Friday, 4 February 2022

Adriatic Festivals to Return With Higher Prices Following Stagnation

February the 4th, 2022 - Adriatic festivals up and down the Croatian coast are set to make a return, albeit with higher prices included, following two years of painful stagnation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying restrictions on gatherings.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although they still have some reservations about the continuation of the global coronavirus pandemic and the issue of limits being placed on things such as international travel, and there are even more worries about inflation, the organisers of music festivals in Croatia seem to be relieved after two seasons of pure stagnation.

Adriatic festivals are set to return, and the famous Zrce already has a record booking with the return of some old and some new projects, Ultra is preparing for this year in Split and on the Dalmatian islands, Sibenik's Martinska, which last year showed impressive resilience to dire circumstances, is preparing for the summer and some new cooperation, and some Garden Resort festivals are already sold out.

Although only time will tell if the party business will return to the tracks off which the pandemic forced it back in 2020, optimism is currently high when it comes to Adriatic festivals in 2022.

Ivan Busljeta, the owner of the Papaya club on Zrce, is making no attempt to hide his sense of optimism. The most famous location of the entertainment industry in the entire country has been alive for the last two years with guests from across Croatia and the country's immediate region, without the usual international audience and the festivals that used to put this place firmly and at the very top of the Adriatic festival map.

Everyone missed the British market in the first place, which is crucial for the entire festival scene whether it be regarding guests or business partners, and the opening policy for travel now announced from the United Kingdom for the coming summer is an important stimulus.

"All of the old festivals are returning to Zrce this year, we start on May the 15th and the season will last until September the 15th. We'll start with the Zrce Spring Break festival, which brings 5,000 people to Novalja, the English festival Hideout with 15,000 visitors, then Sonus, the largest techno festival with 15,000 guests. At the end of June, the Fresh Island will return, and we have new partners from England who will also bring us several thousand people.

So, the numbers are phenomenal at the moment and I hope that the current narrative will be maintained, that all of the epidemiological measures will cease in the spring and that the novel coronavirus will be treated as a cold or flu and we will live a normal life again,'' Ivan Busljeta hopes.

In that light, Ryanair’s announcements are good, and reservations continue to be record-breaking for the low cost Irish airline. At the same time, enterprises working on Zrce are happy with Novalja's plans to invest more cash in local infrastructure, from a new marina and reception port to more roads, which is the basis for further investments in other facilities.

"There are new investments in 4 and 5 star accommodation, camps, a lot of private villas are being announced and realised, which could encourage the development of new segments of tourism on the island of Pag, for which there is a lot of potential. Just as Zrce still has a lot of potential for development, in which we have great support from the local community, the whole destination has the potential for the development of sports, adrenaline, gastronomy and even family tourism,'' said Busljeta.

What is worrying is the situation surrounding inflation and the rising prices of just about everything, which will spill over into the prices charged for varying services in all segments of tourism, from accommodation to catering and hospitality to basics like transport.

Although ticket sales are currently in the early bird phase, final festival ticket prices as well as other ancillary services are likely to rise, in order to maintain the viability of the business, especially after two years of stagnation.

Vedran Meniga, the co-owner and director of the company Positive Rhythm, one of the pioneers of the festival business in Croatia, is still looking forward to the next season and for Adriatic festivals to hopefully make at least a semi-normal return.

In addition to the famed Martinska location in Sibenik, Positive Rhythm, in partnership with Garden Resort, organises festivals in Tisno, and this year important anniversaries of their events are being prepared. The current state of reservations looks good, but Meniga also cautiously remembers last year's relaxation just before the summer.

“Although we strive to maintain the same standard at this early stage of ticket sales, we're part of the rest of the world as well and it's logical that we;ll have to adjust to prices as time goes on. We're also continuing to work in uncertain circumstances, although at the moment the situation looks better than it did last year. Still, let's remember that at the beginning of last summer there was an optimistic announcement from the British market, and later that all changed. In addition, the policy of adopting anti-pandemic measures in Croatia last summer worked against event organisers, we had to cope with the adoption of measures overnight, there were double standards, which is why last year was more stressful for event organisation than 2020.

Due to all of the above, we still have valid reservations, because we're aware that for sustainability, in addition to the local audience, we need foreign guests,who buy tickets in advance and plan a full trip. That said, we're currently working on Plan A, as if everything was normal, but we're ready for Plan B, depending on the situation as it unfolds,'' explained Vedran Meniga.

