New Zrće in Croatia? Rab to Organize Happy Island Festival

By 10 January 2016

The party in Croatia is spreading...

The Happy Island Festival is the working title of a music festival which should become the most important new tourism project on the island of Rab since Fjera Festival was launched. Modelled on similar events such as Hideout in Zrće and Ultra Europe in Split, and with the same organizers, the Slovenian agency Collegium Mondial Travel and their partners from London, the festival should provide entertainment for young people in the preseason or postseason. Many believe that something like that is more than necessary for Rab, which has been turning more and more into a rather sleepy destination, reports Novilist on January 9, 2016.

"This is great news for us, because everybody says that there are no events here, especially before and after the peak tourist season, so a festival like this would be fantastic", says Marin Mušćo, the director of the Lopar Municipality Tourist Board.

They have still not signed contracts with the organizers, so it is not certain that the whole project will actually take place, but judging by the interest from the two local tourist boards on Rab, it is only a matter of time before project gets the final go-ahead. "We want this event to become a tradition and to become another reason why people should come to our island", said Nedo Mikelić, the director of the Rab City Tourist Board.

Local governments and their tourist boards are in agreement to support this project, so the only issue left is for the organizers to arrange everything with Imperial, the largest tourist company on the island. It is interesting that this is a joint project of the City of Rab and the Municipality of Lopar, which is a real rarity since, in spite of all the talk about cooperation, the city and the municipality usually organize their separate events. This festival would cover the entire island, with various stages spread from Lopar beaches to the old town of Rab.

The festival is expected to last five days and will focus on popular music, art, culture, food and beautiful landscapes of Rab. "The entire event will include art installations which will be prepared by a group of artists. The festival is aimed for somewhat older visitors, between the ages of 22 and 35, so we believe that it will not disrupt the tourist image of Rab, but will actually give it additional value", say the organizers.

The festival should be held in May or September. Due to short deadlines, it is more likely that the premiere edition will be held in September. It is expected that it will feature performances by some of the best electronic, rock and pop international musicians, which should bring large number of visitors to Rab.

Organizers point out that the target audience are predominantly English tourists, somewhat older than those who usually go to Zrće and the Outlook Festival in Pula. It is expected that the first year should bring more than 5,000 foreign and about a thousand domestic visitors, with more than 30,000 overnight stays. Those numbers should increase in subsequent years.

"In addition to logistics, there are no major expectations from the local community for the first year. In the future, we might help the organizers through co-financing, and local authorities will benefit through enormous marketing impact, since such events are covered by the international media. During these times of the year, usually we have about two to three thousand guests on the island, so this would bring us a substantial increase", Marin Mušćo said.

The signing of the contract is expected by the end of January. The final title of the festival is still not known, but it will probably include the island's motto "Happy Island".