Three German volunteers at the Summer Open Air Music Event in Austria

From 17th to 19th June, the Summer Open Air Music Event ‘Wenn die Musi spielt’ celebrated its 25th anniversary with numerous stars playing in front of the mountain scenery in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Carinthia. The local branch of Johanniter Austria provided medical care for the visitors and was joined by three Johanniter colleagues from Germany. Read the report by Andreas below:

“Through a report on Johanniter Germany’s intranet “4juh” by Nancy Kestler, I became aware of the Volunteer Swap program of JOIN – Johanniter International and contacted Nancy.

She had explained everything to me and even registered us by mail for the Volunteer Swap with the JOIN Office in Brussels.

After looking at the map on the Volunteer Swap website, the planning for the mission could start.

Early in the morning of 16th June, we 3 Johanniter (Wolfgang Grüneberg, my wife Tatjana Beckmann and I) left by private car in the direction of Patergassen in beautiful Carinthia, Austria. The destination was the rescue scentre of the Johanniter in Patergassen. My contact to, the friendship for and this location exists already since 1999. At that time, I had sent an email with a friendship inquiry to get in contact with fellow German-speaking Johanniter members in the foreign country and to foster exchange. So exactly what the JOIN Volunteer Swap embodies. In 2001, I was invited to participate in the medical service at the event ‘Wenn die Musi spielt – Sommer Open Air’. Since then, I have been going to this great event every year and always try to take a small delegation from the local volunteers with me.

After 920 km and about 11 hours of driving, we arrived safely in Patergassen at the rescue centre.

After a warm welcome by the crew on duty, we got to see our room for accommodation. The centre has a total of 4 rooms for overnight stays of which 3 rooms were currently used by the duty crew. My colleague Wolfgang had rented himself a small room in a nearby vacation pension.

After moving into the room, we drove to the “Wunder Inn” in Gnesau for dinner. There we were also warmly welcomed. It is a years-old tradition to have dinner there before the Open Air event. We joined the team of our Austrian colleagues for the next 2 days and were assigned to work on Friday and Saturday evenings. This allowed us to visit and get to know sights of the region during the day. After consulting with my team, we agreed to do a panoramic road tour and a lake tour.

After breakfast on Friday morning, we set off on the lake tour. We started with a visit to Lake Ossiach near Villach.

We were thrilled. What a moment. We continued to the Villach Alpine Road. Here we could look down on the city of Villach from a vantage point above. Then we continued up to the highest vantage point. From there we had an incredible view of the 3 lakes Ossiacher See, Faaker See as well as the Wörthersee, which should be the end of our day tour. Further, we could look at the Karawanken and Slovenia.

At Wörthersee, we went to the observation tower at the Pyramidenkogel. With 100m height (antenna tip), this is the highest wooden lookout tower in the world.

We went up by elevator and down over Europe’s highest closed building slide on a length of 120 m into the first floor. Speeds of about 25 km/h are reached with a slide duration of about 20 seconds. We could not miss out on that.

Back in Patergassen we got ready for the first aid service at the main rehearsal of the Music Open Air.

Together with the emergency forces of the Johanniter Patergassen we were driven to the event area at the Hofer Riegel in St. Oswald. There we were welcomed by the local emergency forces who were already there and took us into their team. We were all welcomed by the head of operations David Rauter for the mission at the Open Air and received instructions on safety and the course of the operation.

Afterwards we were shown our positions on the grounds and took the traditional group photo in front of the first-aid station.

2nd from right, Wolfgang Grüneberg, 4th and 5th from right, my wife and me.

About 20 minutes after we had taken our positions, the rehearsal for the Music Open Air began. Between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors had been reported by the organiser. With warm weather, the event area was filled with many visitors.

After the operation, we went back to the rescue centre and enjoyed the evening. There was a lot of reminiscing about the last years and a lot of laughter.

The next morning after breakfast, our small team set off on our 2nd planned tour, the panorama tour. We started from the Reichenau plain, over the Nockalm road in the direction of Gmünd.

Further we drove over the Malta high alpine road up to the Kölnbreinspeicher. On the way back we stopped at the Fallbach waterfall.

We passed the Millstätter See and went back to the station to prepare for the first aid service drove back up to the event area with the emergency forces.

We took up our positions again and the event area filled up quickly with more and more visitors.

On the right, my wife and I in the team with the friends of Johanniter Patergassen.

The artists of the Open Air inspired the visitors like they did on the day before. After the shift, we went back to the centre, and we retired to rest for the upcoming return journey on the next day.

The next morning, we were bid a warm farewell by the crew on duty at the rescue centre and we received an invitation to the Summer Open Air 2023.

Our conclusion: it was a great and interesting mission again with Johanniter and friends in beautiful Carinthia. Basically, also a short vacation in the big international Johanniter family.

We can only recommend the JOIN Volunteer Swap program and would be happy to take part in it again next year.

The Team: Tatjana, Wolfgang and Andreas”