It's worth noting that Positive Rhythm was declared a possible world record holder in the number of festival and club events held in the two pandemic years behind us, with more than 10 thousand visitors in 2020 alone.

All six Adriatic festivals will be held on Martinska again this year at about 50 percent of the capacity from back in pre-pandemic, record 2019, with the 20th edition of their festival Seasplash and the tenth edition of Regius set to take place. The Slurp Festival will host a small overseas collaboration, for which the campaign will start in a couple of weeks, in addition to which the punk festival Kanal Fest, Membrain and Blast Fest are expected.

On top of the above, the Garden Resort in Tisno will be hosting the Outlook Festival, for which the first performing names have been announced this week, with tickets starting to be sold this Friday, while Dimensions is due to take place as ''normal'' in September.

Due to cost-effectiveness, Brexit and even the coronavirus pandemic, these Adriatic festivals eventually transformed into smaller ones, but apart from the local audience and the expected return of the British tourists and business partners, guests from distant, non-European markets such as America and Canada also showed interest.

For more on Adriatic festivals up and down Croatia, check out our travel section.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival Showcases Female Animation Authors

September 29, 2021 - The Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival online event presents Croatia with thirteen female animation authors who talk about gender inequality and other issues of the modern world.

Online event hosting obviously gained momentum during the coronavirus pandemic, as going out became risky for public health. The advent of the vaccine has seen Croatia slowly but steadily returning back to public event hosting, but there are some exceptions. Maybe it's the extra precauiton due to Croatian vaccine scepticism, or maybe just the possibility of less expensive organisation and more potential for attending regardless of your location on the map, but some events have remained online.

One such event is the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival, a Vienna Film festival described by Culturenet as the only animated film festival focused on female authors. Organised by the Vox Feminae feminist news portal and the Austrian Culture Forum (AKF), the festival is being streamed on the websites of the organisers until October 10, making this an official (but only online) visit of the festival to Croatia. 13 short animated movies are selected for the online screening.

''From gender equality to digitalisation, from human and workers rights do social, economic and ecological issues, the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival questions social and political reality from the feminist art perspective, pointing out social inequality in a new and innovative way,'' describes the Culturenet website.

The festival usually occurs on March 8 to commemorate International Women's Day. TCN is also no stranger to writing about noted women from Croatia's history or about current issues with gender equality, on March 8 and of course on many other days too.

The authors whose short animated work the festival presents are: Maya Yonesho, Susi Jirkuff, Ani Antonova, Rebecca Akoun, Veronika Schubert, Sabine Groschup, Beate Hecher i Markus Keim, Billy Roisz, Kathrin Steinbacher and Anna Vasof.

The films showcased are subtitled in English, making the event approachable to non-Croatian speakers too. As the 2021 edition is in progress, the plans for the 2022 edition are already ongoing. Interested female authors can apply for their work to be shown by October 4 this year, and the 2022 festival screening is scheduled from March 9-13 in 2022.

''We're proud to be able to announce a new award: The Maria Lassnig Golden Film Reel for outstanding animation will be awarded for the very first time in 2022. Sponsored by the Maria Lassnig Foundation, it is worth 10,000 euros and will be awarded annually. An international expert jury will select the winner from the films shown in the International Competition of our festival,'' announced the festival's official website.

The award, named after Maria Lasnig (1919-2014), who was a pioneer of experimental animation and one of the first women in the German-speaking world to be appointed to a professorship in art, shows this valuable festival is here to stay.

Learn more about Filming in Croatia in our TC guide.

For more about culture in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021: Progressive Films and Discussions in October

September 28, 2021 - The Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021 will present movies and discussions on alternative, progressive solutions to burning global issues throughout October.

After the iconic Kino Europa (Europa Cinema) in Zagreb's centre closed down (despite huge support for it to remain, as well as protests), many cultural festivals that called the venue their home weren't sure where they would continue their cultural programmes.

However, many programmes successfully moved on, and the Zagreb Subversive Festival is no exception. The 14th edition of this progressive culture event is making a return to Zagreb and will last from October 3-23.

