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Gradić Fest is Beginning Today

This year’s Gradić Fest, taking place from 1st to 3rd September in the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress, will be open today with a ceremonial parade of citizens and artists, which will go from Trg Slobode Square to Petrovaradin. The festival’s program, which is expanded compared to the programs of the previous 16 Street Musicians Festivals, 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 parade of citizens and artists is to set off from the center of the city at 8 p.m., and it will be led by Flaach Brass Band from Switzerland, a walking brass orchestra. The visual segment of the parade will be five huge sculptures made of balloons, representing five golden birds which are a symbol of peace on the coat of arms of Petrovaradin. Yesterday, this orchestra surprised people of Novi Sad with its spontaneous flash mob concert in Zmaj Jovina Street, which announced today’s opening of the festival. The opening parade will pass through Modene Street, Mihajla Pupina Boulevard, over the bridge “Petrovaradinska duga”, and Beogradska Street in the Lower Town. Those streets will be closed to traffic from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

After 15 years of organizing the festival in the center of Novi Sad, in 2016 we decided to relocate the festival to the other bank of the Danube and start an initiative to candidate the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress for a position for which it is suited, to transform it from a neglected and forgotten city quarter with baroque buildings into an attractive destination for life, work and tourist visits. After the first year and successful “Awakening of the Lower Town”, the festival has grown and adopted a completely new concept that was called 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, Pop Up, Scenatoria, Suburbium, Fruškać, Happy Trash Production, Ugrip and AAaaa festival. 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.

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 festival’s music program will stay true to the tradition of the Street Musicians Festival and mostly include unknown young artists and bands from Serbia and the region, but also some known bands and musicians, such as Bojana Vunturišević, Bitipatibi, Hornsman Coyote, Mambo Stars and Luke Black. 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 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. 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.

This year, international film festival Cinema City is a part of Gradić Fest and it is celebrating its 10th anniversary. There will be four cinemas, three of which will be in the open, and the film program will be divided into four separate categories. The visitors to the festival will have the opportunity to see the most interesting low-budget films and the works of less known directors, but also the best works of the domestic cinema. Pop Up is bringing a new platform of nightlife and it is made up of Berberaj and Public P, current leaders in the domain of modern urban entertainment in Novi Sad, with VJ and DJ performances, music performances, cabaret, exhibitions and discreet lighting coming from a collection of vintage lamps. The Association UGRIP is offering a walk of the senses through the underground passageways of the Petrovaradin Fortress, where it introduces the visitors to numerous legends that circle around these mystical underground vaults. The Association Suburbium from Petrovaradin is organizing the conference “Traffic in the Lower Town of the Petrovaradin Fortress/From Local to Regional”, with participants from several cities, who will examine the possibilities for adaptation of the traffic in Gradić in the context of preservation of this valuable cultural-historical heritage from the 18th century.

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.

Closing streets to traffic

During all three days of the festival, the following streets in Gradić will be closed to traffic from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.: Beogradska Street, from the bridge to the entrance to the fortress, Štrosmajerova Street, Lisinskog Street and Vladimira Nazora Street. We recommend the visitors to the festival and the inhabitants of the Lower Town to park their cars on the plateau next to the Military Hospital (Vojna bolnica). During the period of traffic shutdown, the vehicles found parked in the streets listed above will be moved to an adequate parking place by a tow-truck, and the car owners will not be fined.

To Gradić by bus or bicycle

The visitors to Gradić Fest will have a free bus line at their disposal on Saturday and Sunday, 2nd and 3rd September, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The bus will go from its starting bus-stop at Trg Slobode Square in front of the Cathedral, to the beginning of Beogradska Street, where it will pick up the passengers wishing to go in the opposite direction. The bus will be in the trademark colors of Gradić Fest, and at the starting bus-stop there will be a mini stage of the Radio AS FM with DJ program.

The visitors who wish to reach the Lower Town by bicycle will be provided with a place where they will be able to lock their bicycles, near Fruškać’s wooden heart with the inscription “Volem” (“I Luv”), on the slant on the right after the bridge.

The festival’s schedule and map at info desk

The festival’s program, with a detailed schedule and map of all events in Gradić, will be available at info desk in Beogradska Street. The visitors will be able to buy the souvenirs of Gradić Fest, t-shirts, badges, magnets and glasses, in the festival’s souvenir shop, which is located near the Belgrade Gate. At the same place, the visitors of all ages can have their faces made-up with decorative face make-up.

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