Conferences and festivals are very important forms for diffusion of knowledge, culture and art, since they give insights into regional or global achievements in one period of time. In the last two decades Balkan Peninsula has become an area with a stunning festival culture. Every year some new music or film festival emerges in Balkans and makes step forward in the process of “festivalisation” of this part of the world.

sziget fest 2

1. SZIGET FESTIVAL (HUNGARY)

Sziget Festival is one of the biggest and the most prominent music events of Europe which was established in the early 90’s. The festival takes place in one beautiful island in the heart of the Hungarian capital Budapest. Sziget offers the variety of music genres, ranging from the biggest names of the international pop and rock scene and electronic music up to metal, folk, jazz, blues, alternative and even classical tunes. Sziget is the only big festival that promotes authentic Roma music. If you are looking for something more than music, you will find theatre and art events within the festival program. One of the coolest things is the river beach, where music fans can chill, relax and enjoy the summer on the Danube River. The location of the festival is great, because Sziget is actually happening in the central area of one of the finest European capitals, where you can find vivid cultural and art scene, stunning old architecture and cool bars. Just to drop a few names of the Sziget 2019 line up: Years & Years, Michal Kiwanuka, Tom Odell, David August, etc…

Facts:

Website: www.szigetfestival.com
Date: 5-11 August 2020
Venue: Hajógyári Island, Budapest, Hungary
Festival passes available from 200 EUR

exit fest serbia

2. EXIT FESTIVAL (SERBIA) & SEA DANCE FESTIVAL (MONTENEGRO)

Annual Exit festival is taking place in Novi Sad, the second largest city of Serbia. One of the most thrilling things that this festival has to offer is the venue itself; seventeen century fortress called Petrovaradin stands on the right bank of the Danube River. Exit festival is happening in the summer and it lasts for 4 nights. The same as the Sziget festival it offers many music genres on approximately 20 stages. The most popular ones are the “Main stage” where the biggest music starts of Rock, Pop and Hip Hop scene perform and the iconic “Dance arena” that hosts the most popular DJs and producers from the global scene and accommodates around 25.000 clubbers. Sunrises on the arena are something that you will remember all your life: great music, visuals, atmosphere, vibe, dancing with folks from all around the globe. After parties are happening at the river beach called“Štrand”, which is the best spot to spend your time during the day. Just to drop a few names of the Exit 2019 line up: Peggy Gou, Boris Brejcha, The Cure, Carl Cox…

Facts:
Website: www.exitfest.org.
Dates: to be announced , Sea Dance Festival
Venue: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia and Buljarica- Budva, Montenegro
Festival passes available from 100 and 50 EUR

Guca fest

Photo by Imre Szabo

3. GUČA (SERBIA)

Guča is the most famous trumpet festival in the world. It is happening in the small town of Guča, which is located near the city of Čačak, about 200 km away from the Serbian capital Belgrade. Nowadays, it became very popular tourist destination. The festival draws music lovers from all over the globe as well as fans of traditional Balkan Music to come and spend a week eating traditional Serbian food, drinking plenty of rakija and dancing on the tables. The festival looks like one big and crowded fair followed by trumpet performances that you are unlikely to catch anywhere else.

“I didn’t know you could play trumpet that way” said Miles Davis, a Guča Festival visitor.

Facts:
Website: www.guca.rs
Date: to be announced
Venue: Guča, Serbianisville jazz festival serbia

4. NIŠVILLE (SERBIA)

Nišville is annual, international jazz music festival, which is taking place in Nis, Serbia. Jazz festival located in the eighteen century fortress of the southern town of Niš usually showcases over 50 bands on several different stages Nišville offers diverse music program, from the soul superstar Solomon Burke and German lounge/latino bend De Phazz to British acid jazz band Incognito, Italian Nicola Conte and prominent regional musicians. Next to Belgrade Jazz Festival this is the most prominent jazz music event in Serbia.

Facts:
Website: www.nisville.com
Date: to be announced                                                                                       

 Venue: Niš fortress, Niš, Serbia                                                                                 

Festival passes available from 30e

5. LOVEFEST 

Lovefest is one of the most up-and-coming music festivals in the region of SEE. It boasts more than affordable prices compared to other music festivals around Europe, as well as a very forward- thinking music selection. Imagine a four-day, non-stop party, with a line-up for 2019 that includes artists such as  Martinez Brothers, Rodhad, Ben Ufo, Jane Fitz and many others. This summer festival takes place in August, in Vrnjacka Banja (Serbia) near the lake and has several dance floors perfect for exploring different electronic music genres. In addition, this is one of the most affordable festivals in this part of the world. 

