Music Lovers are Spoilt for Choice in Slovenia
26.7.2016 | Fiona Thompson
Apart from one or two exceptions, it’s fair to say that Slovenian music is not very well known outside the country. But this doesn’t mean that Slovenians don’t love music: quite the opposite, in fact, as can be seen from the number and variety of music festivals that take place around the country each year. The content ranges from medieval music to the latest dance music with sets from internationally renowned DJs, and everything in between.
There are events that celebrate traditional Slovenian music, others that feature world music and some events that invite an eclectic array of performers from all kinds of genres. Not only do Slovenia’s festivals cover a huge diversity of music types, they also take place in some of the country’s most scenic and interesting locations. Piran is the location for the summer festival that celebrates the work of composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, the coastal town’s most famous son. Concerts take place throughout June, July and August and take place in such venues as the town’s maritime museum, the Franciscan monastery and the historic house in which the composer was born.
Right at the other end of the spectrum is Metaldays, the week-long heavy metal festival that takes place every July near Tolmin in western Slovenia. More than 100 bands are scheduled to play at the event, some coming from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany.
Tolmin is also the location for another international music event in August, this time the Overjam Reggae Festival which takes place against the beautiful backdrop of the Soča Valley. As well as hosting a plethora of stars from the reggae scene, there are activities for the youngest members of the family too.
Those into world music should head to Bled for the Okarina Ethno Festival which takes place every year around the beginning of August. 2016 will see the 27th Okarina Festival and the performers will come from as far and wide as Egypt, Palestine, and South Korea, as well as from Slovenia. Flamenco, jazz, traditional Indian, gypsy and blues will all feature in this year’s programme. Maribor hosts a number of musical events over the course of the year, the most famous being the Lent festival which takes place at the end of June, beginning of July. Several open air stages are erected around the city and in the city’s Mestni Park and other performances take place in a renovated church and the old water tower by the Drava. One stage covers rock music, another jazz and other stages present performances from international folklore artists. Famous names who have played at Lent include Macy Grey, Ray Charles, and BB King.
Each July the town of Laško – most famous for being the site of the brewery for the beer of the same name, and the location of one of Slovenia’s most famous thermal spa resorts – comes alive with the Pivo in Cevtje festival, a hugely popular event which sees Slovenians drink copious quantities of beer and enjoy performances from a range of acts. American rock guitarist Phil X was a hugely popular headline act in 2016.
The Seviqc Brežice Festival has been taking place each year since 1982. This particular musical event runs from June to November and features ‘early music’ – from the medieval period until the 19th century with notable performers from Slovenia and abroad. The performances take part in some stunning locations, most notably several castles in south-eastern Slovenia.
The Ljubljana Jazz Festival is another favourite that draws many fans of the genre from across central and southern Europe. Although it’s not the best known such festival in Europe, it is the oldest having been established in 1960. A variety of jazz styles are represented each year in a series of concerts that take place usually in the Cankarjev dom and the Križanke open-air summer theatre. Among the many famous names to have graced the event are Pat Metheny, Gregory Porter, Bill Frisell and Miles Davis.
This is just a small selection of the many musical events that take place in Slovenia. Whatever your thing, you’re sure to find something of interest, especially during the summertime.