Lent Festival dominated by small venues & domestic artists

(Photo: Matic Štojs Lomovšek)

The Lent Festival will bring a number of concerts, theatrical shows, dance and other events to the city of Maribor between 22 and 29 August. It will feature jazz and comedy, including stand-up nights, a children’s programme and the Ana Desetnica street theatre.

The festival, which offers several smaller festivals under its wing, usually opens the summer festival season in Maribor, but the corona crisis pushed it to late summer.

The festival organisers had even considered scrapping it altogether, but had eventually changed their minds.

“The city must be given back its vibe and the cultural sector needs to be supported,” Narodni Dom director Vladimir Rukavina told the press on Wednesday.

But events will be held at smaller venues, the focus will be on domestic performers, and strict anti-coronavirus measures will have to be observed, including the wearing of face masks.

Big domestic names such as Siddharta, Elvis Jackson, Vlado Kreslin, Dan D and Lačni Franz will perform at a venue which can take 340 visitors.

There will be no official opening event, the festival will simply kick off with workshops in City Park on Friday morning.

There will also be no Sladolent series with chefs and no fireworks display, as it usually attracts several thousand people. “We just can’t take this risk,” said Rukavina.

The most affected part of Lent will be Folkart, a festival of folk groups from around the world, which will feature only groups from Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary.

It is Folkart, first held in the late 1980s, from which Lent evolved to be first held in 1993. Folkart’s development will be chronicled in a display at the Water Tower.

Rukavina said that fewer visitors are expected this year, and that the festival’s budget is also smaller, at some half a million euro.