Dev9t 10th – 18th of June 2016.
Dev9t… (in traslation: Nine)
A group of super positive people among all of them are very found of art, music, free spirit and positive energy, last year gather themselves and from genuine enthusiasm started special festival named Dev9t. To be quite honest I didn’t get it strictly like a festival, for me it is more like nine day gathering of like-minded people in which you can be whoever you are without seeing that strange looks on you. For me, Dev9t is totally new dimension on our territory which for most of the people is very strange and this kind of festivals in the world is followed by people who are very special in the most beautiful way. This festival is totally non-binding, non-loading, and completely free as art itself, which he propagates in his full strength.
To compere the last year, this year’s Dev9t has really grown and it seems like the crew of organizers decided to squeeze their teeth (regarding to that goes a fact that that this project doesn’t have any state, city or any cultural sponsorship, which makes him very independent but on the other hand it is 10 times harder for the organizers to keep him going) and make a big step forward. Consequently in the whirlpools of predicted and unpredicted problems they were juggling the situation as best as they could. We live in the time where we are constantly reminded and taught about fears because of we all lose the individuality and beauty of uniqueness and that is why I will always praise the courage like from the example of those people.
The very location of Dev9t is more than unique, it is an long forgotten old brickyard located on the border of one of the Belgrade’s ghetto neighborhoods and even lot of Belgrade people doesn’t know that it is there. Here, we are very spoiled and we all would love to, that all venues are just 10 minutes distance from our houses but for an idea and festival like this on, chosen location is a perfect match. In contrary, nearness of the center of the city would disrupt the uniqueness and give the space to water down the things which are essence of that, much needed, raw shine.
The theme of this year’s artistic program was a “Portal” to which people respond through the contest of the 16th artistic fields. This year’s program had 18 favelas (zones) on which you could find literary everything even the kitchen sink and people on the festival were all connected, very cool, with healthy attitudes, most different life experiences and interests… Skate ramp, special space for dogs where they could hang out and play or even get some dressage, all kinds of lectures about health, body, children’s growing up, how to make a dream catcher, exhibition of paintings, photographs, films, theater performances, a concert choir, vocal bands where you could hear all kinds of different music from gypsies through rock to some totally unique artists and of course unavoidable electronic music of Urban Bug and Barutana mini stages… Beside these, to say regular everyday happenings, festival had two specials put on the stage which was made just for those two occasions, first was worldwide rap rave sensation, Die Antwoord and the second was a performance of one of the most respectable Detroit names Juan Atkins with Belgrade Philharmonic orchestra with conductor Emin Džijan.
Die Antwoord belong to the freaks I really like, no matter that their music belongs to the style of new rave that I don’t follow and if it would be any other artist playing that, I would it avoid in full speed but them, they are something different so I was very excited for having a chance to see them. At the venue gathered really big number of people, it was obvious they are true fans because of the style they were dressed in, various hair colors and for their reactions during the concert, where they were throwing things on the stage but all that comes together and it all looked great. Whole performance really went beyond my expectations, including video, music, the way how they communicated with a crowd, dancing, constantly changing costumes and not giving a damn because of the rain that for the whole time coming in showers.
Second special was world premiere of the performance with Juan Atkins and Belgrade Philharmonic orchestra with conductor Emin Džijan and that was something completely different. The crowd was also different, among all came some of the real followers and lovers of electronic music who I haven’t seen for years and also all the cities „cool crew“ who could not let themselves to miss this and have a blank spot in their posh clubbing CV, but to be honest, this kind of mixture of underground Detroit sound with classical notes of Philharmonic orchestra, for sure is one of the things you shouldn’t miss. Performers didn’t have proper rehearsal because of some major issues so in few tracks we could hear some problems like going out of a beat and I really don’t mean to defend anyone, but because of knowing things about problems they had and regardless of those few tracks… Music really moved me… Like most of the others I was very curious how everything is going to sound and at first I was standing still and picked up all my senses so I don’t miss a sound but in a bit as the other people in the crowed I relaxed myself and dance my heart away. The thing I have noticed which was very cool was that the orchestra crew danced, I mean, while their instrument had a break they were jigging in their chairs, it was more than obvious that they are also having a great time. Sophisticated energy was coming from the stage and the crowd was also giving positive vibes from the curiosity of hearing something new. The person whom I have to give a special notice is conductor Emin Džijan who I had a chance to meet and hang out with during the two days before the concert. Whole Macedonian crew which attended is super positive but Džijan is radiating with beautify positive energy and plus with great sense of humor. I think that everyone could recognize and feel that energy but I want to highlight the moments when he stood out in those un-matching beats, he drove the orchestra not leaving a single space for something more to goes wrong that the one was happening in that moment. I don’t know about you, but I take this performance very seriously because I understand how hard it is to coordinate and composite these two things. So no matter of these few errors, performance was really something to remember and also very important thing is that Belgrade had a privilege to be the first to hear it as a world premiere especially in this kind of environment and this kind of a festival.
