PODIUM originated from the desire to let music run lose. This means questioning the traditional concert formats, and always allowing the music with its unrestrained drive to be the center of attention.

The festival was founded in the spring of 2009 and soon developed from a small student initiative to an internationally recognized model. The year 2010 marks a milestone, when the PODIUM team won a special Echo Klassik award. Numerous further awards and recognitions followed, such as the red dot design award and the Kulturmarken¬†award ‘Trend Label Of The Year’. At the same time, PODIUM was organized and developed by a small team of young people, mostly on a voluntary basis – which still applies to today.

Starting as a small chamber music festival, PODIUM today has developed into an interdisciplinary art festival with a strong drive for experimentation. Meanwhile, around 50 of the best emerging musicians and other artists from all parts of Europe come to Esslingen every year. During an intense rehearsal period they work together on the versatile program. There, a huge variety of different areas comes together: dance, light design, animation, and scenography give music new levels of meaning.

The festival mainly originated from decentralized, web based collaboration platforms. Only since 2013 does PODIUM have its own, physical office in Esslingen. The PODIUM music foundation, established in 2013, serves as the festival’s backbone and its anchor in the township. The foundation creates a sustainable basis for young engagement and creativity.