Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Croatia Music Festivals Return in 2021... including Exit Festival?

November 17, 2020 – After an absence of one season, Croatia music festivals return in 2021. Tickets for some of the biggest events are now on sale and, in today's media, it's suggested Croatia could even host 2021's Exit Festival as it is forced to move from Novi Sad, Serbia. Exit is the biggest music festival in the region.

At the Croatia music festivals site near Tisno, Murter island, 2020 was the quietest summer in almost a decade. Since 2012, the sprawling accommodation and beach complex has played host to Croatia music festivals running consecutively throughout the summer. Each attracting upwards of 5000 international visitors, summers on the beach at The Garden Tisno were one long party of dancing, drinking, partying and music. But, in 2020 everything fell silent.

As reported earlier in Total Croatia News, the festival hosts in Tisno took the opportunity to make improvements to the site in preparation for the return of events. That return is now almost certain to be 2021.

Tickets for the 2021 editions of all the major brands of international Croatia music festivals taking place in Tisno are already on sale. With the full calendar of 2020 Tisno festivals having been cancelled, many attendees have simply held onto their tickets. These tickets are now valid for 2021's rescheduled events. Dimensions, Hospitality On The Beach, Love International, Suncebeat, Outlook Origins, Defected Croatia and Dekmantel Selectors are the festivals already announced for summer 2021 in Tisno.

And far from being a modest return, could 2021 be Croatia's peak year as a host nation? In today's Jutarnji List, it is suggested that Croatia might become the new home for Exit Festival, usually held in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Provisions for workers within the events industry during the pandemic have been met differently across individual nations. In Croatia, the industry-wide crisis was highlighted earlier in 2020 by many famous event venues being lit in red. In Serbia, Exit Festival has incurred debts due to its cancellation and, according to Jutarnji List, the event is faced with losing its workforce due to a lack of financial support.

122774406_10158932491148698_1013880594007771696_o.jpgExit Festival is the largest event of its kind in the region. It is currently held in Novi Sad, Serbia. In 2021, could it become one of the Croatia music festivals? © Exit Festival

One route available to the event organisers is relocating Exit. As its organisers already hold one of the successful Croatia music festivals in Umag, Istria, Jutarnji suggests that Exit could possibly move to Croatia. Before fans of Croatia music festivals get too excited at the prospect, it should be noted that Exit also hold successful events in Montenegro, which is also a very viable alternative host site. And, it should be remembered just how much Exit Festival puts into the local economy - Jutarnji report that, since Exit started, 200 million Euros in tourism has been gained by Serbia from this one event. The article also suggests that Montenegro values Exit 2021 being able to put a potential 30 million Euros into its budget, with the attached value of Montenegro tourism promotion being over one hundred million Euros. It is difficult to imagine such a cash cow so easily being allowed to leave Serbia without financial assistance to Exit being readdressed by Serbian authorities.

A fresh sense of optimism has emerged in recent days, as news of successful COVID-19 vaccines now places the end of the pandemic within sight. However, it could be autumn or winter 2021 before enough people are successfully vaccinated for us all to relax, especially when considering mass gatherings like music festivals. But, as was proved by Croatia music festivals in Sibenik during summer 2020, a template does exist for the successful hosting of large events and music festivals, regardless of the progress of vaccination by summer 2021.

martinska.jpgThe Martinska site for Croatia music festivals hosted over 10, 000 people at events during summer 2020, creating a template by which large scale events can successfully take place while adhering to strict epidemiological guidelines © Seasplash / Pozitivan Ritam

As reported in TCN at the end of this summer, the Martinska music festival site near Sibenik welcomed over 10, 000 festival-goers across their 2020 season. Adhering to the strictest epidemiological guidelines, the festival site recorded zero cases of COVID-19 from its attendees. Whether or not everyone has received a vaccination shot by next summer, and regardless of whether Exit Festival is among them, fans should confidently expect the welcome return of Croatia music festivals in 2021.


Organisers of the Suncebeat festival visit the Croatia music festivals site in Tisno during summer 2020 to see new improvements awaiting those who attend 2021's events

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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Sunday, 16 August 2020

Bosnian Ethno Music Giants Mostar Sevdah Reunion Play In Split Tonight

August 16, 2020 - The world's most-famous contemporary Sevdalinka outfit, Mostar Sevdah Reunion, hold their first concert of the year in Croatia, as part of the 66th Split Summer Festival

The emotion-wracked melodies of the traditional Sevdalinka (or Sevdah) folk music have rung out across Bosnia for over 500 years. But, for the most famous contemporary band playing this style, the music fell silent on New Year's Eve.

