NEW: TAX BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS.
GEBHARD SAGMEISTER RE-ELECTED
Bregenz, 26 April 2018. Extra benefits for Friends of Bregenz Festival: not only will the more than 1,000 Friends continue to enjoy a range of exclusive events, but in future they will also profit from tax benefits. This was announced at the association's general meeting in Bregenz Festspielhaus by Gebhard Sagmeister, who has been re-elected as chairman of the Friends for a further three year term. In a speech thanking the Friends, Hans-Peter Metzler, president of Bregenz Festival, said that the association, by donating 233,000 euros, had once more "made a large sum of money available that represents a significant contribution to the diversity of the festival programme".
The association of Friends of Bregenz Festival – successor to the Bregenz Festival Society, established in 1949 – is one of the most important institutions supporting the summer festival both financially and in non-material ways. Along with the municipality of Bregenz, the federal state of Vorarlberg and the Republic of Austria it is a principal contributor to the Bregenz Festival Private Foundation which is the owner of Bregenzer Festspiele GmbH, the private limited company responsible for running the festival. The festival itself was first held in 1946.
Tax deductibility for Austria and Germany
Donations to cultural institutions have been tax deductible in Austria since 2016 (providing certain requirements are met). The association of Friends will now be able to benefit from this regulation as well. From 2019, Friends who are resident in Austria will be able to set a portion of their annual contribution off against their tax liability. In Germany tax deductibility has already existed for some time. There continue to be four categories of membership: ordinary members, sponsors, Cercle members and patrons.
Young people can join for free
The board of the association of Friends made a special gift to young people. From 2019, those aged 26 or under can enjoy the many advantages of membership free of charge, the annual membership fee of 10 euros being abolished. Members profit from a big number of exclusive benefits and services revolving around Bregenz Festival, not only during the season but all year round, for instance as part of the presentation of the complete programme or the preview of the lake stage, which is not open to the public.
70th anniversary celebrations next year
Beyond that, Sagmeister said, all members are "supporters and ambassadors of a wonderful idea which it's important to continue cultivating in all areas". New members of the association board are the treasurer Cornelia Sinz-Rhomberg as well as Stefan Aichbauer, tasked with networking for the festival in the Munich metropolitan area, and Daniela Koller-Marte, who aims to intensify networking in Switzerland and achieve an "increase in visitor numbers from Switzerland". In 2018, around 2,240 people visited events held by the Friends, not including performances at the festival. Next year also sees the celebration of the festival's 70th anniversary.