About Street Musicians Festival
The festival does not only welcome artists whose street performances are their way of life, but authors who wish to assert their art through their desire and ambition. The idea not to divide artists between “street” and “established” arrives from our belief that art always belongs to the streets, regardless of the phase it is going through. Thus, the Street Musicians Festival is the only event that brings together world class musicians, and absolute amateurs all to one place! Since the start of the millennium the capital of Vojvodina has emerged on the map of annual gathering of street art, and has been visited by renowned international street musicians, as well as artists who perform at other prestigious festivals across Europe, and beyond. Thus, artists bring culture and the spirit of their native surroundings to the region, only to exchange it with the local population, and the artists they encounter, who truly appreciate street art.
The Street Musicians Festival was held for the first time in 2001. Since then, the festival has been organized regularly each year, every September, under the same principles of street art adopted during its first year. The old city center with its age-old streets and squares was made for such an event, while stages remained in the street – in line with passersby, seductively drawing the attention of entire generations. From its beginning, the program has been divided into two segments – the local and international scene. Since then, and to this day, the art director of the festival has been Aleksandar Carić, a household name on the international street performance scene. This son of Novi Sad has been living and working for years in Italy and Portugal, and is an active street performer himself, with a serious background experience behind him, working for these sort of festivals across the world. During the last 11 years, due to his contacts and artistic standards Novi Sad has welcomed numerous, renowned street artists from all five continents, including, among others Malabar, Voala, The Von Trolley Quartet, Perpetuum Jazzile, Etoiles De Essaouira, Cosmic Sausages and many more, together a selection of local representatives, as well.
Each year, the colorful lineup of the Street Musicians Festival brings to Novi Sad an ever larger number of tourists, both local, and international. The importance this event holds over tourism is also justified by the Tourist Flower Award, which the Tourist Organization of Serbia awarded the festival in 2007, for outstanding contribution to “cultural events in service of tourism”. Beside its many contributions to the development of tourism, the Street Musicians Festival also retains a strong role in shaping the identity of Novi Sad, and the development of healthy social norms and social cohesion. Because of its attractive program, and the great commitment of the organizational team, the Street Musicians Festival during its three days is attended by over 70,000 visitors each year, and ever since its foundation, the entire program has always been completely free. Tickets don’t exist because we believe art and culture belong to the streets and to everyone.
Simultaneously, in 2009, director and founder of the Festival, Borislav Beljanski, for his entire contribution to art and culture, and the organization of this event, received the prestigious award of the city –the City of Novi Sad’s November Charter.
During the last several years, the Street Musicians Festival has been organized by the Art Association “Inbox” from Novi Sad, which expanded the initial concept of the event, adapting it to modern business and communication tendencies in art and culture of the 21st century. This year we have decided to start an initiative to candidate the Suburbium, Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress, for what rightfully belongs to it – to be a logical and extension of Novi Sad’s city center.
This year the Festival will be held at a new location for another reason – to bring the elemental goals of this event closer to success: the refinement of streets and city public spaces, in general that possess valuable architectural heritage, but also the decentralization of the city’s cultural offer and specific cultural contributions to the local community. For decades, we are faced with a problem: we pass through the Lower Town only to reach the fortress. But, it can be a completely different story! We envision the Suburbium as an elegant little Baroque town on the bank of the Danube, with a spirit and ambience that still preserves, nurtures, and resonates the time whence it was created – the early 18th century. Cozy, tightly-knit houses with their decorated facades and narrow cobbled streets, the magnificent church and its monumental walls, and the renowned Belgrade Gate, all by themselves spark a romantic feeling, impelling art and adventure. It could become a meeting place for artists and fellow craftsmen, a place where refined gourmets gravitate in search of tastes, where new love is born, and first photographs of kids chasing birds are created, where tourists flock not just to climb to the fortress, a place that inspires song. Same as the previous 15 years, the lineup will include performers from Serbia, the region, Europe, America and other geographically distant countries, consisting of musical concerts, performances, ambient plays, film and video projections, artistic installations, public space interventions, but also workshops, conferences, lectures, guided tours… Locations of the festival will be: Belgrade Street, Vladika Nikolaj Square, Štrosmajer Street together with its side alleys, Ramp Road, and the Old Joseph Powder-Mill with its surroundings.
The Street Musicians Festival will this year have a new location, giving a chance to artists, visitors, native residence and the entire city alike, to actively participate in creating a new artistic and urban environment, one which we all want and which is, above all else – necessary.