August 6, 2009

Visit Dubrovnik and Budapest summer festivals

Missing this year? Don't worry, book for for Summer 2010.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dates: 10 July - 25 August 2009

Dubrovnik is one of those towns that has a distinctive break-down on “old” and “new” parts of the city. The old town of Dubrovnik is, as from medieval times, within the walls of a fortress, sitting high above the Adriatic. The fortress overlooks the city’s white rock beaches, and a tourist, wondering around the narrow streets of the old fortress – town, can get a sneak peak on the local women and men hiding between the rocks during the day to get a bit of tan. You can even spot some topless tanners – which for European tourists is not as uncommon as for, let’s say, American tourists.

It’s believed that some of the islands close to the city shores have been bought by riches from the Western European, including some Americans and Canadians. When the land was still inexpensive (in comparison to same “beach” status places of Italy, Greece and Spain – the Mediterranean), some of the entrepreneurs were able to be first to recognize the value of the Serbian and Croatian lands. As a matter of fact, I will talk about acquiring a property in Croatia this month, so stay tuned.

Even though the city is more known for its Old Town, the city’s beaches and history is not the only tourist attraction. Dubrovnik Summer Festival – is the other one.

This year marks the 60th Dubrovnik Summer Festival and each year the festival presents a rich programme of classical music, theatre, opera and dance on more than 70 open - air venues over 47 days in summer.

The idea of the festival was conceived in September 1950 and a decade later a French writer Claude Aveline, who had taken part in the festival wrote how he could not surmise that he was attending "the birth of one of the most glorious festivals of our time". However, the roots of the festival go as far as the Old Town itself with its medieval urban settings of renaissance and baroque. And to keep this renaissance feel to the town, each year the town welcomes performers who bring the artistic endeavors from around the world to share the history of the Croatian lands with its people. The festival received its international acknowledgement in 1993 when the occasion being PEN World Congress in Dubrovnik, Gunduli?s "Dubravka" takes place in front of Rectors palace, for chosen international audience. It was a starry dress rehearsal of the birth of Dubrovnik Summer Festival. But it took horrid expectation in new age martyrdom before the happy moment.

Both history and prehistory from the very first artistic steps of the newborn Festival were at the same time a precious impulse and a limitation. Controversy had been noted a long time ago. And it lasts until nowadays. Because true art will never be a copy of no matter how glorious tradition. The strategy of this obstinacy was written by no other but a sequence of happy festival nights that divined reality. Nights in which Beauty was won.

Many an artist danced the Festival reel. Domestic and foreign. Famous ones and those who will come to fame under Dubrovnik sky. In the course of the half a century names and generations followed each other. But all of them were and always will be enchanted by siren call of the ancient Njarnjas and unrepeatable Dubrovnik, holding in common with its audience, creating at least temporary imaginary Town.

For list of the festival events, click here.

For tickets, click here.

For tourist attractions in Croatia, click here.

Budapest Sziget Festival

Óbuda, Hungary

Dates: August 12 – August 17, 2009

Budapest's Hajógyár Kikötö (Shipyard) - the capital of Hungry – sits on Danube River's Óbudai Island, which in the period of one week becomes the “tent” city when hosting the Sziget Festival.

The Sziget Festival is the Hungary's massive music festival with multiple stages that feature mainstream to madness starting August 12 in 2009. The Sziget Festival kicks off with one concert on "Zero Day," followed by five days of bands like Die Toten Hosen, Snow Patrol, Coldcut, Haydamaky, and big names to be announced (no sign of Gogol Bordello again this year). Off the main stage, wander to the World Music Main Stage, Hammerworld, Wan2 stage, or Party Arena. Festival tickets include a week's camping (starts 8/11) amid at least 50,000 folks.

Budapest's Sziget festival needs little or no introduction as one of Europe's biggest open-air events.

The festival takes over one of the Hungarian capital's islands for a whole mid-summer week and welcomes around 380,000 revellers to dabble in a massively eclectic mix of entertainment.

Iron Maiden, Jamiroquai and Justice were among the big names playing last year. 24 stages and areas host the musical action while the island also plays host to theatre, cinemas, dance halls, high thrill rides and sports facilities including a life-size foosball pitch.

Sziget is also the epitome of the 'European' festival with half of the punters coming from outside of Hungary. Not only is it a musical experience to remember then, it is a cultural one too.

Budapest Ferihegy International Airport is the city's main gateway to Europe. Deli (Southbound), Nyugati (Westbound) and Keleti (Eastbound) stations also provide extensive national and international rail links

For tickets, click here.

If you'd like to share about your experience attending these festivals, and/or you know of the festivals in Croatia and Hungary that you'd like to share with the others, please write to me at

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