Summer pretty much has become the synonym word for festivals. So here are a few suggestions, if you’re planning to visit the Balkans.
The Balkans are known for their warm atmosphere, lively people, cheap and delicious food, and hospitality. With these combined, we have also developed a very rich festival culture, that gathers young people from all parts of the world.
Here’s a short list of six, I would say, the most fun ones of which I have had the chance to be a part, and which I think you should definitely give a shot if you’re traveling by.
Peja is a very culturally rich city in Kosovo, with stunning mountains and beautiful scenery. Each July, through Anibar, Peja hosts seminars, talks, film screenings, and music nights striving to provide more visibility for emerging animation artists. What’s also cool is that Anibar has a camping area for its guests next to Rugova Gorge, while the Peja Lumbardhi river passes to the right of the site, where film screenings and music nights take place. Fun & fresh air combined!
DokuFest is an international documentary and short film festival held in the beautiful and traditional city of Prizren, in Kosovo, held annually in August. Founded in 2002, Dokufest has managed to become one of the most prominent cultural events that attract international and regional artists as well as a diversity of audiences. Films are screened throughout the eight-day festival and accompanied by programs, activities, and workshops in various, beautiful locations, including the city castle. You can imagine the scenery, or you can check out Dokufest for info, dates, and accommodation.
In 2022 Dokufest became a nominating film festival for the European Film Awards in two categories, short film and documentary film.
Exit is one of the most famous summer music festivals, held at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia. Founded in 2000, Exit has twice won the Best Major Festival award at the European Festivals Awards, in 2013 and 2017, and it has also won the Best European Festival award at the UK Festival Awards in 2007. This year, a bit of everything has been announced, from Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Disciples, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and other superstars from diverse music genres. Go check the tickets as well as the accommodation information on Exit’s page itself.
The queen of pop music herself, Dua Lipa has created an annual practice of hosting the famous Sunny Hill Festival in Prishtina, Kosovo. With her, there’s usually a lineup of famous artists who also come to perform throughout the festival nights. Guess what? This year, Dua Lipa will be both in Prishtina and Tirana, during August. And the tickets are ridiculously cheap, so go check them out and see whether you’d rather follow the festival in Kosovo or Albania.
Hear ye, fans of electronic music! Unum festival is one of the most notorious electronic music festivals in the Balkans, which takes place in Shengjin, on the beautiful Albanian coast. Sadly, the festival has ended at the beginning of June, however, I just want to list Unum here, to bring it to your attention for next year. The beach and the music that goes on until the very early hours of the morning, with great company and drinks are an absolute dream. Check out some of this year’s highlights, and certainly, do not miss it next year.
IN Music Festival
If you’re a fan of rock and indie music, then Croatia’s IN Music Festival is the place to be! Held in Croatia’s capital city Zagreb, IN Music Festival yearly brings to the Balkan scene some of the world’s biggest names and performers. IN Music will celebrate its 15th edition this year in 2022 and is expected to take place in the stunning woodland setting of Lake Jarun. A few of Exit’s performers are expected to be there, so check out yourself if your favorite artists will be there as well. The Killers & Deftones in one place. How wicked is that?
Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
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