7 Of The Best Quirky Balkan Festivals

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Balkans Festivals: Where to go and what to know

Welcome to the Balkans, the land of party, laughing and trouble-free philosophy in spite of the harsh weather and not so bright past. People in the Balkans are good in two things: partying and complaining. They mostly complain about not having the time, the money and the energy to party as much as they want. On the contrary, they always find enough of all three to come up with peculiar thematic events and quirky Balkan festivals, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Imagine crazy, cheerful people, all possible flavours of rakia, warm summer sun, breeze from the  mountains, and the smell of salt from the turquoise Adriatic sea…it’s the summer festival season in the Balkans. This area really has it all, and Balkan countries are becoming a favorite summer holiday spot for all the lovers of trendy, quirky festivals out there. Here is a list of 7 of the most unusual, fun and unique Balkan festivals in countries like Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.

1. Goulash Disko Festival, Croatia

Goulash Disko Festival collects the best of the global underground. It’s a five days long party combining electronic beats with traditional tunes, positive vibes and evolution of the easily recognisable Balkan trumpet sound. This collision of creative minds and beautiful souls happens in the middle of the Adriatic sea, in the remote village of Komiza, on Vis iSLAND, one of the most beautiful islands in Croatia.

The awesomeness doesn’t stop there, Goulash Disko Festival is entirely crowdfunded, totally independEnt and A sponsor free festival…a perfect combo of an amazing society, dreamy nature and awe inspiring background music.

Where: Komiza, Vis Island, Croatia

2. WakeUp! Festival, Bulgaria

The main idea of this festival is getting together the thousands of dreamers, ready to wake up from their everyday modern lifestyle while living among nature for a few days. WakeUp! Bulgaria celebrates diversity, nature and spirituality.

Wake Up Festival takes place near the town of Plovdiv every summer and primarily focuses on electronic music, but also celebrates the traditional elements through performances like “nestinarstvo” a traditional Bulgarian fire dancing ritual. Aside from the few days of partying and belonging to an awesome loving society, the festival offers numerous workshops and educational talks.

Where: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

3. Seasplash, Croatia

Seasplash Festival has the longest tradition in Croatia. It’s situated in a magical spot – a medieval fortress Punta Christo near Pula, and offers four days of music on several stages.

Daily music and art programs on the beach, free camping, cultural and sports programs, workshops, a bazaar, chill out zones and much more. The festival is the ideal place for easy-going people who enjoy summer vibes of reggae, dub, drum & bass and ska beats. 

Where: Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia

4. Dev9t Festival, Serbia

Dev9t unique occurrence of street art, music, and performance, in the heart of the Balkans, and Serbian capital, Belgrade. It promotes arts, creativity and creation process during the nine days long workshops and organized activities, in a funky old factory.

This place becomes the home for tremendous amount of creative energy that knows no limits – every form of art is welcome. Visitors enjoy the art as it’s being created, but also numerous conferences, workshops, concerts, performances and parties.

Where: Belgrade, Serbia

5. Elysium Island Festival, Serbia

Elysium Island Festival brings the tropical feel of summer freedom, right in the middle of landlocked Serbia. It  takes place on a peaceful, uninhabited island on the Danube river in Sremski Karlovci.

Elysium Island Festival aims to bring together a global society of like-minded individuals, exploring the planet and themselves. Festival offers a real nature getaway for body, mind and soul through five days of musical,educational, creative, healing and other workshops and events.

Where: Sremski Karlovci, Serbia

6. Refresh Festival, Montenegro

Refresh Festival in Kotor is a ultimate clubbing paradise near the sea. It takes place in the discotheque Maximus in Kotor, and welcomes more than 50 globally renowned  DJs.

The forefront of modern evolution of dance culture, the experimental sounds and trance stage with growing popularity are all the reasons why to spice up your summer holidays with a few days trip to Montenegro.

Where:  Kotor, Montenegro

7. Gradic Fest (ex – Street Performers Festival), Serbia

Street Performers Festival has a 16 years long tradition and this year the event naturally evolved into cultural, social and musical event that aims to change the environment and activate the society.

The festival program includes performances by artists from Serbia and overseas. It offers music performances, film and video projections, art performances, ambient theatre plays, art installations. 

Where: Novi Sad, Serbia

Inspired by all these events and their bigger cousins like EXIT Festival, INmusic Festival, etc. There are more and more festivals going down in each of the Balkan countries every year. While the main theme of the list above is music, and unique atmosphere that these events create, there are many other thematic events like adventure sports gatherings, food festivals, rakia and wine festivals, as well as more traditional events. Whenever you decide to visit the Balkan countries, there is always something going on, and local people will always gladly share their insights about the best events and parties.

And don’t blame them if they complain a little bit, there are just so many quirky Balkan festivals, there is just never enough time and money for all of them.

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Milena Mihajlovic

I am Milena, a helplessly positive person who enjoys traveling, meeting new people and trying new foods and coffees. I'm studying digital production and hope to make documentaries about the intersection of culture and nature one day. I am passionate about hiking, alternative ways of travel, electro sounds and yoga. I write from traveler's perspective because I am one :) Through my writing, I want to put my own experiences into another perspective, and recreate stories and places.


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