About Salam Music & Arts Festival

Salam Music & Arts Festival is a music, art, and cultural festival that has been taking place for more than 20 years at various locations throughout Vienna, spanning over 10 days each spring. While the main focus is on music from the Arab world and beyond, the diverse spectrum of the program also includes visual arts, literature, dance, and performance. With its wide range, Salam Music aims to inspire a versatile and curious audience and providing an exciting festival experience.

Salam Music presents captivating and innovative artists and their diverse cultures and art forms. The festival serves as a platform for international and local artists who aim to reach out and engage their audience, shedding light on global issues and universal themes through their artistic expression. Furthermore, Salam Music wants to serve as a bridge in a diverse society, enabling the discovery of a shared identity through art and culture.

In 2017, festival founder Norbert Ehrlich entrusted Salam Music (back then named "Salam Orient") to Katrin Pröll as the new festival director. Together with Martina Laab, who supports the festival as an advisor, they continue to shape and develop Salam Music.

Since 2017, international guests such as Ghalia Benali, Kiya Tabassian, Yasmine Hamdan, Emel Mathlouthi, Alsarah & the Nubatones, Bab L’Bluz, Gaye Su Akyol, Les Sahariennes, Renaud Garcia-Fons, as well as local bands like Orwa Saleh Ensemble, Kurdophone, Huuum, Sofia Labropoulou Ensemble, Mahan Mirarab Ensemble, Golnar Shayar, Marwan Abado, Sakina & friends – just to name a few – have been important ambassadors of the festival's idea. And many more outstanding artists are still to come to enrich the festival and inspire people!

Same same but different…

A lot has happened since the festival relaunch of “Salam Orient” in 2017. Above all, the range of the music program has grown significantly. In addition to classical, traditional and global music, electronic, rock and post-punk bands are now also an integral part of the festival program. However, not only has the festival changed, the world has changed too. The term “Orient” has fallen out of time and is widely tainted with numerous clichés that we do not want to perpetuate at our festival.

And so, with full conviction, we have taken the big step to renew the festival title, which has become a brand of its own since its foundation in 2002. We look forward to welcoming you to the new and renewed 22nd festival edition as Salam Music!

22nd edition - 12.-21. April 2024

The 22nd festival edition of Salam Music will take place from 12.-21. April 2024, as usual at various venues throughout Vienna. We will publish the first program information from January 2024. But this much can already be revealed: we have again a guest curator on board for the upcoming festival edition, with whom we are currently developing an exciting program. We are very pleased to welcome Brahim El Mazned, founder of the Visa for Music showcase festival in Rabat, Morocco and artistic director of the Timitar festival in Agadir, one of the largest music festivals in Morocco, to the team for the 2024 festival edition.

Brahim El Mazned – guest curator 2024

Brahim El Mazned comes from Agadir, Morocco and lives and works in Morocco's capital and cultural center Rabat. Since 2004, he has been the artistic director of the Timitar Festival in Agadir, which is primarily dedicated to the Amazigh culture, the indigenous ethnic group of Morocco and North Africa. With up to half a million visitors, the Timitar Festival is among the largest and most important festivals in Morocco. Brahim El Mazned also carries the music, art and culture of the Amazigh out into the world with many other projects and is fully committed to making the culture known internationally.

In 2014, Brahim El Mazned started the showcase festival Visa For Music for international music professionals and musicians from all over Africa and the Middle East in Rabat. Since then, the music fair and festival has taken place annually and has expanded its musical spectrum.

Brahim El Mazned was a member of the EU/UNESCO Bank of Expertise 2019-2022 as an expert on cultural policy and creative industries. He is also regularly jury member and artistic advisor at various cultural events in Morocco and internationally.

Festival history from 2002 to today

In 2002, the former managing director of the venue Szene Wien, Norbert Ehrlich, founded the festival Salam Orient. The trigger for this initiative were the events of 9/11. Norbert Ehrlich aimed to create a counterpoint to the generalized opinions and perceptions about the Arab world. .To this day, this remains a primary objective of the festival. Through its extensive range of music, art, and culture, Salam Music aims to create a differentiated portrayal.

After 15 successful, intense, and wonderful years, Norbert Ehrlich passed on the festival management in 2017: Katrin Pröll took over as artistic and festival director, and together with Martina Laab, who supports the festival as an advisor, they further developed the festival.

The diverse music program ranges from classical and traditional ensembles to bands in the rock, alternative and electronic genres. A new development in 2020 was an art section featuring visual arts curated by Christine Bruckbauer from the art space philomena+. Additionally, literature events and various dialogue formats such as artist talks, presentations, and workshops take place.

In 2023, for the first time, a festival center was established, curated and organized by Oud player Orwa Saleh. Also part of the core team is Regina Fisch, who has been responsible for communication and public relations since 2022. Together, the dedicated team, driven by a passion for music, art, and culture, is developing a 10-day international festival