primarily on culture as a catalyst for the regional development process. This cultural concept was consolidated in the founding of what the initiators call a post-industrial festival.

In 2012, the ROSTFEST was launched in cooperation with the cultural association “eisenerZ*ART”. Right from the start, the concept of the festival was based on a very broad combination of art, music, sport, discourse and also action, in which great care was taken to ensure that there were offers for all generations and a wide variety of cultural milieus.

Thanks to the good connections of the initiators of the festival, especially to the free culture and music scene in Graz, a lively exchange between the region and urban subcultural environments was ensured from the start. Vacancies in Eisenerz were also made accessible to festival visitors for “urban camping” uses. The focus is always on the participatory character of the project. “Culture is a good catalyst for participation”, says Rosegger. “If the people are working together on the festival site with local carpenters and craftsmen, then stereotypical prejudices are dismantled.” Rosegger is convinced: Since the Festival was founded in 2012, the ROSTFEST has contributed a lot to the fact that Eisenerz is now perceived both locally and nationally in a more positive light.

Since the corona pandemic still makes it necessary for major events to provide appropriate security concepts, this year’s edition of the festival will again take place in an festival area in the Münichtal close to Eisenerz. However, the program-team around Patricia Wess and Uwe Gallaun intend to use the city center of Eisenerz again in next years Festival edition.

The festival-programm comprises film and video art programs, “rust-workshops” for children, etc. The music lineup this year ranges from “Attwenger” to the eccentric noise rock trio Bulbul.

At festivalstart, the “eisenerZ*ART” art association is opening an exhibition curated by Alexandra Riewe about the architect and resistance fighter Herbert Eichholzer, who is considered one of the pioneers of modern architecture in Austria.

18.08. – 20.08 2022