Slovenia is a country of festivals, as almost every major town has at least one. Music, film, theatre, ethnological, culinary, children's festivals, festivals of history, nature... the choice is varied and everyone will find one to their taste.
There are so many festivals in Slovenia that it is really difficult to present them all at once. This time we focus on music, theatre, dance and film festivals as well as those that bring together different art worlds.
- Children's playfulness, joy and enthusiasm are what festivals for children give us. Every year in September, Pika's Festival takes place in Velenje, which delights attendees with musical performances and creative workshops.Photo: Andrej Tarfila/www.slovenia.info
- The Park of Military History in Pivka organises the Military History Festival annually on the third weekend in September. Photo: STA
- The International Wild Flower Festival in Bohinj. At the beginning and end of May you can join guided tours and get to know the richness of alpine flowers in the Bohinj mountains. Photo: Mitja Sodja
- There are as many as 24 gastronomic regions in Slovenia, which means that you will encounter a wide range of flavours. The Open Kitchen is the most popular gastronomic market in Slovenia. You can visit it in Ljubljana, and occasionally also in other Slovenian towns. Photo: Jošt Gantar/www.slovenia.info
- Kurentovanje. Get to know Slovenia’s cultural heritage at Slovenian ethnological festivals. Photo: Vesna Pušnik/STA
- The Jurjevanje festival. Photo: Andrej Tarfila/www.slovenia.info
Both domestic and foreign performers perform at festivals in Slovenia. They are very diverse in terms of genre. Fans of classical, jazz, ethno and electronic music and even heavy metal will get their money's worth.
One of the largest, oldest and most important festivals in the wider region is the Ljubljana Festival, which takes place every summer at Kongresni trg in the centre of Ljubljana. Visitors can enjoy concerts by world-class orchestras and performances by other artists.
The goal of the Imago Sloveniae festival, which is held at various locations across Slovenia, is to bring the finest musical art closer to a wide audience. You can listen to classical, jazz and ethno music in squares, atriums, sacred buildings and in the streets. Often for free.
Jazz lovers will find a very diverse offer of festivals taking place in many of Slovenia's towns. The largest is the legendary Ljubljana Jazz Festival, which is considered to be the oldest of its kind in Europe and every year brings the biggest names to the capital, as well as new musicians from all over. Jazz Cerkno takes place in May, while the summer months are dominated by jazz, when Jazzinty Novo mesto, Jazz Camp Kranj and Jazz Velenje take place. In autumn, you can enjoy the Slovenian Jazz Festival in Ravne na Koroškem.
- In summer, don’t miss the largest Slovenian open-air mass festival in Maribor – the Lent Festival. That's when the whole town comes to life: music, dance, theatre and creative workshops conjure up an unforgettable experience. Photo: Narodni dom archives
- Festival sevicq Brežice is one of the very popular. Photo: Andrej Tarfila/ www.slovenia.info
- The Ljubljana Festival is a renowned and highly ambitious international festival which offers a variety of music, theatre and dance performances by leading international as well as domestic artists. Photo: Andrej Tarfila/www.slovenia.info
Those who want a somewhat different style of music and do not follow the predominant trends are invited to the Druga godba world music festival, which takes place in Ljubljana. Also interesting is the Okarina Festival Bled, which invites you to the surroundings of Lake Bled. Visitors can listen to the sounds of the flute, the unconventional rhythms of percussion instruments, the violin, oriental instruments and voices in languages only few can understand.
Every year, fans of metal, rock, punk, blues and reggae music from all over Europe gather at the confluence of the Soča and Tolminka Rivers. The festivals Metal Days, Punk Rock Holiday and the Overjam International Reggae Festival have a long tradition in the Soča Valley and are visited by up to 15,000 people.
For lovers of older music, the right location is the Radovljica Festival, which takes place in August in the old town. The traditional Maribor Festival impresses visitors with chamber and orchestral music. At the Seviqc Brežice Festival, when the sounds of old musical instruments echo in castles, monasteries and churches throughout Slovenia, visitors can experience the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque.
In early July, the Bled Festival invites you to enjoy classical, jazz and crossover music performances. In the seaside towns of Piran and Koper, you can attend the Tartini Festival in August, an international summer festival of chamber music.
Theatre and dance festivals
The Exodos Festival is the largest and oldest festival of contemporary performing arts in Slovenia as well as in this part of Europe. It is a place where European and global cultures meet. The festival is held every two years.
- In 2021 during Lent and Easter in Škofja Loka you will once again be able to experience a magnificent performance of the Škofja Loka Passion, which summons the spirit of another time. On the occasion of the 300th anniversary of its first recorded mention, the scenes and images of the oldest Slovenian drama, written according to biblical stories, will once again be moving about in the open air. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
- The Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival changes the public space with its art. The festival programme offers circus and dance performances, living statues, installations, workshops, etc. Photo: Andrej Tarfila/www.slovenia.info
Dance lovers should not miss the Gibanica festival. The biennial of Slovenian contemporary dance offers a selection of the best contemporary dance performances by Slovenian producers. Gibanica is considered to be the most important modern dance platform in Slovenia.
Numerous festivals taking place in various Slovenian towns will transport you into the world of the seventh art.
The largest Slovenian film festival, LIFFe in November in Ljubljana, presents selected achievements of world cinema and winners of awards at important festivals. Film screenings, accompanying events at various locations, and domestic and foreign guests are exactly what all film lovers are looking for.
For all those who enjoy summer open-air cinema, the right choice is Films under the Stars at Ljubljana Castle. Kino Otok in the coastal town of Izola is also a true experience.
The Mountain Film Festival on the topics of mountaineering, hiking, climbing, Animateka, which presents animated documentaries, feature films and films for children from Eastern and Central Europe, and the Documentary Film Festival are just some of the film festivals that take place in Slovenia.
A reflection of different arts
The Mladi Levi (Young Lions) Festival brings various artists to Ljubljana in August. It follows innovative approaches in creativity and the interweaving of artistic disciplines.
Mesto žensk (City of Women) focuses on getting to know women's creativity, interconnections, conversations and creating the future. The festival takes place in October.
The Speculum Artium festival of new media culture, which is held in Trbovlje, provides insight into contemporary multimedia creation and experimentation through various installations, computer and internet art and interactive layouts.
The Sajeta Art & Music Festival is a festival that brings together various creative practices and experiences in one place, with music occupying the central stage. In addition, film, multimedia, poetry, sculpture, performances, dance and graphics also find their space.
The largest fine arts festival in Slovenia is the International Festival of Fine Arts, which takes place every autumn in Kranj. The festival features approximately 200 artists from around the world: painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, architects, comic authors and video artists.
Travel around Slovenia, get to know Slovenia's towns and places, and feel the pulse of its festivals. Dance, sing with great artists, and enjoy their creations.
Date: 19. August 2020
Time to read: 2 min