Slovenia - Europe's Best Kept Festival Secret

Arts & Culture

Slovenia shares its borders with some major artistic centres and has absorbed a rich diversity

It is unlikely that Slovenia is the first place that springs to your mind upon the mention of a festival, but that’s all the more reason to head for the heart of Europe this year and check out one of the exciting celebrations of culture taking place.  Slovenia shares its borders with the major artistic centres of Italy and Austria, as well as the frontier of Eastern Europe, absorbing a richness of diversity which is reflected in the heaving Slovenia events calendar.

Here at My Guide Slovenia, we’ve compiled a list of the Slovene festivals you’d be sloven to miss.  So get out your diary and enter the following dates…

Fire-eatersFire-eatersFirework displayFirework display

Kurentovanje Carnival

When: 26 Feb – 8 Mar 2011; Where: Ptuj; Price: Free!

We can’t think of a better way to banish the winter blues thAna Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival

When: July 2011; Where: Ljubljana, Maribor; Price: Varies.

For those who don’t know, street theatre is the title given to performances that take place in any outdoor space to a specific audience of no one.  Yes, that man who goes around the world’s major cities painting himself gold and standing really still is, in theory, performing street theatre.  But living statues are only the tip of iceberg.

The Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival began in 1998, with the aim of presenting a diverse variety of street theatre acts in Ljubljana and Maribor, along with individual programmes in Celje, Kranj, Murska Sobota and Nova Gorica.  Festivalgoers can enjoy performances by individuals as well as groups, including pantomime, illusionism, street music, contemporary dance, pyrotechnic displays and circus acts, spanning genres from drama to comedy, ensuring the festival has something for everyone.

 

 

Druga Godba Festival

When: May; Where: Ljubljana; Price: Varies.

Despite its name, Druga Godba Festival has nothing to do with narcotics or religion, though some of the music on offer probably took inspiration from both.  Established in 1984, with the intent to present more obscure genres of music which were being neglected by other festivals, Druga Godba features an exciting and eclectic mix of rock, contemporary jazz and experimental music, along with traditional Slovene folk music.  It was the first festival to introduce reggae to the former Yugoslavia, along with others ethnomusical genres from Europe and beyond.

 

Lent Festival

When: Jun - July 2011; Where: Maribor; Price: Some free.

Don’t worry - this festival has nothing to do with fasting; you can eat as much as you like!  Slovenia’s Lent Festival is actually a celebration of performing arts held in the city of Maribor , attracting half a million visitors to the northeast of the country each year.  Spectators can enjoy a variety of music concerts, comedy acts, folks shows, dance displays and puppet workshops (for the little and big kids among you), in venues ranging from green parks to town squares, as well as a number of locations along the Drava River.  This is one of Slovenia’s most popular festivals.

Lent FestivalLent FestivalLentLent

Beer & Flowers Festival

When: July 2011; Where: Laško; Price: Free!

Not necessarily the two words one would expect to see together on a festival banner, Laško’s Beer & Flowers Festival fortunately places more emphasis on alcohol than it does on plants.  Laško is a Slovenian town whose namesake brewery produces the country’s most popular beer, a fact it exploits during the month of July when beer tents serve local brews alongside traditional Slovene music.  Saturday evenings at the Beer & Flowers festival are particularly buoyant, rounded by a spectacular fireworks display.

 

International Music Festival Bled

When: Jun - July 2011; Where: Bled; Price: Varies.

The seemingly random end of this festival’s title is not the result of someone falling asleep on their keyboard, but is, in fact, the municipality in which the festivities take place.  Bled provides an inspiring backdrop against which to enjoy a fantastic selection of classical music, from recitals and master classes to competitions for young musicians, all of which focus upon the violin and viola.

 

Jazz Festival

When: Jun – July 2011; Where: Ljubljana; Price: EUR 0-14

It does what it says on the tin: jazz.  And it has done so for a long, long time; over 40 years, to be ambiguously exact.  The Jazz Festival has established itself as one of Slovenia’s most exciting and diverse celebrations of culture, featuring the world’s leading European, African and American jazz musicians alongside celebrations of film, photography and poster art.  Many of the events take place in outdoor settings, as well as the Kibla Institution and Satchmo Club in Maribor.

MusiciansMusiciansFestivalFestival

Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival

When: July 2011; Where: Ljubljana, Maribor; Price: Varies.

For those who don’t know, street theatre is the title given to performances that take place in any outdoor space to a specific audience of no one.  Yes, that man who goes around the world’s major cities painting himself gold and standing really still is, in theory, performing street theatre.  But living statues are only the tip of iceberg.

The Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival began in 1998, with the aim of presenting a diverse variety of street theatre acts in Ljubljana and Maribor, along with individual programmes in Celje, Kranj, Murska Sobota and Nova Gorica.  Festivalgoers can enjoy performances by individuals as well as groups, including pantomime, illusionism, street music, contemporary dance, pyrotechnic displays and circus acts, spanning genres from drama to comedy, ensuring the festival has something for everyone.

 

Ljubljana Festival

When: July - August 2011; Where: Ljubljana; Price: Varies.

For just seven weeks a year, the capital of Slovenia is transformed into a bubbling cauldron of cultural activity, hosting anything between 70 and 80 events featuring some of the world’s greatest artists.  Ljubljana Festival, which began in 1953, focuses upon classical music concerts, opera and ballet, and has established itself as the largest festival in Slovenia.

 

Ljubljana International Film Festival

When: Nov 2011; Where: Ljubljana; Price: EUR 4-5

Shortened to LIFFe (we’re baffled by the ‘e’ too), the Ljubljana International Film Festival began in 1990, and has brought the best in international cinema to Slovenia ever since.  The festival features a number of awards, including the Kingfisher, Dragon and Fipresci awards, as well as Best Short Film.

Share Share Share Share Share Share