Facts: 

Website: lovefest.rs
Date: to be announced                                                                                         

Venue: Jezero, Vrnjcka Banja, Serbia                                                                       

Festival passes available from 30e

 

6. SOUTHERN SOUL FESTIVAL

Southern Soul Music festival gathers everything one can desire; one of the most beautiful beaches of Adriatic coast, warm weather, kite surfing, a friendly crowd, great music, affordable prices….several days of this festival will fill you with such positive vibes and energy that you will instantly decide to visit it next year as well. This chilled-out festival on Copacabana Beach on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast takes place in the end of June bringing together over 50 producers, DJs and artists from all around the world playing modern soul, jazz and electronic music. The program of this very appealing and intimate festival starts in the afternoon and goes throughout the night until the crack of dawn. You can enjoy music on several stages overlooking the longest sandy beach in Montenegro. 

Facts:

Website: SouthernSoulFestival

Date: to be announced 

Venue: Copacabana beach, Ulcinj, Montenegro

Festival tickets available from 109 e

sonus festival

7. SONUS (CROATIA)

Another festival dedicated to underground electronic music called Sonus is happening at Zrće beach, in the island of Pag, which is known as  “Croatian Ibiza”. If you prefer islands, sea, cocktails, boat parties, beautiful people this is  definitely a festival for you. Just to drop a few names from this year’s line-up: Ben Klock, Black Coffee, Daniel Avery, I Hate Models…Sonus annually hosts more than 50 international music stars. Partners of the festival are clubs such as Papaya, Kalipso, Aquarius, Noa and festival offers boat parties as well.

Just to note that prices on the island are higher than on other mentioned festivals. Getting to the island of Pag is easy by ferry that you can take from Croatian cities Pula, Zadar or Split.

Facts:
Website: www.sonus-festival.com
Date: to be announced
Venue: Zrće beach, Pag, Croatia
Festival passes available from 200 e

electric castle festival

8. ELECTRIC CASTLE (ROMANIA)

Electric castle is taking place in remarkable-Banffy castle, dating from the Renaissance era. The event is happening near the city of Cluj. To drop a few names from this year’s edition: Florence+Machine, Metric, Lovebirds, Sigma, etc…

Except music, festival focuses on environmental and heritage protection. 

If you are into exotics with a touch of mysteries from Transylvania and good music selection this definitely might  be a festival worth your while.

Facts:
Website: www.electriccastle.ro
Date: to be announced
Venue: Banffy castle, Cluj, Romania
Festival passes available from 70 e.

© Photography by Khris Cowley for Here & Now

9. LOVE INTERNATIONAL

The end of the Garden festival era gave birth to the first edition of Love International. Brand new festival located in a magnificent natural amphitheatre with gently rolling hills leading down to a private bay, a shimmering sandy beach and crystal clear waters.  The site of an undiscovered, secluded paradise just a short walk from the beautiful town of Tisno has a true festival feel, yet maintaining the intimacy all visitors crave. From boat parties to a secret island and open air Barbarellas club, this festival offers a unique liminal experience. Crowd is aged +25 and in the mood for taking advantage of everything this secluded paradise has to offer. This year’s line-up consists of artists such as: Peggy Gou, Young Marco, Vladimir Ivkovic, Optimo and many other DJs and live acts.

Facts:
Website: loveinternationalfestival.com
Date: 15-21 July, 2020
Venue: Tisno, Croatia
Festival passes available from 155 pounds

Syros_Ano_Syros_u_Ermoupolis140707

10. INTERNATIONAL CLASSICAL MUSIC FESTIVAL OF CYCLADES (GREECE)

For the end of this article I want to point out one completely different music festival than the rest I mentioned. It is International Classical Music Festival in Syros, one of the Cyclades islands. It’s no secret that Greece has some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Imagine “paradise island”, endless summer and blue sea followed by the sounds of classical music. This is what you will get if you decide to visit the most prestige classical music event in Aegean. Festival is taking place in the Apollo Theatre of Syros, an architectural masterpiece of the 19th century, which is placed in the centre of the capital town of Syros, Hermoupoulis.

Facts:
Website: www.festivalcyclades.com
Date: to be announced
Venue: Apollo theatre, Syros, Greece
Festival passes available from 15e.