What is the Austria World Bodypainting Festival and what does it offer?
The Austria World Bodypainting Festival is a visual celebration of the body as a canvas and art form. It is a multimedia, sensory stimulating immersion into visual culture, music, body art, crafts and workshop stations, open to visitors of all ages.
Notice: Austria World Bodypainting 2020 has been cancelled
Austria World Bodypainting Festival 2021 is from July 11th-17th
Since its launch back in 1998, it has moved several locations. Since 2017, it was relocated to the capital of Carinthia, Klagenfurt.
When Does it Happen?
The festival involves the entire city, attracting 30.000 visitors during the summer, which are added to the many tourists already enjoying the climate and the resorts at the nearby Lake Wörthersee. In 2019, it was from the 11th of July to the 13th, Thursday to Sunday.
However, there are also many side events happening on the days leading to the festival, and they will begin on Sunday the 8th.
Image by Andrey
The Bodypaint City
The main festival grounds are called the Bodypaint City. They are built inside three connecting city parks at the edge of the historical centre of Klagenfurt:
Goethepark, Schubertpark, and Achtjägerpark.
The organisers describe the Bodypaint City to be an ‘open air artspace’, where a multitude of events will continuously happen during the week, from the early morning until night time.
It will have stalls that sell the latest finds in bodypainting equipment, areas where artists will be painting on live models, music stages, chill out areas and more (food stalls! Let’s not forget the food stalls!). So no matter what your interest are, or whether you are attending for the first time or not, you will surely find something to captivate your senses!
As the body is the central figure of the festival, there will also be a Bodypainting & Beauty Tradeshow. The best producers and sellers of bodypainting colour and equipment, along with other professional exhibitors, will be on site!
Their stalls allow all bodypainters (as well as those who want to become one), to test, compare and buy products under the professional guidance of the tradeshow exhibitors. Alongside Bodypainting products, at the Lifestyle Market you can browse through the many handcrafted, creative and decorative products on display and for sale.
Image by Christian
Fusion of Body and Beats
The Zones and Stages prides itself with its fusion of the ‘body and beats’. This is where musical entertainment plays an integral part in the success of the festivals itself.
You can enjoy different styles of music (Reggae, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Electronica) from national and international bands & DJs. Previous performing artists included:
Shaggy, Inner Circle, Gentleman, Madcon, Wanda, Russkaja, Stereo MCs and Lost Frequencies, just to name a few.
If you are looking for more personal style inspiration, bear in mind that there are also Fashion Shows taking place during the main days of the festival. You can enjoy wild Runway Shows, and attend a Styling Corner or Beauty Make-up workshops!
The World Bodypainting Festival is also family friendly. So bring your children along to enjoy some of the activities of the Kids Program. Children can participate in Yoga classes, Slacklining, learn to play the Didgeridoo, and use DIY stations where they can dabble into body and face painting.
You will find this and more at the ‘Bodypainting City’, but make sure not to miss the main act: The World Championship in Bodypainting, Airbrush, Special Effects & Installation Art, presented by professional make-up brand Kryolan.
Throughout the day you have looked over talented artists’ shoulders and witnessed the transformation of the body from bare canvas into artwork. Now it’s time to see it on stage at the large award ceremony! There are also more awards for Make-up artists, Amateurs, and Photographers, presented by Make-up For Ever, Snazaroo, and Mac Pro.
If you are thinking about going to the festival for its pre-festival events from the 8th to the 11th, you can attend the WB Academy during the day. It offers educational and training programs for Bodypainting, SFX and Airbrush, including increasingly popular Make-up and Photography classes.
These classes run in small groups and are led by professional bodypainting artists. All courses have limited space, so it is recommended to book well in advance. In the evening, you can then join the festival’s artists at the Parkhaus Cafe for a relaxed get together.
Image by Christian
Apart from the ‘Bodypainting City’, the festival branches out to the rest of the city and to many public museums, which will have installations and exhibits exclusive to the festival. There is also a great event down at the lakeside.
On Tuesday the 10th, head down to Loretto Castle join the surreal Body Circus! An evening ball with music, burlesque, painted bodies and fire-breathers! The guest traditionally come in fantasy costumes, latex outfits, bodypainting and extreme masks and makeup!
How to Get Entry?
You can already book tickets to the festival, and there are several options available online. If you would like to experience the full festival, then we recommend getting the 3 Day pass at 49€. Alternatively, you can get Day Tickets from 21€. There are also several concessions available for teenagers, while children come for free!
You can also upgrade to VIP tickets, accesses to the Body Circus side event and Photo Passes (if you want to immortalise your experience and the art on a camera).
So Why Austria World Bodypainting Festival?
As you see, we weren’t exaggerating at the beginning of this article: the Austria World Bodypainting Festival is truly a unique experience, not only for the many events it offers or for its location, but also because you won’t find something like it anywhere else!
