At the European Stone Festival 2023 in Salzburg, stonemasons and sculptors showed how they turn their ideas into small sculptures

Participants at the stonemasons‘ competition.

See also our Calendar of Sculpture Symposia / Festivals

During the weekend from June 03 and 04, 2023, the venue was the Kapitelplatz, close to the cathedral

Visitors to Salzburg on the weekend of June 03 and 04, 2023, observed stonemasons from all over Europe and the Americas at work and watched how they created a piece of art full of expression and soul from a lifeless little rock cube. The characteristic of the festival is that apprentices, journeymen, and masters give free rein to their creativity and skills.

Participants at the stonemasons‘ competition.

As usual, there was plenty to drink and eat at the festival: on Saturday evening, a band offered live music in a marquee from 6 p.m. on, and on the 2nd day, a morning pint with brass band music began at 12:30. The organization was in the hands of the Steinzentrum Hallein, this year.

Participants at the stonemasons‘ competition.Participants at the stonemasons‘ competition.

While the professionals started their hammering at 8 a.m., visitors took up the tools from 9 a.m. onwards. At numerous information booths, there were hands-on activities.

The 125th anniversary of the HTL Hallein (College for Stone Technology and Stone Design) was also celebrated during the festival.

Presentation of the finished works before auction.Auction.The benefit of the auction was €1,100 and went to the non-profit Lebenshilfe Salzburg. F.l.t.r.: Norbert Kienesberger (Steinzentrum Hallein), Wolfgang Penetsdorfer (Lebenshilfe Salzburg), Anna Singer (Steinzentrum Hallein).

Finally, the work of the 120 professionals from 12 nations (including Austria, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Hungary plus Canada and Peru) was judged by a jury on Sunday afternoon and then publicly auctioned. The benefit was €1,100 and went to the non-profit Lebenshilfe Salzburg.

The motto for the works was „103 Years Salzburg Festival“. The stone provided by the organizer was St. Margarethen limestone quarried close-by.

Winners in the category apprentices (left, right: officials).Winners in the category journeymen (left, right: officials).Winners in the category masters (left, right: officials).
The winners of the 1st prizes were:
* apprentice category: Niamatullah Haidari (France);
* journeyman category: Bettina Morio (Germany);
* master category: Thomas Probst (France);
* the prize in the group competition went to the German-Austrian team.

The event gave proof of the high the „high sense of community in the international stonemasonry scene,“ the organizers summed up after the weekend full of activities. It was a perfect means to showcase the stonemasons‘ know-how and traditions. Many local media covered the festival.

The 1st European Stone Festival was organized in Freiburg in Germany in 1999. Since then, interrupted by the Covid pandemic, more than 100 stonemasons and stone sculptors annually come together at locations in England, France, Germany, Austria, and Norway.

They have a small block of St. Margarethen limestone as material. The participants must finish their work within 16 hours.

Coming Festivals:
2024: Budapest, Hungary
2025: Freiburg, Germany
2026: Halifax, England

Steinzentrum Hallein (German)

Program (German)

European Stone Festival

HTL Hallein (German)

Photos: Steinzentrum Hallein

Officials and guests.Relaxing after a turbulent weekend.