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22.6.   Freitag23.6.   Samstag24.6.   Sonntag25.6.   Montag26.6.   Dienstag27.6.   Mittwoch28.6.   Donnerstag29.6.   Freitag30.6.   Samstag1.7.   Sonntag2.7.   Montag3.7.   Dienstag4.7.   Mittwoch5.7.   Donnerstag6.7.   Freitag7.7.   Samstag
an der alten WeinrebeBühne Kunst-CampErlebnispark / Art-CampGlavni PlatzGrajski PlatzHalle UnionHauptbühne an der DrauJazzlentJurčkek-BühneLeon Štukelj PlatzMladina-Bühne X Creative UndergroundPoštna StraßeRotovž-BühneSladoLentSlomškov PlatzSpiegelzeltStadtmitteStadtparkStand-Up-BühneSynagogeTrg svobode PlatzVečer-BühneFringe eventslebende HöfeSport-LentStraßentheater


In the last few days, Maribor hosted the conference of the International Festivals & Events Association IFEA - Behind the Scenes of Lent Festival. We got the chance to talk to the president of IFEA Alan Xenius Grige and asked what he feels about the biggest open air festival in Slovenia.

This year, you had the opportunity to taste and experience Festival Lent for the first time. What was your first impression?

I’ve been to Maribor during your festival, about 10 years ago, but it was a business trip and I had to leave soon. So this is my fist Lent experience and I find it amazing how it involves the whole city and citizens. Strolling through Maribor, you can really feel something is happening; people are smiling and are full of new experiences. Local support is the key element of every festival and it is good to see that Maribor and Festival Lent live in each other and with each other.

As far as content and organization goes, I feel some of the biggest European festivals can learn from Lent’s organizers, since they are incredibly successful in managing this large event. And they do it with a smile on their face.

What could Festival Lent learn from other festivals? How could we improve “lenting”?

 It is hard to say because the festival just began and you always need a few days to create the festival spirit. We haven’t discovered any lacks so far and the response of the visitors is positive. Maybe by the end of the festival we would know what could be improved or maybe we won’t’. So far, it looks great! We also must consider that festivals cannot be compared to each other. Certain things are unique to an event and Festival Lent has a lot of those things.

Are those events the things that give a sense of cohesion and unity considering the current economic and political situation in Europe and the world?

We must distinguish between different types of festivals according to their purpose. Some are designed to strengthen local and regional connection, celebrating common culture and things that connect us on the inside, building identity and bringing people closer.. There are also festivals that combine both elements. We support both kinds, since they all have equally important reason for their existence. On the other hand, we remind about knowing what kind of festival you want to create and who it is intended for. Poorly designed purposes and goals destroy the public identity of a festival.

At the moment, there are a lot of festivals in Europe that are trying to create an identity based on tradition and simultaneously connecting culture and creativity. Festivals also develop the political and social thinking about the fact that such festivals do not occur spontaneously, but are the result of hard work and long-term work of people who have decades of experiences. That way, we preserve the identity and culture of an area. However, where such event grows to an extent that it begins to attract tourists, the festival becomes internationally important.

How do festivals in Europe adapt to the financial situation? There are less and less sponsors and the visitors rationally decide about attending such events.

All festivals had to make some changes to adapt to the situation. The responses were different. Some limited their budgets, others focused on a new audience and sponsors, and some increased their investments in development and promotion. Governments and municipalities also respond differently. Most of them realize that the cultural events are even more important during recession since it allows people to relax and have a break from their problems.

In recent years, there is a debate before the beginning of Festival Lent about how it interferes with the daily life of citizens and how they have to adapt during the festival. Are those problems common for all bigger festivals?

There's always someone who does not like such events and is disturbed by them. People live by their own pace and when their routine is interrupted, they become irritated. Of course, some things shouldn’t be tolerated, such as aggression, extensive drinking and inappropriate behaviour. These things don’t belong to any festival, be it local or international. Mostly, the biggest problem is simple resistance towards something new.

Every city should be aware of positive effects, created by big festivals, such as Lent. We are talking about economic inflow that benefits all employees,  immeasurable and irreplaceable cultural potential of thousands of performers that provide the people of Maribor with an insight into their own and other cultures, and social moment that brings people closer together. Just those three reasons should be enough to make the authorities understand the importance of such festival.

 Unfortunately, this is not always enough. Clear and up to date communication with the city and its inhabitants also improves the relationships, as well as respect and willingness to compromise. Some festivals offer free vacation or tickets for people that are disturbed by the festival. As long as the visitors and organizers are open to an agreement and dialogue, there is a solution that benefits both. But when that dialogue is not possible, these people can be a big problem.

    22.6.   Freitag23.6.   Samstag24.6.   Sonntag25.6.   Montag26.6.   Dienstag27.6.   Mittwoch28.6.   Donnerstag29.6.   Freitag30.6.   Samstag1.7.   Sonntag2.7.   Montag3.7.   Dienstag4.7.   Mittwoch5.7.   Donnerstag6.7.   Freitag7.7.   Samstag
    an der alten WeinrebeBühne Kunst-CampErlebnispark / Art-CampGlavni PlatzGrajski PlatzHalle UnionHauptbühne an der DrauJazzlentJurčkek-BühneLeon Štukelj PlatzMladina-Bühne X Creative UndergroundPoštna Straße
    Rotovž-BühneSladoLentSlomškov PlatzSpiegelzeltStadtmitteStadtparkStand-Up-BühneSynagogeTrg svobode PlatzVečer-Bühnelebende HöfeSport-LentStraßentheaterFringe events
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