Jazz Cerkno Festival

19. 05. - 21. 05. 2022



Jazz Cerkno

Trg prekomorskih brigad 1, SI-5282, Cerkno

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Launched in 1996 Jazz Cerkno Festival is an annual international music festival organised by Jazz Cerkno Institute. Festival events take place every May in the “old square” next to Pr Gabrijelu (“At Gabriels”) bar, which also functions as the local social and musical epicentre.

Jazz Cerkno presents various international high-quality music groups and musicians from a wide variety of music genres: contemporary and avant-garde jazz can be heard alongside freely improvised music, imaginative folk music, post-rock and rock-in-opposition – mixing acoustic, electric and electro-acoustic sounds. There are concerts, jam sessions, regular workshops, various exhibitions, among them a regular exhibition of music photography.


In 1996 a group of local music enthusiasts launched the festival which has gradually transformed itself into one of the most important jazz festivals held in Slovenia, next to the jazz festivals in Ljubljana and Maribor. Boštjan Cvek (1964–2015) should be mentioned as a co-founder and spiritus movens of the Jazz Cerkno and Keltika festival, respectively.

Jazz Cerkno Festival started as a domestic music event squeezed into a small but vivid room in the bar. At the beginning, the programme primarily centred around Slovene groups and performers. The big break-through in every way possible – organisational, musical and social – came in 2000 when the event moved outdoors, out of town, and under a tent. For the first time the programme gained a real international character, marked particularly by a free energetic concert by the trio Brotzmann/Ludi/Hano. In many ways the impact of the powerful trio paved the way for further considerations about the programme, the nature of the event, and its location.

Finally, in 2003 the festival moved back to the town of Cerkno and for the first time took place in the “old square”. The 3-day event is well-known for its relaxed atmosphere, intimacy, good and knowledgeable crowd of 300–400 people and some local particularities.


Artists appearing at Jazz Cerkno Festival since 1996 include Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustafsson, Steven Bernstein and SEX MOB, Fred Frith, Francesco Cusa, Myra Melford, Aki Takase, Paul Lovens, Eugene Chadbourne, Rudi Mahall, Larry Ochs, Mia Masaoka, Werner Ludi, Antonio Marangolo, Ares Tavolazzi, Bobby Previte, Bojan Zulfirkarpašić, Elliott Sharp, Marc Ducret, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Han Bennink, Marco Cappelli, Joëlle Léandre, Sebi Tramontana, Zlatko Kaučič, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Evan Parker, Bratko Bibič, Damir Imamović, The Electrics, Cyro Baptista, Žoambo Žoet Workestrao, Atomic and Milko Lazar, as well as the photographer Žiga Koritnik, known for his music photography.


Jazz Cerkno Institute also organises a series of regular concerts under the umbrella of the Keltika International Festival, held in Cerkno throughout the whole year. It is a “never-ending” festival of various music, ranging from new jazz to alternative rock, especially younger Slovene non-orthodox and non-established rock bands.


Maribor Theatre Festival

30. 05. - 12. 06. 2022



Festival Borštnikovo srečanje

Slovenska 27 SI-2000, Maribor

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Every autumn since 1966, various Slovene theatres have met in Maribor at the Maribor Theatre Festival (its Slovene name being Borštnikovo srečanje), organised by and held at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor. This most prestigious theatre event is the largest annual review of Slovene theatre production. The festival awards the Borštnik Ring, the highest accolade for theatre actors in Slovenia, further Borštnik Awards are bestowed for best achievements in directing, acting, and other categories.

To honour individual Borštnik Ring recipients, the festival launched a book series devoted to the work and lives of laureates in 2017.


The festival took place for the first time in 1966 under the name Slovene Drama Week and was re-named the Borštnik Meeting in 1972 (today its Slovene name is still Festival Borštnikovo srečanje, but it has come to be known as the Maribor Theatre Festival in English). Prior to 1990, the festival was also held in other Slovene towns; in the 1990s there were several unsuccessful attempts to move the festival from Maribor to Ljubljana. Until 1992, all professional Slovene theatres presented at least one production at the festival’s competition programme, with independent productions appearing only in the off-programme. Subsequently, the selection became more rigorous, including only the most representative theatre productions. The 1990s saw the protest of numerous independent theatre producers and makers, arguing that with the festival’s existing conceptually-closed orientation, it did not present the actual theatre production nor acknowledge the variety of aesthetics, poetics, approaches, and procedures.

On its 45th anniversary, the festival was reorganised and internationalised. In addition to the selected Slovene performances by repertory theatres from Maribor, Ljubljana, Nova Gorica, Celje, Kranj, Ptuj, Koper, and Trieste, as well as by a few independent theatre producers, the festival’s programme featured international performances. A special showcase selection addressed international professionals who also participated in debates and symposia.

Since 1994, the selector of the festival has a two-year mandate. The jury usually comprises four to five persons (critics, directors, writers, theorists, artists, etc.). The Borštnik Ring Award recipient is selected by a different jury.

The festival is named after Ignacij Borštnik (1858–1919), director, actor, playwright, translator and the founder of the Slovene artistic theatre. He was the first Slovene theatre director in the modern sense of the word and a master craftsman of the most demanding roles, especially from turn-of-the-century modernist realism.


