Monday, 12 July 2021

Sonus Returns to Croatia with Over 40 Headliners for 2022

July 12, 2021 - Sonus returns to Croatia with a packed lineup on Pag next year!

At Sonus, the music runs from dusk till dawn for five days and nights. You dance by the beach, gaze out to sea and have a gorgeous sun beating down from above before the sky turns to flames and darkness falls. After two Covid-enforced years off, one of Europe's most iconic summer festivals finally returns from 21st - 25th August 2022 with its most alluring line-up yet.

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Once again you can expect world-class international guests like a special, mouthwatering back-to-back set between the dream team duo of Ricardo Villalobos and Zip. There will be first-ever Sonus sets from Bulgarian KiNK who plays live, as well as DJ sets from global hitmaker FISHER, UK tastemaker Michael Bibi plus Giorgia Anguili (live), and 999999999. There will be edgy new-school stars like Kobosil, Reinier Zonneveld (live), IMOGEN, and Paula Temple all present forward-thinking techno. Ever reliable global headliners such as Amelie Lens, Sven Väth, and Dixon bring their years of knowledge and skill, and there are more than 30 other names including Loco Dice, Maceo Plex, Patrick Topping, Chris Liebing, ANNA, Rødhåd, Ben Klock, Jamie Jones, Sonja Moonear, Richie Hawtin and Seth Troxler also set to headline. 

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Sonus is presented by Time Warp and We Love Sound. World-renowned for being one of the most carefully considered Summer underground festivals, It always attracts an in-the-know and international audience of real music lovers. This highly anticipated eighth edition will go down across the lively Zrce Beach in Novalja, Croatia. This is a naturalistic haven and untapped beauty spot with a rich array of local cultures and customs and breathtaking scenery as well as plenty of more quiet spots to explore and enjoy between dancing. 

Three coastal clubs Aquarius, Kalypso, and Papaya provide the locations for endless dancing, with world-class sound systems, open-air dance floors, lush sun-loungers, and uninterrupted views of the calming sea and meandering coastline. Of course, you can also expect some famous boat parties for up close and personal parties as you sail atop the twinkling seas. 

 

The countdown is finally on to Sonus 2022. It is a unique five days where classy electronic music, welcoming music lovers and a beautiful location all make for an unforgettable experience. 

Tickets, Accommodation & Information: 

https://www.sonus-festival.com/

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

Friday, 11 June 2021

Event Industry: Platform for Getting Business Back to Normal Created

ZAGREB, 11 June 2021 - The event industry said on Friday that together with the Culture Ministry and the national COVID-19 crisis response team they had created a platform for financial incentives to restart the business of event planning companies.

We are also asking for extended working hours because we think that it isn't possible to start a music event before 9 p.m. due to expected high temperatures, so we are trying to arrange that hospitality establishments can stay open until at least 1 a.m., Darko Tuček said in the press release.

We are working on reducing the required square metres of space per visitor to two for outdoor events and on reducing the mandatory distance between table to two metres, so that it would be easier to organise events.

The Fest company nominated the Jarun Open Air event under the slogan "Get Vaccinated and Have Fun Like Before", thus becoming a precursor to a joint campaign which should emphasise the importance of young people getting vaccinated as the only way for us all to return to normal, it was said.

Jarun Open Air is perceived as a concert zone with the greatest musical artists for all generations and visitors. At the festival, there will be a separate zone for visitors who have recovered from coronavirus, who have been vaccinated or tested, so that they could have fun like before, without keeping their distance or wearing masks.

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

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Niche that Brought Croatian Economy Billions Annually is Failing

March the 14th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the biggest global threat to the event and music industry the world has seen. This industry used to bring the tourism-reliant Croatian economy billions in annual revenue, and now that huge drop is being painfully felt.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the pandemic calls into question the survival of the organisation of concerts and music festivals across Croatia, a business that generated at least 4.5 billion kuna in revenue in the years before this crisis struck. In order to enable Croatian residents and the country´s guests to enjoy this very important part of culture in the future, it is necessary to establish a recovery fund in the field of concert activities, warned the Association of Promo Concert Organisers, whose members have not earned income for a year now.

They noted that concerts and music festivals, since the very announcement of the pandemic, were the first thing to be disabled and will more than likely be the very last thing to come back to life. The problem affects not only them, but also a number of other activities that live off the festivals themselves, from companies which deal with renting out professional stage equipment, to travel companies, security companies, hauliers, and even transport logistics. What once brought the Croatian economy billions without the country itself really having to do much now seems a very distant memory indeed.

"In the year dominated by the pandemic, there was no possibility for the safe organisation of concerts or music festivals in the format that audiences and musicians expect and have come to know so well, but professional concert and festival organisers in Europe were preparing to create preconditions for safe concerts and music festivals in the style of the ¨new normal¨, they pointed out from the association which, as part of the European network of professional organisers of concerts and music festivals, worked on the possibilities of the safe holding of concerts and music festivals during the pandemic.

