Salzburg Festival needs more state aid to survive

VIENNA: The Salzburg Festival, one of the world's top classical music events, needs "millions" more in state aid to survive, its president said in an interview published Thursday.

"I cannot stay silent any longer ... We need substantially more funding," Helga Rabl-Stadler told the Salzburger Nachrichten daily, saying the classical music, opera and drama extravaganza needs "millions" of euros (dollars).

"What is at stake here is the existence of the Salzburg Festival," she said.

The festival in Mozart's native city made a loss of 1.6 million euros ($2.2 million) in 2013, despite selling a record 286,000 tickets and attracting more sponsorship money than ever before, the newspaper said.

It is expected to break even this year, but but this is based on expectations for sponsorship income and money from patrons that are likely unrealistic, the paper said. In 2015, it is forecast to lose 3.0 million euros.

Since 1998, the amount Austria provides the festival has remained static at 13.5 million euros, and has not risen with inflation.

Rabl-Stadler said that the festival budget was being cut from 65 million euros in 2013 to "well below" 60 million euros, meaning that there would be fewer new productions, which she said made "neither economic nor artistic sense".

The festival was founded in 1920. In 2014 it will run from July 18 to August 31.





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