Lent Festival Kicks Off in Maribor
Maribor, 26 June - The biggest summer festival in Maribor will start on Friday, bringing music, arts and recreational events to the city centre for the next two weeks. The festival, which has been extensively revamped form this year, will open with a dance show.
The 23rd edition of the festival will open with the dance production "Hunting Season" at the Minoriti, a Medieval church turned event venue. The majority of the bigger acts will perform in the second half of the festival, between 3 and 11 July.
One of the main changes this year will be the lack of a floating stage on the Drava River due to financial constrains. As a result, the events will be scattered around the city.
The main stage will be shifted on land and will feature concerts by American jazz-fusion guitar players Al di Meiola and Bill Frisell, Brazilian group Bossa Negra and Hamilton de Holland, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela and the international elektro-tango ensemble Plaza Francia.
The traditional Festival Folkart, a section of the Lent events, will be held in Leon Štukelj Square, at the SNG Maribor theatre house and elsewhere around the city, while it will close at one of the open-air stages on 4 July.
The children will still be able to enjoy the Art kamp section of the festival, while the Večer stage will host a number of acclaimed musicians from the region, including blues singer Ana Popović, Serbian band Riblja Čorba and Croatian punk rock band Hladno pivo.
Despite a tight budget, the organisers are promising a diverse and high-quality programme, especially for the families. The budget of the festival is estimated at EUR 750,000, down from last year's EUR 1.2m.
According to head of the organisers Vladimir Rukavina, the festival is important for Maribor's hospitality and tourism sector.
Last year some 500,000 people attended it and the organisers are hoping for a similar turnout this year.