Arena is an unmissable monument to Viennese subculture. Occupied by activists and squatters in the 70’s, the former abattoir is now one of Vienna’s – central Europe’s, perhaps – greatest live music venues. The eclecticism of live acts is astonishing. Trying to keep up with the amount of live gigs hosted here is an impossible task. Beat DJ’s and electro-pop artists rub shoulders with black punk, rock and metal bands, both raw and established.
Strewn with graffiti, the Arena quite literally bursts into view from an anonymous main road not far from Erdberg U3 station. If the outside is impressive, going beyond the gates is even better. The site is, like the WUK, a large one with a complex of different buildings, each housing themed bars and dancefloors. It has an wonderful outdoor stage, but bands also often play inside.
In fact, even though the Arena is strewn over a number of buildings, it is one of those venues which is equally good in the winter. Around November time, Viennese radio station FM4 (which broadcasts bilingually in both German and English) celebrates its ‘birthday’. This is a lively annual event. There are so many nooks and crannies to hide away in, or to dance on, that you could come ten times and not explore it all. The Arena is, quite simply, a staple of Vienna’s event scene.