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Luzern’s two biggest festivals come from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. February’s carnival features the biggest celebrations (see here) in the country, with six days and nights of continuous drinking and raucous partying throughout the city centre.
From mid-August to mid-September each year, the city also plays host to one of Europe’s most prestigious classical music events, the Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern, inaugurated in 1938 with a concert conducted by Arturo Toscanini in the grounds of Wagner’s lakeside house at Tribschen. The cycle of concerts held in venues ranging from the stunning new Congress Centre beside the station, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, to churches around town and even the Lion Monument draw the world’s finest soloists and orchestras. A newly established week-long Osterfestspiele has concerts on the theme of the Passiontide and Easter. Tickets (Fr.20–250) and programme details for both festivals can be had from IMF, Hirschmattstrasse 13, Postfach, CH-6002 Luzern (041/226 44 80, www.lucernemusic.ch).
The fourth Saturday in June sees the Altstadtfest – the Old Town filled with oompah bands and food and beer stalls – while that weekend and the two weekends following have international rowing regattas held on the Rotsee, a lake 2km north of town.
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