That was the final performance by Mostar Sevdah Reunion, whose return to the live circuit has been halted by COVID-19. But, tonight (Sunday 16 August), at 9pm, they return to the stage.

The band will play a concert at 9pm in Sustipan in Split, the peninsula which lies south-west of the harbour, as part of the 66th Split Summer Festival. There, the emotionally-charged sounds of sevdah, sometimes described as the blues or soul music of the Balkans, will once again be set free.

The Balkan region has the richest and most unique range of folk musics in the whole of Europe; nowhere other than here can you hear styles, scales and rhythms from the near and far east infiltrate into European folk music styles. This melting pot of styles grants the region an exciting and diverse range of authentic folk musics, years ahead, in terms of progression and ambition, to other European styles (indeed, there's a reasonable argument to be made that jazz music emanates from Bulgaria and not America). Sevdah is arguably the most emotive of all the traditional folk musics from the area which encompasses the former Yugoslavia. It has fans across the whole region.

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Mostar Sevdah Reunion

Emerging with their debut album in 1999, Mostar Sevdah Reunion have done more than any other contemporary band to place sevdah music on the world stage. They have recorded with true giants of sevdah and Roma music, such as Esma Redzepova, Šaban Bajramović and Ljiljana Buttler. In concert, they have appeared at Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Barbican Center in London, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Kremlin State Theater in Moscow, the Art Palace in Budapest, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Nice Jazz Festival and WOMAD Festival. Mostar Sevdah Reunion have had several documentaries made about them.

The word sevdah comes from the Turkish word sevda which, in turn, derives from the Arabic sawda, a word often associated with a pining heart or unrequited love. Alongside the sevdah music they take their name and inspiration from, over the band's 25+ year career Mostar Sevdah Reunion have become famous for mixing jazz and even Latin styles into their music. In recent years have opened their repertoire to include a classic catalogue of Romani songs.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Goodbye Istria, Hello Dalmatia! Seasplash Festival Moving to Šibenik

As SibenikIN writes on the 16th of January, 2019, the much loved Seasplash Festival is set to move from Istria where it has been held so far, to a brand new location for 2019's festival. Seasplash Festival's seventeen-year long tradition will take to Martinska beach in Šibenik, as the festival's organisers have revealed.

''Situated directly across from the city of Šibenik, on the unique Srima peninsula and at the entrance to Šibenik's harbour, Martinska will open up a new chapter in the history of the festival with its appearance and location. From July the 18th to the 21st, 2019, relaxing in the sun and the sea with the best of domestic and international reggae, dub, drum and bass, jungle, ska and punk is waiting for you at Martinska!,'' Seasplash Festival's organisers state.

Lee "Scratch" Perry, Scientist and Mad Professor - the trinity of still active diva and reggae legends will perform together on the main stage of the 17th Seasplash Festival. Martinska, as the new venue for the festival, will host some of the world's top bass music for its premiere.

Lee "Scratch" Perry, a true Jamaican icon, a music producer and a revolutionary, has the rightful title of one of the most enduring and most original reggae producers and performers of all time. In 2003, Perry won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album, in 2004, Rolling Stone added Perry to the list of the greatest artists of all time, and this year, in the eightieth year of his life, he will perform for the first time at Seasplash Festival. Bob Marley, The Wailers, The Clash, Beastie Boys, Max Romeo, and Adrian Sherwood are just some of the famous names he collaborated with.

After last year's memorable performance, the ingenious dub producer Mad Professor returns to Seasplash Festival. Until the early 90s, Mad Professor and his Ariwa Studio achieved a legendary status with over one hundred albums, world-wide tours and many stars (Depeche Mode, Jamiroquai, Beastie Boys). In the new millennium, with more than 200 released albums, Ariwa created his own soundsystem, with which he travels around the world, to various clubs and festivals.

Earlybird festival tickets for Seasplash Festival are now sold out, and currently tickets are being sold at a price of 249 kuna for the Republic of Croatia and the countries of former Yugoslavia.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

7th Dimensions Festival Takes Pula!

The 7th edition of the popular Dimensons Festival wows Pula once again!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Dimensions Festival Returning to Pula!

In Pula this summer?

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Seasplash Festival Returning to Pula in Summer

In Pula this summer?

Sunday, 18 March 2018

GoatHell Metal Fest 2018 - Pula, Croatia

Metal fan? Head to Pula this summer!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Summer Over? So What!? The Music Continues

So what if summer is over? TCN's Dave Gasson gives us a glimpse at what we can still expect on the music scene, both this year and next!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Dubrovnik Music Wave: Music Festival for All Tastes on Lokrum!

An island music festival with a twist...

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