Balkan Trafik! is returning to Brussels for a 13th edition from 24 to 28 April. For the first time, the festival celebrating the culture of the countries of South-East Europe will be held at two venues, BOZAR and VK concerts. With a varied program that includes theatre, literature, cinema, music, graphic arts, gastronomy, street art, workshops and other exclusive encounters. An experience extending over five days that aims to open doors to the culture of the Balkan region to the widest possible public. A unique occasion to feel the region’s artistic and festive energy.
“We are often not aware about what our European community can offer to us in terms of opportunity for a rich, fresh and innovative cultural exchange. We live together on a stone’s throw distance and yet we don’t really know much about each other,“ stated Nicolas Wieërs, founder of the Balkan Trafik festival.
“Balkan Trafik, now in its 13th edition in Brussels, was never just a “music festival”. It is a festival that wants to bring people together thanks to culture, music (from traditional to electronic) but also dance, round tables, circus, cinema, theatre, wine from the region, urban art… Through “Balkan Trafik”, we want to help in overcoming the stereotypes and prejudices about this amazing European region,” added Wieërs.
More than ever, Balkan Trafik! is a European festival that showcases every aspect of the contemporary and traditional creativity of the Balkans. By introducing the public to the diversity of its artists, whether emerging or of international renown, every event will be an invitation to an exchange of experience and shared moments of emotion and celebration. In keeping with the times, the programming is free of prejudice, breaking down barriers between genres to satisfy the curiosity of festival-goers as they discover new means of expression.
A major innovation at this year’s festival is the participation of VK concerts which will be hosting a number of concerts. True to its reputation for pioneering new musical trends, on April 26th the festival is presenting a program of 100% urban music with a concert by the electro-hip-hop band Subcarpaţi, a Balkan Beats© evening, a live DJ set from Tagada and Robert Soko with special guest the Serbian trumpet player Marko Markovic, and Urban Chapter II, an event that puts the spotlight on the best hip-hop artists from the Balkans and Belgium with the presence of Odilon, Frenkie, Elinel, Gloria Boateng, PRIMITIV, Seven, Le D Marksonn, AFO & Psihotrop, etc.
On Saturday April 27th we will be immersing ourselves in the heritage of the Balkans at BOZAR, the Centre for Fine Arts, with many established artists, happenings with dance troupes, musicians, and traditional singers. A legendary billing with the Marko Markovic Brass Band and Boban Markovic and, amongst others, Romano Drom who are celebrating their 20th anniversary, Divanhana & Suzan Kardeş, the Tcha Limberger & trio, Bernard Orchestra.
Cinema, theatre and literature will also be celebrated. As regards cinema, a selection from the “Dealing with the Past” section of the Sarajevo Film Festival will be screened. “Dealing with the Past” is a section created three years ago by the Sarajevo Festival that proposes films which can foster dialogue, awaken consciences and promote peace in a region that is still deeply affected by the Balkan wars. Of the six films, Nebojša Slijepčević’s “Srebenka” was, notably, a prize winner at the Vision of the Real festival and in Sarajevo. This powerful documentary deals with the painful heritage of the war on young generations. On stage, the theatre piece ‘EXIT’ (24.04) will be performed. In the realms of literature, on 25 April the public can meet emerging writers from the former Yugoslavia (Jelena Lengold, Faruk Šehić).
On Sunday, Brussels’ Grand Place will, for the eighth time, be the stage for the Giant Horo, the traditional group dance of the Balkans, a fitting way to bring an end to these five days of celebrations and encounters.
Throughout the festival, artist in residence Rikardo will be working on a large format fresco in central Brussels, as the artist Bozko did in 2018, as a part of the City of Brussels’ Urban Trail.
More than a festival, Balkan Trafik! is a plea for the energy and bravery that is so characteristic of the artists from this region of South-East Europe!
Further details about the event can be found here.