Just as once the ramparts used to protect the city from external enemies, today the foundation of those walls is made of culture. Because culture warms the human soul, penetrates its hidden chambers and shapes the steps along which we advance through life. With written words, images and voices, history has always been prevented from being forgotten, rejoicing, crying, sending off or welcoming. Thus, our city has been welcoming the good weather for 15 years with its herald – the Serbian Festival of World Music. It was held for the first time in Takovo in 2008, and the producer and organizer is our compatriot Slobodan Bojović. Speaking to GMInfo, Slobodan opened up about the festival itself, the challenges they faced during the organization, and the idea that started it.
Are you satisfied with the audience response to this year’s event?
We are very satisfied with the feedback and responses. It was to be expected that the square would be the most crowded at Bajaga’s concert. “Diwanhana” and the music performed by them have an audience in our city and surrounding areas. This year we also had guests from abroad, journalists from Romania, director of the “Transform” festival and others. Of course, it can always be more and better. Personally, I’m a little sorry that more people haven’t come to listen to “World Music Center and Poco Rubato” because they are excellent musicians. I am also sure that our fellow citizens who were at the “Stari Grada” concert last night will find much more, at least at their concert. But the people who came had a great time and we were able to relax a bit.
How long does it take to prepare for such a feast? What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge is the heavy rains and possibly snow in April (laughs). The rain really followed us for years. Once in Takovo, a few hours before the start of the program, a severe storm took away the sights. For the last two years, God has seen us. There are many challenges and the organization is not easy. Still, after all these 15 editions, we have become a good team in which we know who should do what. Furthermore, the municipality, tourist organizations and sponsors have recognized what Serbia world music brings to this city, so it’s easy for us too. Although the festival is made of people, there is always the possibility of something unexpected happening at any time. Sometimes you get the feeling that you are on a roller coaster from which there is no way out until it is all over. And as far as preparations are concerned, we have already started preparing for the 16th festival.
You work and live in Norway, but you decided to hold an event like this in your hometown, not there. what are the reasons?
I do something similar in Norway. I am part of the organization of the world music festival TRANSFORM in Trondheim. And why in your hometown? Maybe because I never wanted to be a stranger in my hometown. Maybe I should have gone earlier to see what Milan has to offer. I’m very attached to it here, I don’t think everything is better out there, but I don’t turn a blind eye to what’s wrong here and what obviously works better out there. Working in the festival is my small contribution to this city and this country.
Rock, ethnic music and blues are mostly promoted in the festival. Can we expect mainstream artists to perform hip hop, rap or country music at any of the upcoming festivals?
Do you mean, for example, Nući, Vojaž or these days the current “Crni Cerak”? Why not. We started the festival with the idea of mixing Serbian and Norwegian world music with the rest of the world. Plus we always have a great name. When you create such an expression, you cannot separate it from the environment in which you work. But not the changes brought about by the times, the tastes and the cultural needs of new generations. We want to talk to everyone.
The festival was held in Takovo for many years, so it was moved to the town square. Can you find the reason?
Because of the digger. Highway construction has started somewhere around our platform. The atmosphere of historical Takovo gave a special charm to the festival, but the town square with the illuminated building of the old mayor’s office was neither with the church, nor with the municipal building and a little above the span between the buildings. Two battles, down to the park, a wide corridor, our stage and a crowd of people singing and smiling… Not bad, is it?
Are you yourself a visitor to the festival and which one?
During the summer, when I’m in Serbia, I go to summer festivals and regular concerts in the area. Besides our Transform there are many festivals in Trondheim.
Selena Filipovic, ginfo.rs