The Promo Association believes that the recovery fund should provide the necessary liquidity incentive to companies in the concert industry of at least 10 percent of the turnover seen back in pre-pandemic, record 2019 so that Croatia does not simply become a concert desert on the European map.

"The main criterion of the recovery fund should be the strengthening of international competitiveness in order to maintain and improve the concert, club and festival scene with both quality and quantity. The recovery fund should keep the jobs of educated professionals in the concert industry and should also help rental companies,¨ they stated from the association and reminded that the vast majority of EU countries have already supported their concert industry throughout 2020 and will continue to do so in 2021. What gave the Croatian economy billions in annual revenue surely deserves the same.

Meanwhile, research is being carried out on measures by which we might be able to safely hold music festivals even in these dire, depressing pandemic conditions, and in addition to vaccines, rapid coronavirus tests are the most important tool, as we wrote recently.

At the level of the European working group, a study was prepared for the safe holding of music festivals, in the preparation of which, in addition to music professionals, scientists also participated. In addition to the study, scientific research has been conducted in Germany and Spain to test the risk of spreading the infection at concerts and festivals indoors, and research is underway in the Netherlands and Israel to confirm the hypothesis of safe large outdoor events. Further research has been announced in Spain, France and Germany with a larger number of respondents in the audience.

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Friday, 12 March 2021

Could Rapid Tests Save Summer Music Festival Season in Croatia?

 March 12, 2021 - Could rapid antigen tests save the summer music festival season in Croatia? Croatian entertainment experts weigh in. 

Jutarnji List reports that Boris Johnson's opening plan could save Croatia's entertainment industry from bankruptcy this summer, that is, if Croatia implements rapid antigen tests.


Summer is at the door, and, unfortunately, “the next two weeks are still crucial.” It is still uncertain whether there will be any parties during the warmer months and, if so, under what conditions and protocols. However, festival organizers in Croatia and the region are cautiously optimistic. A little over two weeks ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lifting all anti-pandemic measures as early as June, so a wave of festival announcements began.

There is still no vote from the Croatian government, but representatives of some of the most important regional and Croatian festival events had their say. 

"We are in the dark. We still do not have official conditions under which we could work," says Ivan Bušljeta from the Papaya group, which works on the popular Zrće beach.

They have five festivals on hold as part of the summer music festival season in Croatia, including Sonus, Hideout, and Fresh Island.

"These are festivals that would be held in five clubs and would accommodate about three to four thousand people. These are events with a long tradition and good tourists, but we still cannot answer a few key questions. Among them is whether we will be allowed to work all night. It is also important, for example, how much space will have to be provided for each visitor. We are proposing two square meters per person, which would certainly be more in the end, given that Zrće beach has one hundred thousand square meters," says Bušljeta, who has been involved in the work of the Voice of Entrepreneurs since the pandemic, fighting for the rights of employees in the event industry.

Bušljeta says that this year they plan to adhere to measures such as measuring guests' temperature, keeping records of visitors, minimizing the dance floor with bar stools and the like.

"But it is challenging for us to plan anything. We only hear speculations that our work will be banned, which we are appalled by! Our costs are there every day for production, marketing, and the like, and our future is uncertain. Someone from the economic and financial sector of the Government must urgently invite us for a discussion. Without help and instructions, we will all go bankrupt," says Bušljeta, who also says that the practice in other European countries is completely different: Britain, he says, published a timetable for easing measures two weeks ago, and countries like the Netherlands are conducting experiments to determine the behavior of the virus at music events.

When you consider the fact that vaccination is very slow, it is clear that the situation is not great.

"One of the potential solutions is for the state to provide rapid antigen tests for important tourist destinations so that those who arrive are tested already at the station, at the entrance to Zrće, or similar. Also, it would be essential for us to enable the vaccination of our staff," he says, emphasizing once again that without the help of the state, it will be difficult to achieve anything.

Last summer, Vedran Meniga of Positive Rhythm led Martinska in Šibenik, which was the only festival location in Croatia and Europe in the first pandemic summer. Five festivals and one concert were held there, and in 11 working days, i.e., six weekends, about 10,000 festivalgoers attended. The number of infected was - zero.

"We are planning and announcing a new festival season as if everything will take place, similar to last year. Dimensions and Outlook were not held last year because we couldn't welcome foreign tourists, but this time we predict that everything will go according to plan. If the situation remains similar to last year, we predict an increase of about 20 percent of visitors to those ten thousand people from last year," says Meniga. 

