International music a part of Gradić Fest’s attractive program
It has been announced today at the media conference held at the City Hall in Novi Sad that this year’s Street Musicians Festival – Gradić Fest – will be held next week, from 1st to 3rd September, in the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress. The festival’s program, which is expanded compared to the previous years, will include music performances, film and video projections, art performances, ambient theatre plays, art installations and space interventions, as well as workshops, conferences, lectures and organized tours of the Lower Town and the underground passageways of the Petrovaradin Fortress.
The international selection within the music program will include interesting solo artists and bands from the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Lebanon. The headliners of this year’s program come from the USA, owing to the help of the U. S. Embassy in Belgrade, as it was the case in five previous years, said the cultural attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Ms Erika Kuenne.
– By helping Gradić Fest and other similar happenings, we wish to share with the Serbian people a part of rich American culture, and this year it will be in its authentic folk form – said Kuenne at the media conference.
The headliner at this year’s Gradić Fest is Christopher Paul Stelling, an authentic American troubadour, who travels in order to play music and sing and sings in order to travel, and who does over 250 concerts a year. He performs his repertoire made up of his own folk songs with expressive singing technique and skillful fingerpicking guitar playing style, accompanied by the other three members of the band, on violin, contrabass and percussions. He will perform at Gradić Fest on Friday September 1st, on the main stage, after the ceremonial parade going from Trg Slobode Square to the Belgrade Gate, which will open Gradić Fest, as is the festival’s tradition.
Swiss Brass Band Flaach and Sean Rooney, a master of balloon sculptures, will be at the head of the parade. The international selection within this year’s music program of Gradić Fest will also include Lebanese band Love and Revenge, whose work joins the traditional music of the Orient with modern matrices; The Trouble Notes, a band of street musicians from Berlin; Renzo Ruggiero, Italian master on two medieval instruments, nyckelharpa and satur; Slovenian performers KUD Ljud; and a duo of extreme acrobats, Les Dudes. The headliners of the local selection within the music program will be Bojana Vunturišević, Bitipatibi, Hornsman Coyote, Mambo Stars and Luke Black, but the local selection will also include other, less known performers from Serbia and the region.
The importance of Gradić Fest for the revitalization of the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress, as well as for the overall tourist offer of Novi Sad, was also pointed out by the president of the City Assembly of Novi Sad, Zdravko Jelušić.
– The Street Musicians Festival and Gradić Fest are becoming Novi Sad’s brands, and their role has been an important one for obtaining the title of European Capital of Culture in 2021. As a city of culture, Novi Sad has acknowledged the importance of this event and has been investing in it for years. The relocation of the festival to the Lower Town is an excellent move, because it contributes to our goal of making the Lower Town, and not only the Petrovaradin Fortress, an appealing destination on the tourist map of Europe – stated Jelušić.
In the meantime, the Street Musicians Festival has grown and adopted a completely new concept, under the name Gradić Fest. It represents joining of the forces, knowledge, experience, ideas and infrastructure of the Street Musicians Festival with those of likeminded partner organizations, such as Cinema City film festival, Pop Up (Berberaj & Public P), Scenatoria, Suburbium, Fruškać, Happy Trash Production, Ugrip and AAaaa festival. The idea of joining forces was born when the Street Musicians Festival relocated to the Lower Town and the festival’s initiative was joined by a big number of associations, festivals and individuals who wanted to participate in the revival of this locality, which had been neglected for years, said the director of the Art Association “Inbox” from Novi Sad and the festival’s organizer, Natali Beljanski Popović.
– After 15 years of organizing the festival in the center of Novi Sad, in 2016 we decided to start an initiative to candidate the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress for a position for which it is suited – the position of a natural extension of Novi Sad’s city center. Since then, the festival has taken place at a new location, striving to get even closer to its basic goals: uplifting the streets and city public spaces that represent a valuable architectural heritage, and also decentralizing the city’s cultural offer and making a special cultural contribution to the local community.
By moving to a new location, the festival offers artists, visitors, local residents, and the city in general a chance to actively take part in the creation of a new and urban environment, a kind that we all want and which is, above all else, necessary to us. The vision of the Lower Town in Petrovaradin as an exciting artistic and tourist quarter and as a natural extension of the pedestrian zone of Novi Sad’s city center will once again become reality during three-day Gradić Fest, when music, film, art and entertainment will all come together on the streets of the Lower Town – said Beljanski Popović.
This year too, the entire program of the festival will be free. Gradić Fest will take place at the following locations: Beogradska Street, Lisinskog Street, Vladimira Nazora Street, Štrosmajerova Street, Trg Vladike Nikolaja Square, Rampin put (the path that goes down form the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Vojvodina to the steps of the Petrovaradin Fortress) and green spaces behind the Belgrade Gate.
The Street Musicians Festival – Gradić Fest – is organized by the Art Association “Inbox” from Novi Sad. The sponsors of the festival are: the city of Novi Sad, the Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information, the U. S. Embassy in Belgrade, and UNIQA Insurance.