Festival for Contemporary Circus in Salzburg, Austria

The Winterfest  is the biggest festival for contemporary circus art in the German-speaking area. Since 2001 it takes place at Salzburg Volksgarten during Advent season.

For over 100 years, Volksgarten was a place of fun and encounter. It was the vision of Winterfest founder Georg Daxner to revitalize this place with Winterfest. Since then, every year internationally renowned circus companies are invited to present their latest productions there.

The philosophy behind Winterfest is simple: To give people in the hectic time around Christmas some peace and leisure for an evening among friends. To let them listen to magical stories together, marvel at breathtaking acrobatics and laugh at bizarre circus.

Every year Winterfest brings an extraordinary world to the Salzburg Volksgarten. A world full of captivating acrobatics, quiet poetry and bizarre humor.



Georg Daxner, founder of Winterfest

20 years ago, a snowed-up car was the only thing to be seen in Salzburg’s Volksgarten. A lonely cyclist there gave Georg Daxner the idea to revive this place with art and pleasure. Winterfest is the vision made real of an extraordinary man who never gave up dreaming.

He had his first encounter with Cirque Nouveau at the Danube Festival in Krems with Que-Cir-Que. He was so moved that he simply had to take contemporary circus to Salzburg – at his own financial risk, with all the consequences that entailed.  Since then, the festival has become an integral part of Salzburg’s cultural scene.

On October 11, 2014, he had a fatal accident during a mountain tour on Salzburg’s Untersberg. Georg Daxner took on many roles in his life, but one constant in his work always represented the following principle: To make art possible – combined with the courage to fail.

“Art is only legitimate if it touches in the long term, if it makes happy, sad or dismayed. For art is what remains.”

It is our „green vision“ to organize Winterfest according to the principles of environmental compatibility and sustainability. With our activities we want to contribute to a world where people deal responsibly with our ecosystem and our natural and human resources. We intend to undertake measures that contribute to the protection of our environment and climate.

Since 2017, we heat the tents of the Winterfest by district heating, supported by the Land Salzburg and the Salzburg AG and in accordance with the climate and energy strategy Salzburg 2050. Therefore, we are able to reduce local air pollutant emissions and several tons of CO2.

In our planning phase, we already integrate multiple measures to preserve the environment and shape the Winterfest as a green event.

Our measures:

  • Promotion of a climate-friendly mobility
  • Seasonal, regional and organic food
  • Use of reusable tableware, glasses and cups
  • Purchase of beverages in deposit bottles
  • Use of big bags instead of single portion bags
  • Ecologically worthwhile waste separation and collection
  • Avoidance of single use decoration and single use giveaways
  • Economical use of resources and renewable energies
  • Accessibility



Winter<em>fest</em> 2001

Winterfest 2001

Le Cirque Invisible

Winter<em>fest</em>  2002

Winterfest 2002

Le Cirque Invisible, The Tiger Lillies und Salzburg Comedian Harmonists

Winter<em>fest</em>  2003

Winterfest 2003

Das Lächeln am Fuße der Leiter

Winter<em>fest</em>  2004

Winterfest 2004

Cirque Lili, Le Jardin

Winter<em>fest</em>  2005

Winterfest 2005

Le Cirque Désaccordé, Le Jardin & Der kleine Prinz

Winter<em>fest</em>  2006

Winterfest 2006

Compagnie Zanzibar, Cirque Ici

Winter<em>fest</em>  2007

Winterfest 2007

La Famiglia Dimitri

Winter<em>fest</em>  2008

Winterfest 2008

Cirque XY, Cirque Rasposo

Winter<em>fest</em>  2009

Winterfest 2009

Compagnie Hors Pistes, Cirque Trottola & SAWAZI

Winter<em>fest</em> 2010

Winterfest 2010

The Tiger Lillies Freakshow, National Circus School Montreal, Cie Akoreacro, Cirque Aïtal, Escarlata Circus

Winter<em>fest</em> 2011

Winterfest 2011

The 7 Fingers, Cirque Rasposo, L’Atelier Lefeuvre & André, Le Boustrophédon

Winter<em>fest</em> 2012

Winterfest 2012

Cie Le Cubitus du Manchot, Cirque inextrémiste, Théâtre d‘un jour, Cie Circ’ombelico

Winter<em>fest</em> 2013

Winterfest 2013

The 7 Fingers, David Dimitri, Forman Brothers

Winter<em>fest</em> 2014

Winterfest 2014

Cie Akoreacro, Cirque Trottola & Petit Théâtre Baraque, ymedioteatro, Cirque Aïtal

Winter<em>fest</em> 2015

Winterfest 2015

Cirque Le Roux, Magmanus, Les Rois Vagabonds, Bêtes de Foire, MOTA & Spiegelzelt

Winter<em>fest</em> 2016

Winterfest 2016

Cirque Alfonse, Gravity & Other Myths, Cie Sacékripa, Young Artists, MOTA

Winter<em>fest</em> 2017

Winterfest 2017

Flip FabriQue, Cie XY, Claudio Stellato, Compagnia Baccalà, in_tensegrity, Ralph Öllinger, Ariane & Roxana, MOTA

Winter<em>fest</em> 2018

Winterfest 2018

Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger, Circa Tsuica, Post Uit Hessdalen, Machine de Cirque, Stefan Sing, Sebastian Berger, Arne Mannott, Elina Lautamäki

Winter<em>fest</em> 2019

Winterfest 2019

Cirque Alfonse, Cie Akoreacro, Thom Monckton, Circa, still hungry, Maja Karolina Franke & Ralph Öllinger, Darragh McLoughlin, Paul-Emmanuel Chevalley

Winter<em>fest</em> 2021

Winterfest 2021

Gravity & Other Myths, Wakouwa Teatro, Cirque Barcode, Circoncentrique, Jos Houben, Freiluft-Circus