This post is also available in: German
Next date: FESCH’MARKT #12, 17th-19th June
Special: Open air movie theatre on Friday, FÊTE’FESCH party on Saturday
Location: Ottakringer Brauerei
While it’s not unusual for people to queue up for beer, it does seem a bit unusual to queue up in front of a brewery. Yet this is a phenomenon that is known to occur at least twice a year in Vienna, and it’s the usual suspects that are responsible: the crew of the FESCH’MARKT design market, that has picked this extraordinary spot to host one of the freshest events in the city.
A few years back, Katrin Hofman had just returned from a trip to New York when she met with her friend Barbara Daxböck for a glass of wine. Katrin had brought back some great souvenirs from New York’s design markets, and the two of them quickly agreed that Vienna was still missing something similar. After the second glass of wine, the idea turned into a business plan, which soon turned into a blossoming event with ever growing ideas.
The FESCH’MARKT (“fesch” is an Austrian expression for something stylish) takes place twice a year at the Ottakringer Brauerei in Vienna. The old brewery building offers the perfect setting for creatives to display their arts and crafts, food and drinks, furniture, kids design, bikes & boards and other products such as custom built skis.
At my last visit a few months ago, I felt excited like a kid who’s just about to go to Disneyland. Once we make it through the entrance (there is an entrance fee of €4) heaven opens up before me. Though the smell of the food trucks and tents in the courtyard are mighty tempting, I first hit the market itself.
Over 200 national and international exhibitors sell their products at each FESCH’MARKT. It’s only open to small businesses offering something unique and they have to go through an application process to get in. The building’s several floors are filled with goods, people, DJs and good vibes, and it takes a while to cover it all. I buy a cute leather necklace, get myself some snowflake press-on tattoos and seriously consider buying a seat made to click onto a beer crate designed by Bierpolsterei.
Just when I think I’m done, I discover another floor devoted to food and drink alone, mostly home grown goodies with awesome packaging sold by local farmers and producers. Mustard has never looked so good and I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about buying peppercorns. The trend for going back to the roots and rediscovering the simple things is definitely a vibe that FESCH’MARKT has picked up on.
With my bags full, I return to the ground floor for a delicious hot dog with guacamole, bacon and caramelized onions. Time to relax and chat with the crowd. But not for too long, as later in the evening there is the FÊTE’FESCH party and I want to be ready. After all, I did buy a few new clothes and I’m pretty sure they also want go out and celebrate, dance and be fesch!
Interview with Katrin Hofman, founder of FESCH’MARKT
Which new initiatives can we expect from the next FESCH’MARKT in Vienna in June?
We will have a special focus on spirits as part of our delicatessen section. And once again, there will be a lot of new national and international exhibitors attending.
Do you have any tips for first-timers?
Bring enough cash and have your neighbour take care of your dog while visiting.
Do you have a favourite moment in your job?
Yes: On the first day when the event opens at 2pm, that’s when the chaos starts to fade out. Everyone has settled in and all problems have been solved. From 3pm, everything runs smoothly and it feels like having completed a puzzle. This is the moment when my co-founding colleague Barbara and I go to a café, and it’s something that I always look forward to.
What are the people of Vienna especially good at?
Grumbling. What I really like about the Viennese is that they are both hedonists and at the same time never quite satisfied. To me, the Viennese are a relaxed people who like to enjoy life and to read the newspaper while drinking coffee. They love their Vienna, even when they complain.
Where are the best places to enjoy Vienna?
I love to go for a walk in the St. Marx Cemetery in the fall, in the Steinhof during winter, in the Bohemian Prater in the springtime, and in summer I’m off to Bad Neuwaldegg.
Do you have a secret tip for those who want to experience something completely and originally Viennese?
I love to visit the SÜWAG in the 15th district. In the small shop with its own production house next door, you can buy cake decorations. This is where the real Viennese shop.