Donaufestival Krems, 2008
For those who encountered the New York-based artist Scott Matthew for the first time in the movie “Shortbus” where he appears as a musician contributing to the film’s soundtrack, he could be remembered as “the sensitive looking guy with the poignant voice and the bawdy smile”. When we meet good-humoured Scott in rainy Krems, he gives us a full-bearded, endearing smile. In the tourbus on the way to the Old Town Matthew starts playing on his ukulele and raises his haunting voice to the song “Little Bird” when passing the Danube. His singing is playfully interrupted when his manager decides to drive an extra loop at the roundabout. Dizzy! Mischievously grinning Scott carries on playing. Between the intensity of Scott Matthews singing and his cordiality in conversation is a smooth transition. So he comments it with “chivalrous” when we hand him a jacket for sitting on the wet, narrow walk-up in a side street. Then Scott slides into the soulful performance of an “exclusive” song he wrote just three days before on the highway. And again – the depth of the session merges in a jovial searching for a title for this “very schicki-micki” song on our way back to the hotel in the tourbus.
Donaufestival is a festival for advanced pop music, theatre, film and performances in the Lower Austrian town Krems. The festival significantly changed its artistic orientation in 2005, when the “new” Donaufestival started with Tomas Zierhofer-Kin as artistic director. Since then it takes place annually on two or three weekends in spring, presenting and celebrating the most relevant popcultural movements. 2008’s motto is “Angst. Obsession. Beauty.”, which gives space to noisy avant-garde-pop acts like Liars, The Go-Team and Health as well as to numerous queer artists like The Hidden Cameras, Scott Matthew and Xiu Xiu. Contrary to all those common summer festivals music is only a part of the Donaufestival, as there are performances, film screenings and exclusive commissioned works shown on several locations all over Krems. Apart from the Donaufestival, Krems is rather known as a destination for tourists than for its popcultural scene. It is situated right by the river Danube and in the because of its beautiful landscape very popular Wachau region. Krems is particularly famous for its vine-yards located picturesquely on the hills ascending from the Danube (the town even has its own viniculture college) and the Old Town with its narrow cobblestone lanes. The city of Krems dates back more than 1000 years as first settlements of Germans and Slavs were documented in 995. Apart from tourism Krems is known as a place for trade fairs and industry, has a University specialising only in post-graduate-studies and is home of the biggest penal institution in Austria. With almost 30.000 inhabitants Krems is the fifth biggest town in Lower Austria, which is the province around Vienna.