Šabački Letnji Festival – ŠLF – 29th – 31st of July
Šabac is well known in Serbia for it’s fair but also for 13 years there is a local festival held on Šabac’s fortress. MTV Serbia crew called me to be a member of this year’s organisation team that will upgrade Šabački Letnji Festival (Šabac Summer Festival) also called ŠLF. MTV took over the organisation in a wish to put this festival on a higher lever which was not such an easy job considering that for last 13 years the entrance was free but also for the visitors that was more like a promenade thing than a place for having fun. My part of a job was stage Party Arena which on which I was put on to manage it with a colleague from Šabac and it was of course a stage with electronic music which was located inside the very fortress, the other, Main Stage was located beside it on the meadow. Whole location of the festival is really beautiful , river Sava flows just beside the venue. This was my first meeting with Šabac and I was really pleased with the city and the people which are rather urban.
I arrived to Šabac on the first day of the festival on Friday 29th of July and straight away I jump to location. Positive chaos reigned there and MTV crew was all over the place resolving all planned and unplanned situations. The thing I really want to bold out is that the organization pulled from Belgrade only really necessary things but they tried to involve everything from local as much as they could, in this I consider security, bars and all the local people who could be hired in this matter. Also one very positive thing, there was a camp organized in festival area which was really above regular standards, for example there was no Toi Toi toilets which we all dislike, they had a new toilette container and showers with non stop hot water and for all of you who go to camping, you know that this thing is rarity. Of course, how it goes in Serbia, there were all possible obstructions from the people who didn’t like this new organization of the festival who send all existing inspections so the festival could not be held, but fortunately for all of us, organizers had all legal papers and permissions for everything, so at the end all went onto a good cause of the festival.
14th ŠLF was conceived to last for three days from 29th until 31st of July so the first night of the festival was a crossroad as for the organization team (for all of us) as for the festival itself and it went more than satisfactory. Party Arena thundered with a little bit more commercial sound of electronic music and as I have noticed Šabac’s audience had a really cool reaction. That kind of music is not my cup of tea but I want to single out The Beatshakers which I have listened for the first time and I can tell you they are professionals and I totally get it why they big number of fans and followers. MTV Party Arena, first night’s closing went to young but very popular Ilija Đoković who had a bit hard task to continue after this commercial fellow colleagues but he made his way really good and the crowed stayed until the last beat playing.
As I stayed, first night was a turning point and in this case in highly positive way, so the second night, Saturday the 30th went with a record number of around 8.000 visitors. Šabački Letnji Festival shined in the truest sense and the effort of the whole team was fully paid off, our hearts were full of happiness. Around midnight when Calavera was driving his set just as it should with a great crowed estimation, Party Arena was slightly filling.
After him as headliner for this evening came Martijn Ten Velden and look what happened, also the day before his scheduled set came Darren Emerson and as the atmosphere on the whole festival was beyond positive he came to me around 3 AM and told me, I would like to pick up my usb sticks and play tonight. I said, yes of course, he went on the stage to ask Martijn, came back and said let’s go. Them two played b2b progressive tech house, house in phenomenal atmosphere and surely for an half an hour they went into timetable of next, local DJs but that is normal in those kind of a situations, you have to respect the guests. That morning Party Arena was dancing until 5:30 AM…
As the timetable was a little bit shifted, Lea started earlier but MTV Party Arena was already almost full of her followers. I know that she has a great number of fans all around Serbia but I didn’t expected and I believe she didn’t either this kind of pure fans. One part of her set whole dance floor was shouting Lea Lea and yes I did sound a bit like on the stadium but I can’t hold it against them because it was more than obvious their pure love and how much they waited to hear her. Of course Lea drove her music style and completely justify their respect.
That night after Lea, stage was reserved for Darren Emerson who played harder beats than the night before and that just show his big experience that he has behind him. He completely adjusted to the music style which was the accent of that night and also the crowed that was following it. Considering I had only listened to Darren in his progressive representation I was positively surprised by some tracks that he played also dance floor gave him really good feedback.
The very end of 14th Šabački Letnji Festival and MTV Party Arena was reserved for Marko Nastić who started his set with his new yet unreleased track Rakija 02. When I went to pick him up in the hotel and on our way to the gig, full of positivism, Marko was telling me about this track and when I heard it, it was all clear to me, that track really is top. Whole set was colored in good techno and the fact that party was going until 6 AM, speaks for itself.
Looking at the crowed on both stages during this three days of festival, I will say that Šabac gain the festival as it deserves, which will for sure grow more and more every year. This really was one beautiful start