Dev9t really stood out whit these two special performances which elevated Belgrade and I also respect that very much because of knowing how much the organizers were trying hard for this to happen.
Let me get back to the festival and some of problems regarding the organization itself… The complains which I could hear of are mostly regarding irregular or false timetables, also the trouble because of the rain so some of the program wasn’t relocated and solved in that kind of way. All that is legitimate and as the people say, the buyer is always right, I know those kind of things disrupt us and in the future, organizers should definitely tune in some of the things, especially things like this which can be resolved before the festival so they have space for resolving an unexpected issues that pops out during the festival.
This is a perfect example from which I would like to point out and share how some things work out here… I don’t know if that is a part of our education or we pull that from communism or whatever, here we are used to rules, timetables, arrangements and boxes and we are not aware of that. I will give an example of some of the things that tried to push things which are irregular for domestic standards, we have Wats bar which works from 6PM until 2AM with all the aspects of having a good fun but people don’t go there before 10PM and there is no way to make them come earlier, also two years ago MAD festival beside night, tried to push daily program with a really cool lineup on which one of the performer was Omar S with a timetable at 6PM and there was around one hundred of us may be less, his sincere admirers. So for the time being we are not there yet… Here, we are simply used to some rules and the main problem is that we are less flexible, we can hardly relax and even harder to adapt. Also, I have my fingers crossed for the young crowd, they are the one who can release the borders, but first they have to perceive the greatness of unconcerned and limitless.
So, the thing what I want to say is that the very idea of festival Dev9t and unavoidable motto #stvarajdalje (create further) is not finishing but continues on the festival also and that is one beautiful thing and creative energy is spread all over the place. During those nine days you can gather friends, bring pets, pick up children or family and go to the venue just to chill or to participate in something from million things or to choose just to observe many things that are going on. To be honest, this kind of project does not need timetables, it is there to expand horizons and if you think that you are fully aware of the things that are going on in that point on all of the favelas, I will say that you are very wrong because even the organizers are in the mode of spread further and eject some new things in a move.
To be honest, everyone in the business also know that all new things takes time especially to make everything functional so I really don’t blame the organizers for this miss out which are minor. The big thing from them is also that they are promoting the festival worldwide during the whole and in favor of that, comes a fact that one of the Dev9t’s special guests was a beautiful person Misa, who came in front of Burning Man crew, also Maxim Reality, one of the singers of The Prodigy had exhibition of his work.
There are many beautiful impressions, different prisms of art, music, lecturers, hobbies all that connected together but still I would like to highlite 3 things which were definitely a must. First among them, Healout favela having such a rich content with lectures from very interesting people with alternative and holistic view of life, various workshops in which one of them had a title, the awakening of love or Misa’s presentation of Burning Man festival. My second special stopping spot was camper Umetnomobil (artmobile) who brought some especially talented artists. One of them was Sergio Lounge, a guy who is using his keyboard instead or like a guitar and he plays and sings unbelievable good music . His performance left me in positive shock and made me thinking how many of these kind of artists exist in Belgrade and I don’t have any idea about it. Third and for sure the most craziest spot was Berberaj favela (barber’s shop), Novi Sad block with non stop circulation of people, where their famous barber was in standby to haircut and shave any guy who had a wish for that no matter if it was during the day or in the night. Beside that, there was a photo exhibition from which you could take a picture with you as a memory and of course bunch of really good music. At the end, on the last morning of Dev9t festival, we close it on this perfect spot all together, no matter who we were or where do we come from or whatever we are doing, we were all one.
During the nine days of my sightseeing, all the time I was expecting that one thing that will circle my review, make a bold point of the whole impression and it really have happened during the last night… When huge wooden 9, which was made during the nine days of Dev9t festival, catches a fire.
People started gathering around that wooden 9, which was located in the central square of the event, surrounded with metal fences. The atmosphere was a bit strange and spooky. Whole happening of the flaming looked as some kind of a mystic show with acrobats on stilts, fire dancers who flamed the barrels around the statue. Artist and one of the founders of the festival, Viktor Kiš, left his personal mark with his performance named “wake up culturally” in which he shows conflict between two mentalities and two passions, a conflict between the person who gave up and the one who still fights. Then, the guys with fan torch in their hands came, started a fire of burning the wooden 9. Cheering and screaming came together with a flame and then I heard something totally unbelievable which I thought it is coming from the speakers, but when I glanced, I saw live choir singing just a little beside. During nine days of shows, music, exhibition, various people, pure fun, smiles and only positive emotions this was the thing that left me voiceless, a perfect ending when while huge wooden 9 is burning a choir is singing Mozart’s Requiem.
Creative Positive Energy above all, love, fun, respect and uniqueness are Dev9t’s sincere goals which single it out from most of the events that are happening here. With all the experience I had, I will say that this festival will shorty become one of the recognizable symbols of Belgrade because it is here to bring back long forgotten human synergy, which we only recollect in some moments of crisis when that is the only choice but it shouldn’t be like that. From that reason Dev9t is not just a festival, it is here to push us toward beautiful energy which we should use in all the rest days of the year.