The Tuškanac Cinema, the Cultural Informative Centre (KIC), the Prosvjeta Serbian Cultural Centre (SKD Prosvjeta), and the Miroslav Krleža Institute of Lexicography joined forces to host the programme. Additionally, the online Volimdokumentarce.net (Ilovedocumentaries.net) programme will live stream online for those unable to attend the events in person.

''The Zagreb Subversive Festival 2021 is a multi-disciplinary platform inside which political theory and film join forces to shake up the status quo, identify the aesthetic of resistance and nurture a more radical approach to film, theory, and practice. We're interested in the potential transformation of our neoliberal daily lives, and the role art and culture could play in this endeavour,'' writes the official website of the Subversive Film Festival.

The festival began back in 2008, marking the 40th anniversary of 1968 global protests, and since then, it has evolved into one of the most important progressive festivals in the region. The festival is split into two sections: The Subversive Film Festival and the Subversive Forum.

The film part showcases movies that deal with topics of social injustice, social change, women's and minority rights, LGBTQ+, student and workers' issues and movements, as well as post-colonial heritage. The screenings also have a competitive nature due to the ''Wild Dreamer'' Award for the best feature, documentary, and short film categories.

The Subversive Forum portion of the festival holds conferences that present ''tools for the deconstruction of the offered normalised story about the world'', as well as the articulation of a possible alternative reality and its foundation.

Noted international movie directors, philosophers, social scientists, and activists such as Oliver Stone, Toni Negri, Slavoj Žižek, Michael Hardt, and many others have attended and participated in the Zagreb Subversive Festival over the years.

The 14th edition has a central topic, ''A Post-COVID Democracy: The Ethics of Fight and Solidarity Poetics'' and thirty movie titles are confirmed for the programme, which will be filled with exhibitions, lectures, and discussions that will stretch throughout the month of October.

Learn more about Zagreb in our TC guide

For more about culture in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 24 September 2021

Fiumare Festival, Rijeka Boat Show Open

ZAGREB, 24 Sept 2021 - The ninth Kvarner Fiumare festival of the sea and maritime heritage and the Rijeka Boat Show, featuring nautical and boat equipment, opened in Rijeka on Friday.

The Fiumare festival, taking place at several venues in downtown Rijeka, will be open until 29 September while the Rijeka Boat Show will run until 26 September at the Caroline of Rijeka pier.

The Rijeka Boat Show's theme is "The City is the port, the port is the city", and visitors can see new small vessels made in Croatia as well as world brands and nautical and fishing equipment.

"Rijeka's potential has been recognised by the world's largest groups - the attractiveness of the marina in Porto Baroš has been recognised by the Lürssen Group, the world's biggest producer megayachts. The Zagreb Pier future container terminal has been recognised by Maersk, the largest shipping company in the world. That means that in the next three to four years, Rijeka will definitely change its face as seen from the sea," Mayor Marko Filipović said.

The Fiumare festival will feature lectures, exhibitions, interactive workshops, rowing demonstrations, presentations of historical events and a fair of autochthonous products from the Kvarner region.

For more on travel, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

72nd Edition of Dubrovnik Summer Festival Kicks Off

ZAGREB, 11 July, 2021 - The 72nd of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival began on Saturday evening at the traditional ceremony which included the hoisting of the festival's Libertas.

The ceremony was addressed by Mayor Mato Franković who, among other things, spoke about the importance of freedom.

In attendance at the ceremony were Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell, as well as some of the guests who had participated in the Dubrovnik Forum earlier in the day.

This year's festival will run through 25 August, and its programme includes over 60 plays, concerts, dance and folklore performances that will take place at a dozen venues,

The budget of the 72nd Dubrovnik Summer Festival is nearly HRK 8 million, which is HRK 1.5 million more than in 2020. The festival's own funds, including revenues from sponsors, donors and tickets, account for 30% of the budget.

The Dubrovnik Summer Festival was founded in 1950. Unique ambiance of indoor and open air venues of the historical City of Dubrovnik makes a perfect stage for many theatre, music, opera and dance performances during the festival.

For more on lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

European Short Story Festival to be held in Zagreb, Hvar and Vis on 6-11 June

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - The 20th European Short Story Festival will be held on June 6-11, and the event will be held both online and live in Zagreb and on the islands of Hvar and Vis.

US authors Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Lydia Davis and Lorrie Moore will discuss this year's festival topic, "Islands", with Croatian authors.