"For each weekend, i.e., festival, we asked for a special permit from the Headquarters. We are told that we have the green light for festivals as long as there is no infection at them. We complied with all measures and worked on additional innovations. We set up disinfection points next to each place where transactions occur, paying special attention to the toilets. After the end of all the festivals, we waited another 14 days before submitting the press release. When that incubation period ended, it turned out that there were no infected people either. Also, none of the visitors to the festivals came with a fever," he says.

Outlook, Dimensions, and Seasplash have already been announced, and additional information about Regius, Kanal Fest, Blast, and Slurp! will be released soon. Outlook and Dimensions are being held this year at The Garden Resort in Tisno, and the rest will be held at Martinska in Šibenik. Meniga hopes that the summer Seasplash club in Pula will work and that another version of Slurp! could take place in Istria.

"No one can predict anything, and we all work as if everything will happen. This causes a huge amount of frustration. So many working hours are invested, and everything is uncertain. Planning in our business takes longer than realization. We spend money on salaries and promotions. We invest," says Meniga.

He points out Šibenik as a positive diameter of the city in which more than 50 cultural events were held last year.

"From the International Children's Festival at the beginning of summer to the Festival of Dalmatian Chanson at the end, the number of tourists that passed through Šibenik is approximately equal to the number of inhabitants. And everything went well," he says and adds that in almost all cases, these are events that take place outdoors.

"And those aren't hotspots," he points out.

The epidemiological situation needs to be monitored every day until the summer music festival season in Croatia

"To that extent, there is understanding towards the Headquarters. But most people from the event industry are on the verge of nervous breakdowns and bankruptcy. What is most terrifying are the double standards. While we were under restrictions last year, we witnessed no tourist facilities and that the beaches and supermarkets are full. There are, of course, also religious facilities. These things leave a lump in my throat, especially since risk groups mostly gather in those places," says Meniga and adds that he should be responsible and smart when working, which the festival organizers and their visitors are aware of.

And yet, he is optimistic.

"Until two weeks ago, we did not plan to announce Outlook and Dimensions, but as the British government announced the opening, the Brits began to buy tickets en masse. Both festivals are almost sold out. It still doesn’t guarantee anything, but it instills hope. More than a third of the nation has been vaccinated there, and they expect to reach half the population by summer, covering all vulnerable groups. All in all, we have a whole series of unknowns ahead of us, including covid passports and questions about how performers will travel concerning Brexit. But everything can be agreed upon and resolved. If we succeeded last year when the panic was much greater, we would succeed now," concludes Meniga.

When Boris Johnson announced his plan, the announcements of seven festivals that will take place this year at The Garden Resort in Tisno began.

"People waited patiently for a year to come out and socialize, so Johnson’s statements definitely gave hope. Of course, everything can change, but we are convinced that with the right health and safety protocols we can ensure a safe environment in which people can enjoy the sun, sea, and music," says Nick Colgan from The Garden Resort and notes that "people need it for their souls." He mentions that in Britain, the Love Saves The Day festival, organized by the same people from Love International, sold 19,000 tickets in nine minutes. Colgan believes the music industry will be stronger than ever after opening.

They have already started pre-production for the summer music festival season in Croatia, although they usually start earlier, even in January or February.

"What we need at the moment are instructions and a response from the authorities. We work closely with the local municipality and the tourist board, and we have agreed on assistance with the British Consulate. We need directions because we have more than 20,000 people waiting for their musical vacation," Colgan says.

They are also waiting for an answer as to whether proof of vaccination will be required to enter the festival.

"That's what governments have to say. Most of our visitors come from the UK and have a great chance of getting vaccinated by July. Combined with negative PCR tests before the trip and possible rapid tests at the festival we will be fine. Also, all of our outdoor events are small in capacity, up to 3,500 people," says Colgan.

Will Brexit affect the summer music festival season in Croatia?

"To be honest, for me, it is a mistake of the century, which means complications with bureaucracy and higher travel costs. It’s like we’re traveling back in time. I’m not sure what the new protocols will look like, but I hope they can be processed online," he says.

What more can the Government do to help festivals?

"It is not only about festivals but also about hotels, private accommodation, taxis, restaurants, cafes ... Our events have a huge impact on the economy. We need to allow ourselves to plan. We need a specific timeline to get out of action, which would prevent at least part of our financial risk if we have to cancel the season again. We need the details of this moment! We, for example, plan to employ 120 people over the summer. We should hire them now," Colgan concludes.

Could rapid antigen tests save the summer music festival season in Croatia?  We will have to wait and see. 

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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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

Friday, 25 September 2020

Expect Many English Speaking Visitors to Croatia in 2021, says Google

September 25, 2020 - Croatia is the 14th most searched holiday destination in the world for next year. With over 810, 000 searches on Google, the country should expect a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Aside from the drop in numbers, the country's accessibility and the implementation of epidemiological guidelines, the biggest effect the Coronavirus pandemic had on Croatia's tourist season of 2020 was the change in visitor demographic. The British, Americans, Canadians and Australians largely stayed away. All that looks set to change next year as Google indicates a big return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021.

