"Burg Clam is the coolest open air stage"

OÖN 12 May 2023 | Text: Peter Grubmüller

Hubert von Goisern: on 23 May he'll present his Culture Award at the Posthof in Linz, 16 May is the start of his tour, with six dates in Upper Austria, before which two albums will be released.

In the mid-80s, Hubert von Goisern was one of the co-founders of "new folk music". In 2022 he turned 70, his open air tour will kick off in the next few days. Today sees the release of his double album Zeiten und Zeichen LIVE, next week comes part two of his "best of" work, Derweil 2. Ahead of the award ceremony for his Culture Award, the OÖN met Hubert von Goisern and talked to him about his personal cultural sponsorship, the planned break from touring and his new novel.

Why was there a need for the Hubert von Goisern Culture Award?

I've never thought about it. At some point I started drawing a pension, in part from the AKM (copyright representations for "authors, composers and music publishers"). Knowing that the AKM social fund is petering out because royalties are reducing, but the number of artists in need of social support is increasing, I suggested that I do without my pension and the AKM put my money into this social fund.

What happened?

The answer was that if you refuse, the money won't go into that pot, it'll remain part of the total – and be distributed among everyone. Meaning that those who get most royalties anyway will get most of it. If I wanted to do good, I would have to donate the money myself. So that's why the Culture Award exists.

The award has was founded in 2018 and was funded for 10 years?

Right, I put 100,000 Euros in this pot and wanted to give out 10,000 Euros each year. In the first year, the father of one of the prize-winners was so delighted that his child had won an award. For him, it wasn't about the money, but rather the recognition. This father, who wanted to remain anonymous, pledged to add 5000 Euros to the award each year.

Has this support continued?

I thanked him, but after the third year, he was no longer in touch. And it felt too dumb to chase after him. I was delighted that he did it three times. Mind you, I didn't want to reduce the amount again, so I just added 5000 Euros. Then the coronavirus came along and many of my colleagues were having such a difficult time that I doubled it from five to ten winners. So more money than planned had run into the award. It'll therefore take place for the last time in 2024.

Have there been any collaborations with award winners?

Yes, among them Christoph Sietzen, who played at the Brucknerhaus with me. And I included singer-songwriter Sigrid Horn at Burg Clam in 2022.

Apropos Burg Clam: why were you so keen to play there again this year?

Because Burg Clam is the most beautiful and coolest open air stage in Austria.

Within a week you have two new albums coming out. Today it's the live recording of the Zeiten und Zeichen concert at the Salzburg Festspielhaus and on 19 May it's the "best of" album Derweil 2 – why this density of releases?

Derweil 2 was the wish of my manager, Hage Hein. I wouldn't have come up with the idea, because I prefer to create something new. But he kept stuck with it because he said that my new tour will certainly be my last for a long time. I don't know yet whether I'll be moved to do it again. My condition was that if Hage wanted it, he should also make suggestions and I'd just look them over. Then he made a list – I did too and they were in line with each other with just a few exceptions.

Your debut novel Flüchtig was number one on the bestseller list for weeks. When will your second novel be coming?

I originally wanted to play in 2020 and 2021 in order to then have time to write. After the coronavirus, now the Capital of Culture is coming in 2024 – and I didn't want to say: that's nothing to do with me. It's my homeland – particularly because when it all looked like it was going to fall apart over the change in artistic director, I agreed to give the new artistic director Elisabeth Schweeger all my support. That's why the writing has been put off. But yes, I'd like to write another novel, but I haven't got anything prepared yet. I know where I want to go, but haven't got a clue how to get there yet.

You also used your own money for the Capital of Culture Salzkammergut, to put into action the project against soil sealing and to encourage the use of vacant plots. Why is this so important to you?

Oh, I'm not earning anything for my involvement or for helping out a bit. Elisabeth Schweeger wanted me to take a look at the opening celebration too. But I'm not alone with that, because it needs a bit of pomp. I earn my money differently anyway, with concerts. That's why I paid in 5000 Euros. I want the projects to be able to be implemented in the Salzkammergut.

Hubert von Goisern - Derweil 2 4 May 2023 | Text: Stefan Baumgartner

[On 19 May] comes Derweil 2. Fifteen years after the previous "Best of", arrives a sequel with the best songs from 2007 to 2023. Hubert von Goisern has never done what was expected of him and was consistently successful from his beginnings as alpine rocker with Hiatamadl, to his expeditions to Tibet and Africa, the Linz Europe Tour on a converted cargo ship and the ground-breaking success of Brenna tuats guat. The Austrian's artistic range is deftly showcased on Derweil 2, even if Hubert von Goisern notes with a wink that "if we had put together 25 tracks for the double album and hit the limits of the playing time: many songs still would not have made it onto the album." What did make it are studio and live tracks from years past, a diverse, exciting mix that absolutely has relevance in this form, even though Hubert von Goisern reveals: "After the scheduled break, I certainly won't return with a "best of" programme. If I do come back, I need to come up with something new." Derweil 2 isn't just a superb collection for his fans to brush up on the lyrics for the upcoming tour, it's also a way to bridge his break from the stage – although a beautifully compiled album will never replace the live experience …