The festival has so far taken place in Osijek, Beli Manastir, Hvar, Zadar, Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik, Pazin, Varaždin, Šibenik and other cities.

"We are exploring topics that are more relevant than ever - what kinds of isolation are we faced with and how do we overcome separation in a post-pandemic world? Is travel really necessary? Is technology a cure for loneliness or does it contribute to it? Is each one of us an island and what are the new languages the human need for closeness is beginning to express itself in?" reads an announcement of the festival.

In addition to online sessions with the four US authors, the festival will also feature live meetings with a number of regional and domestic authors.

The festival is organised by the Croatian Writers Society, with the help of the Culture and Media Ministry, the Zagreb City Office for Culture and partner cities, as well as a number of cultural institutions and foreign embassies in Croatia.

For more news about events in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more news about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Lošinj Gastro Weekend 2021: Local Culinary Spectacle Throughout May

April 28, 2021 - Starting this weekend, the Lošinj Gastro Weekend 2021 prepares a real treat to the visitors of 14 restaurants on the island.

A beautiful island setting of Lošinj, and delicious food next to the Adriatic - all a regular feature of the annual gastro weekend which starts this week and continues until the end of May.

As Losinj Tourist Board website VisitLosinj.hr announces, fourteen restaurants from Osor all the way to Mali Lošinj will each weekend have a special offer based on a specific product.

Starting with this Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2, the restaurants will have lamb specialties in which the local meat will be offered to satisfy your taste buds.

The next is asparagus weekend (May 7-9), followed by fish dishes (May 14-16), Medditaranian herbs dishes (May 21-23), and finally the Antic cuisine (May 28-30).
Artatore, Baracuda, Bocca Vera, Bora bar, Borik Mediterranean Bar, Deveron, Diana Steakhouse, Eki, Lanterna Grill Mare, Silvana, Silver Bay Televrin, and Veli žal are the restaurants.
Turizmoteka.hr also covered the story and warned readers to reserve their place in the restaurants to enjoy this lovely culinary spectacle.

„In these moments, the cooperation between every actor in the destination is extremely important to overcome the negative effect of corona crisis as fast as possible. This festival is an ideal opportunity for visitors to meet Lošinj through local specialties. Come and enjoy!“, said Mali Lošinj mayor Ana Kučić, writes Turizmoteka.

"It is our wish to bring our guests almost all gastronomy pleasures the Island of Vitality is known for“, said Dalibor Cvitković, president of Lošinj Tourist Board, referring to the island's nickname.

Learn more about Croatian islands on our TC page.

For more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

VukovART 2021 to Return Art, Culture and Joy to the City of Vukovar

April 20, 2021 - With a five-year tradition already in place, VukovART 2021 promises a month of fun and exciting activities for Vukovar with visual eye candy as souvenirs to last.

A unique concept in the culture and art of Vukovar, the VukovART festival will be held from May 15 all the way to June 15, writes HRTurizam.  

With a five-year tradition, the streets and squares of Vukovar will once again host numerous exhibitions and workshops, debates, children's programs, film, and literary programs, panel discussions, colorful lectures, and concerts. This event, organized by the City of Vukovar and Val Kulture association, co-financed by the European Social fund, promotes Vukovar as a Port of Art, changing the visual identity of the city making it a beautiful place to live. In addition to the local community, tourists also enjoy the eye candy of the city's open-air gallery. Artists Boa Mistura (Spain), BustArt (Switzerland), Jana Brike (Latvia), Mr Woodland (Germany), Victor Splash (Russia), Artez (Serbia), Juandres Vera (Mexico), Kerim Musanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Marion Ruthardt from (Germany), and Croatia's own Forest are ten artists who will come this year to give their contribution to the growing visual content of the city.

The festival will be opened by a beloved Croatian band Vatra (Fire), with performances of Mia Dimšić, musical composition CLUE, and vocal composition Watercolor in the following days too. During every larger event of the festival, „a superb craft scene and street food“ offers will be offered to visitors too. 

VukovArt_-_Art_Harbour.jpg

© VukovArt - Art Harbour

Famous Croatian singer from Psihomodo Pop with a neck in painting as well, Davor Gobac will exhibit his paintings and also host Motivational and Art Workshop for children.