Its event schedule is diverse and plentiful. You will struggle to find a moment in which there won’t be something going on. Get a program of the festival as soon as you can and start studying to avoid missing out.
Time to make your suitcase and book the tickets, if you liked what you read, then the festival is awaiting!
Klagenfurt is a wonderful historical city nestled in high mountains. You may have already imagined snowcapped peaks and chilly winds: but don’t let its location fool you! The city has some of the warmest temperatures in Austria, and in the summer, Lake Wörthersee becomes warm enough to bathe in. Make sure you pack some swimwear to take advantage of this!
2# Pack Extra
Remember that you are going to a body painting(!) festival after all. With this in mind, pack some extra clothes to ensure you have some clean ones and one or two wind jackets if the evenings turn cold.
3# Be a Model
Who said that you can only be a visitor of the World Bodypainting Festival? You could become a model yourself and turn your own skin into an artist’s canvas and your body into a walking gallery!
Simply sign up on their website to let them know about your intentions and then they will take it from there. Just make sure you are comfortable around cameras if you want to become a model!
4# Pass for Camera
Taking pictures at the event is heavily restricted and regulated. That is why they sell special passes to photographers, either professionals or amateurs. If you are planning to take lots of pictures, get a pass to avoid disappointment!
5# Book Your Accommodation Timely
Given the popularity of the festival, many accommodations in Klagenfurt are becoming unavailable for the duration of World Bodypainting Festival. Our best suggestion is that you plan your trip carefully. Spend sufficient time scanning sites such as booking.com for the best offers or for any last minute cancellations!
What to Do?
Luckily, the World Bodypainting Festival takes place mainly in the middle of town, at the edge of the historical centre; that means that you will be at a stone throw from all the amenities that Klagenfurt has to offer.
But before you start your own adventure in the historical town, we would recommend heading towards the ‘Landhaus’ first!
Built by architect Hans Freymann over a decade during the booming years of the Renaissance, the Landhaus is a magnificent example of regional architecture from the 1500s.
In its many halls you will be able to see colourful frescos and floors, and witness the glory of the noble Carinthian families that lived there for centuries. The house museum is open Monday to Friday until 4pm at a very low fee (4€ for adults, several concessions apply), so don’t wait up if you are looking to immerse yourself in Austria’s middle ages!
Cluster of Wonders
If you are heading down to the lake, you could also stop at one of Klagenfurt most unique and unusual attractions. Just 1km away from the shore, you may notice a strange gathering of the world’s most famous buildings, sitting together on a green meadow:
the Eiffel Tower, the Sagrada Familia, Notre Dame, the Tower of London and many others. You may wonder how that is even possible, well, they are all miniaturised of course!
It is called the ‘Minimundus’, and it is a miniature park with dozens of accurate replicas of the world’s most famous landmarks (156 exactly!). Yet do not expect the models to be that small!
The scale in which everything is built is 1:25, enough for the Eiffel Tower model to be about 5 times your height. The miniature park is open from 9am to 8pm during the summer months, so don’t hesitate to check it out when it is more convenient for you.
The festival will keep you very busy at night as well! However, if you are looking to get a more relaxed experience, you could walk atop of the hill that overlooks the festival grounds and go to the Sternwarte Klagenfurt observatory.
Tours start at 6pm, but you will have to get in touch with them to let them know you are coming (it is a secret place after all!). If you want to look at some stars, you could journey to the observatory. Just remember that even the most advanced optical telescope can’t pierce the clouds, so keep your head up and be ready to cancel your plan if the sky is not clear!
Where to Stay?
Klagenfurt offers many accommodation options for every pocket, group type or interest. You will just have to get out there (and by that, I mean the internet) and find which option may best suit your needs.
Down here you will find a varied selection of accommodations which span from the fanciest to the budget option which may give you an idea of what you can find in the Austrian city (or hidden in the wonderful outskirts by the lake)!
Perhaps a Hotel?
If you’re looking for a 4 star hotel stay, consider the Seepark Hotel. Set on the banks of a lagoon, it offers romantic and idyllic view-fronts encased in a contemporary architectural style.
This hotel is only at an 8 minute walk from the Loretto Castle. Rooms are modern, yet cozy and range from standard, twin/double to family and suites.
Cost-wise, you can find convenient deals on booking.com from 84€ per night. The hotel also hosts a restaurant with a waterfront terrace, an indoor pool, a fitness room and a spa. This hotel is in high demand, so you better book your stay in advance!
Another popular stay is the AllYouNeed Hotel Klagenfurt. It is a 3 star hotel with a modernist industrial exterior architecture, yet with a contemporary and comfortable interior.
Every morning it provides a rich buffet breakfast that can be enjoyed on its panorama rooftop terrace. Its surroundings are ideal for jogging, skating, hiking and cycling, and guests can use a bicycle storage room. Though it is 3 km away from Klagenfurt’s historical centre, a short bus ride easily gets you to the centre and to the festival grounds.