Over 810, 000 searches have already been made of Croatia as a holiday destination for 2021 on Google, informing that many thousands are already researching or actively planning a trip. Croatia ranked 14th among the most searched for 2021 destinations, trailing slightly behind the likes of Italy, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand, Spain and Greece.

01-4_gradska_centralna_plaza_makarska_tz_makarska.jpgTheir language mostly absent from beautiful Adriatic beaches in 2020, English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 look set to return © Croatian National Tourist Board

The good news for the return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021 was published by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The data has been taken from a period starting not before March 2020. This means that all searches took place in full knowledge of the ongoing Coronavirus and epidemiological situation. English speaking visitors are undeterred.

Iva Bahunek, the head of the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles has not had the easiest of tasks since the pandemic began. Her appointment is a relatively recent one. Nevertheless, she has clearly done an excellent job of promoting Croatia as a destination for American tourists in 2021. She confirmed the trends are correct - that US citizens are ready for international travel again - by analysing data from the large American travel insurance company Squaremouth. 65% of all reservations for next year refer to international destinations.

52331947_10157169672643675_7765862747379597312_n.jpgIva Bahunek accepting her Mediterranean Stars Award for outstanding achievement in promoting Mediterranean tourism, awarded at the 6th Mediterranean Tourism Forum in Malta, 2019. She now heads the Croatian Tourist Board in Los Angeles and analysed data which backs up Google's prediction for a return of English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021

Indications from the British market are the same. Total Croatia News recently published an interview with Vedran Meniga, organiser of a music festival site in Sibenik that successfully hosted over 10, 000 festival-goers in summer 2020. Sadly, they were the only ones who braved it. All of the international music festivals that usually take place on the Croatian coast cancelled their 2020 events.

But, some organisers of these festivals have been seen in Croatia over recent weeks, inspecting improvements to the famous The Garden Tisno festival site, which lies at the approach to Murter island. The festival's hugely popular beach stage has had walls removed, its space widened and now looks very well equipped to take on social distancing advice. Music festivals bring tens of thousands of people to Adriatic beaches each summer and the return of the international events will entice English speaking visitors to Croatia in 2021. On the below video you can see Alex Lowes of the Suncebeat Festival and Nick Colgan of The Garden Tisno recently checking out the new layout of the site in preparation for the return of festivals in 2021.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.

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All photos 2020 Martinska © Seasplash / Pozitivan Ritam. 

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

PHOTOS: Pula Amphitheatre and Zagreb Arena Lit Red for Events Industry

September 3, 2020 - Three of Croatia's most internationally famous venues in the events industry were lit in spectacular red on Monday. Pula amphitheatre, Zagreb Arena and Fort Punta Christo were bathed in light from sunset until after dark

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Three of Croatia's most internationally famous venues used by the events industry were lit in spectacular red on Monday. Pula amphitheatre, Zagreb Arena and Fort Punta Christo, also in Pula were bathed in light from sunset until after dark.

Though the change in appearance was enjoyable and visually impressive, the action was undertaken to send a strong message. It was part of a worldwide campaign to highlight the effects of Coronavirus on the events industry and those who work within it.

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Some of the most famous historical buildings, concert venues and event halls in the world joined the Red Alert campaign and were similarly lit on the same night.

Large public events have been put on hold over most of the world under epidemiological guidelines. Seating arrangements in theatres, conference halls, sports and music halls are simply not compatible with social distancing regulations – many such venues could not make a profit by holding events at 50% capacity.

This has affected millions around the world who work in the events industry, from musicians and performers to technicians, bookers, agents, the media, PR representatives, venue management and general staff. Freelancers operating within the events industry are some of the hardest hit and have had all of their income sources removed completely. Many who operate in the events industry are highly trained and skilled, so diversifying into other industries can be problematic.

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Pula amphitheatre (also known as Pula Arena) is a massively popular open-air venue in warmer months. It holds spectacular opera, ballet and classical music events as well as hosting a film festival. Like Zagreb Arena, it attracts some of the biggest names in pop and rock music. Fort Punta Christo has become famous all over Europe and further over the last decade, thanks to the internationally renowned Outlook and Dimensions festivals. Those events were supposed to take place in Tisno, at The Garden festival site. But, along with seven further festivals due to be held there this year, they chose to cancel in order to safeguard the health of their attendees and locals.

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Fort Punta Christo in Pula is widely known as a host site for international music festivals

The Croatian events industry alone is comprised of 2000 business entities, has more than 12,000 employees, and annually generates HRK 4.5 billion. Autumn/winter 2021 is the soonest estimated point at which large scale events could return to normal. The Red Alert campaign has been undertaken to highlight the plight of the events industry as many sections within it face total collapse if deprived of work until then. 

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All photos © Red Alert

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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.

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