Festivals… or

Festivals… or

The fact that Slovenia has around 71 registered music festivals operating yearly must surely, relative to population size and the number of performance-ready spaces available, place us at the European if not global peak.

This fact however, whether you’re thrilled about it or not, doesn’t really mean much. Even if everything officially registered as a festival actually is one, the saying “All that glitters is not gold” applies here. Make no mistake! From the 71 even the most critical ear could undoubtedly find or pick out at least 15 domestic festivals that rank as highly as those with world renowned reputations. But looking at this geographically and moving from the Soča Valley through the various club and other concert dregs all the way to the Schengen border, we find that Slovenia and Ljubljana can’t boast a single average modern festival like for example the Zagreb-based In Music festival or the just completed inaugural Umag-based Sea Star. Something taking place in an urban setting and not on one of our wonderful pastures.

I won’t prattle and complain, but to focus only on Ljubljana with all its promising near and future musical creativity, its concert capabilities, is it really a shame our guests are leaving to spend a day in Umag and see Prodigy!?

We’ve always got plenty to say when the discussion turns to the condition of our musical (pop)culture. We’re united in the belief that strangers, guests, tourists or people of any kind visiting Slovenia and Ljubljana can be thankful for our geographical diversity. Wherever they find themselves they’re just a hop away from a ski slope or a skip away from the sea.
So it’s a greater shame still that those skips and hops too often lead them abroad instead of taking them to places right here. Places from the Soča Valley to the Schengen, not one but 2, 3, 4 Schengens, spread out equally along the entire official length of our vast Schengen

That’s why we should embrace each festival initiative that is striving to bring modern popular and some less-popular music to the most beautiful city in the world.

The upcoming Festival of Urban Culture - being held on June 30th and July 1st - is a terrific starting platform for riding out the festival shortage within contemporary popular musical forms. The producers will present us with a two day synchronous musical experience on over ten locations in the capitol with more than twenty artists and bands - from Booka Shade and Jazzanova through ICON and Roots in Session to Ichisan and Jamirko. On several highly acclaimed and some completely unexpected musical venues new concepts will emerge fusing culture with tourism, which will define Ljubljana as a new and integral music festival destination. At the same time the Festival of Urban Culture has a real potential to use a synergy of culture, art, sports and hospitality promotions to become a sort of crossroad or launchpad for further music and tourism exploration of not only Ljubljana, but Slovenia as a whole.

Miroslav Akrapović

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