If you are interested in a more intimate option, then you may look into renting private apartments or studios, such as Sandra’s Studio, which is only 500m from the city centre.
It is a welcoming 30m sq apartment, with a cozy interior design, and a capacity to host up to 4 people. This is of course just one of the many, go and research other apartment options!
Perhaps you like the nature-centred aspect of camping. In this case, Klagenfurt offers a splendid lakefront camping experience, that is just a few minutes drive from the centre and festival site.
The campsite is called Camping Wörthersee and it can easily be reached by public transport. It offers outstanding campsite amenities, which are all included in a flat fee payable per person per day.
You will be able to stay there in your tent or RV. If you are booking a stay for the time of the festival, then we advise you to include ‘WBF Discount’ in the subject of the booking email!
Where to Eat?
Klagenfurt is a wonderful international town which offers many places where to eat a good meal without having to compromise on anything.
You will mostly encounter German/Austrian menus, but you will be able to find many Italian restaurants as well. Along with them, there is also a selection of Indian, Thai, Japanese restaurants, American steakhouses and fast food chains.
From the festival grounds in the park all you have to do is head south towards the city centre to enjoy the vast selection of restaurants, cafés and bars that Klagenfurt has to give you.
But remember, if you don’t want to leave, at the festival grounds there will be many chefs that will offer street food directly from their carts, with a selection of different local and international foods, including vegan options!
If you are looking for a good place to eat Italian, then you should head down to ‘Trattoria Siciliana’. It has everything you may want from an Italian restaurant.
Yet, more importantly, you will get a taste of Sicilian hospitality from its owners, starting from their kindness down to receiving abundant portions and an exclusive selection of Sicilian desserts.
Furthermore, their menu is also vegetarian friendly! The ‘Trattoria Siciliana’ is located on the other side of the historical city centre. Worry not though, as it will not take long to get there, and it may give you a good excuse to get away from the crowds that will choose to dine closer to the festival.
Gasthaus im Landhaushof with vegan options
You can also stay for lunch after your visit at the Landhaus. The ‘Gasthaus im Landhaushof’ restaurant is in the same building, and is one of the most famous restaurants in town! It offers an amazing choice of local dishes, which you can enjoy while sitting at a table in the main square.
The Gasthaus also offers good vegan alternatives. Make sure you book a table ahead of time, as this is one of the most popular dining locations in town, and it is bound to be full during the days of the World Bodypainting Festival.
How to Get There?
Even if it is nestled in a mountainous area, it is easy to get to Klagenfurt. If you want to travel by plane, you can land directly at the Klagenfurt Airport, a small international airport, which is only 2.8 km (1.7 mi) away from the city centre.
The airport terminal is within walking distance (750 m) of the Klagenfurt-Annabichl train station. There are train links every half hour to Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof, the central station, via an Intercity or Eurocity service.
It is worth noting that Klagenfurt main station is just a few minutes from the festival venue. Alternatively, you could rent a car at the airport and follow the Klagenfurt Flughafen (airport) exit on the A2. You could also just as easily hop on a bus: the stop is directly opposite the arrivals hall.
If you are travelling by car, know that the city is intersected by the A2 Autobahn (motorway). It runs from Vienna, passes through Graz, then Klagenfurt, and it goes to Italy, so it is very useful for anyone travelling from Austria or Southern Europe.
There is free parking available in the city, but also outside of the city ring at very short distances from the festival. All you have to do is follow the parking signs.
Another free parking option is at the A2 Autobahn connection. There is a free shuttle service to the festival grounds that runs every 15 minutes.
Individual fees apply to underground parking, which can be found in many areas surrounding the festival venue. Furthermore, the festival grounds also provide parking at a flat fee of € 5 per day.
By Bus and Train
The city is well connected by bus and train services, as well as night time trains. The central station, Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof, is located south of the city centre and delivers great Intercity and Eurocity services.
Public transport services are easily accessible, and provide links within the city and to other major Austrian or European cities.
With the STW City Buses you can navigate the city and the festival locations easily. As previously mentioned, the main terminal is just a few minutes away from the festival grounds and provides quick connections from the city centre to the Lakeside and the camping sites.
The festival was launched back in 1998, when Alex Barendregt, a local tourist manager, organised the first edition in Seeboden in order to promote local tourism. At the time, it was meant to be a small event, but it was the first of its kind! Its uniqueness resounded in the world of body artists. In 2001, Barendregt also started the World Body Painting Association which is responsible for the festival in Austria as well as another in Lisse in the Netherlands.
Only a few years later, in 2004, the festival started to attract people and artists from all over the world, and it was renamed “World Bodypainting Festival”, as it is called still today.
Because of its growth and popularity, the festival was moved on Lake Wörthersee, in Pörtschach. Finally, only last year, in 2017, the festival was moved to Klagenfurt, the capital city of Carinthia and it now attracts more than 30000 spectators from 50 different nations!