„There will also be an active weekend led by the Vukovar Half Marathon, and for a slightly more relaxing activity, a bicycle race will be organized to tour previous works of art“, says HRTurizam article.

Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dusan Bučan, and Robert Knjaz will host travel lectures and the full program and more details can be found on VukovART official website and on social networks.  

Learn more about Croatia's festivals on our TC page.  

For more about Made in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Over 10, 000 Attend Music Festivals in Sibenik In 2020 - Zero Infections

September 22, 2020 - For six consecutive weeks this summer, the Martinska venue alone welcomed over 10, 000 international visitors to its music festivals in Sibenik. Zero cases of Coronavirus occurred.

Over recent years, three things have firmly placed Croatia on the international stage – Game Of Thrones, the World Cup and music festivals. Running for over a decade now, music festivals are the oldest of these. They have elevated places like Pula and Tisno to become among the most-Googled destinations in the country.

So popular now are Croatia music festivals, that many say the summer season of music festivals in Croatia has supplanted the famous hedonistic holidays of Ibiza as the hippest place to go. Incredible disappointment was therefore felt by tens of thousands of expectant party people earlier this year when most of the international Croatia music festivals decided to cancel their 2020 events. They did so in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

One venue stood alone – Martinska, a 20-year-old site for music festivals in Sibenik. Over six consecutive weeks, all of their 2020 festivals took place. They did so under strict adherence to epidemiological guidelines. And, following a wait of two weeks after the final event (to cover any potential Coronavirus incubation period), site organisers Pozitivan Ritam have released their results - zero cases of Coronavirus.

Seasplash foto Ivan Buvinić.jpg

“It's not only the five festivals and one concert event that we did,” Pozitivan Ritam director Vedran Meniga told TCN, “The Fortress of Culture in Sibenik had more than 30 events this summer and Project Vojarna in Sibenik had two parties this year with over 4000 people. On one RTL television show, they described Sibenik as the Croatian Wuhan when 3000 people were in the town for one techno party there. But, at the end of the season, none of these events resulted in a single Coronavirus infection. Not one.”

Following a successful lockdown earlier in the year, cases of Coronavirus were limited in Croatia at the start of the season. Yet, some were understandably hesitant to come. Music festivals in Sibenik still managed to attract visitors from Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to Martinska. Even after the middle of August when cases began to appear in other regions and international visitor numbers dried up, the festival site was still busy with Croatians and partygoers from near-neighbouring countries. At the end of August, there were no more than five infected persons in Sibenik. None were music festival or music event attendees. Throughout much of the summer, Sibenik recorded zero cases.

Slurp 03 foto Valerio Baranović i Mislav Gelenčir.jpg

“The music festivals in Sibenik are proof that it's possible to work doing events during the era of Corona,” Meniga tells TCN. “Of course, all of our events were open-air and no doubt that helped.”

"When cases started to reappear elsewhere at the end of July, I went to the civil authorities and epidemiologists immediately, before they came to us,” says Vedran. “The civil authorities and the police grant the license for the events. I presented them with a plan and they were satisfied. They allowed us to continue.”

“It helped that Martinska is across the bay from Sibenik. Festival attendees don't even need to go into the town to come, they drive here straight from the Magistrala (Croatian coastal highway). Also, Martinska's capacity is five times bigger than the numbers we were going to cater for. The site can accommodate six to seven thousand. We expected no more than 1500 daily. That was more than enough space to maintain physical distance. We carefully took all contact details for each attendee at the entrance, in case something appeared and we (or authorities) had to later contact people. We also took everyone's temperature. And in addition to the required epidemiological sanitization, we also installed disinfectant pillars at every single point where money or goods exchanged hands. All our staff wore not only masks but also gloves. Four times the civil authorities made surprise visits to the site for inspection along with epidemiologists and police. Each time they were completely satisfied.”

Current forecasts for the Coronavirus response predict that a vaccine will not be available to cover everyone until the autumn of 2021. This has serious implications for at least one more tourist season. Yet, with the incredible achievements seen this summer at Martinska's music festivals in Sibenik, we can all take hope that events, tourism, and even life itself may continue to be enjoyed in the near future, as long as we're all smart about it.

Blast foto Ernest Mazarekić (1).jpg

All photos 2020 Martinska © Seasplash / Pozitivan Ritam. 

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