Each year, around 10 new performances are presented in the selected competition programme of the Maribor Theatre Festival. These stagings compete for the following Borštnik Awards: best performance (Borštnik Grand Prix), best director, best actor, best young actor, other achievements (set design, costume design, lighting design, musical score, and other artistic categories), plus a special jury award. The award of the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia for the best performance in the previous season is also presented.

The accompanying non-competitive programme consists of interesting performances of the previous season, often created by a younger generation of authors, whose innovative approaches to creating performances challenge the established concepts and boundaries of theatre, as well as performances by as international artists and theatre houses.

The Maribor Theatre Festival also presents the annual production of the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) and has recently started running an international student programme.

International symposia and conferences

Each year the festival cooperates closely with the Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers of Slovenia in the organisation of conferences, symposia, round tables, workshops, seminars and talks, dedicated to relevant topics, such as festival production, criticism, dramaturgy, archiving, intercultural exchange, etc. The festival has also hosted several international symposia and conferences, which were prepared with international partners, such as the International Theatre Institute (ITI) or the international network of theatre critics AICT/IATC.


Digital collections (photo galleries) presenting outstanding authors (e.g., actors who won the Borštnik Ring Award) were compiled by the Slovenian Theatre Institute in collaboration with the institute Novi zato., Prodok teater TV, Slovene theatre houses and regional archives. Further digital galleries present some of the recent Grand Prix performances, referential documentary photos, video and audio excerpts which are accessible to the wider public on the – Slovene theatre portal.

Contemporary European Drama book collection

To bridge the gap to the international space and open communication with it, the festival has devoted special attention to the playwriting and theatre of a selected country. To this purpose, the Contemporary European Drama book collection was launched in 2011, which brought translations of contemporary plays written by authors coming from Finland, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Holland, Spain and Slovakia.

Outdoor Venues

Lighting Guerrilla Festival

23. 05. - 18. 06. 2022



Svetlobna gverila

Trg francoske revolucije 7, Ljubljana

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First held in 2008, the Lighting Guerrilla is a quite special festival that explores, elaborates and sheds light on the myriad relations between light, the public space and the ‘confines’ of the gallery walls. Initiated a year earlier as a workshop at the festival “Lighting Detectives” (Detektivi svetlobe), it is founded and run by Strip Core, otherwise predominately active as the comic art section of Forum Ljubljana.

The festival is well known for its luminous, site-specific ‘exhibition objects’ presented at several public locations, mainly in Ljubljana; its streets and gardens, the Ljubljanica bridges and quays, the French Revolution Square, the Tivoli Park, etc. By way of exhibitions, installations, workshops and performances, each year’s programme is dedicated to a certain topic – among them the concept of shimmering, the functioning of darkness, and the role of light in shaping the urban experience.

Venues, locations and collaborations

Being a festival that explicitly uses and transforms the ‘matter’ of public space, it is spatially very dispersed and as such collaborates with a number of venues like the Vžigalica Gallery, the Tovarna Rog, the SCCA-Ljubljana Centre for Contemporary Arts, Kino Šiška, the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, RogLab, Španski borci Culture Centre, Cirkulacija 2, the Slovene Academy of Science and Arts, the International Centre of Graphic Arts, etc.

It is also sometimes venturing outside of Ljubljana, having its pre- and post-festival stops at the Simulaker Gallery in Novo Mesto, the Centralna postaja in Maribor, the [[Hrastnik Cultural Centre] and some other places.

The festival has closely collaborated with institutions and festivals like the Spring Festival, the Strictly Analog Festival, the Exodos International Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, the Faculty of Architecture, the Museum of Architecture and Design, etc. It is part of the international project Spectrum 14|15.

The invited artists

Both the local as well as international artists and producers are invited, in fact rather many of them. Some of them were Tim Etchells (UK), Max Sudhues (DE), Mirko Malle and AAI (AT/SI/world), Artificiel (CA), Maro Avrabou, Matthieu Tercieux, Dimitri Xenakis, Bernard Murigneux, Benedetto Bufalino (FR), Laurenz Theinert (DE) and Sophie Guyot (CZ), NatanEsku, Tilen Sepič, Aleksandra Stratimirović, Marko A. Kovačič and the KUD Ljud collective.

Cultural Centres

Big Architecture Festival

5. 05. - 5. 05. 2022



Big Arhitektura

Dunajska cesta 123 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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First held in 2008, the Big Architecture Festival is an international architectural event managed by Zavod Big – Center for creative economy of Southeast Europe, originally known simply as Zavod Big, these days as BIG SEE. In 2018, with the ambitious transformation of the organiser into a creative hub serving the broader Southeast Europe (SEE) region, the festival took on a new role. It now takes place twice a year, in May and October. The May event highlights architecture’s relationship not only to design but to the economy and culture of the region and beyond; the October event happens during the Month of Design and is devoted to interiors. (The spring event for 2020 was shifted to October.)

The festival now hosts a broad range of events – predominantly educational – aimed at promoting, researching and evaluating architecture in the Southeast Europe region. Billed as something of a hybrid trade fair/festival, it also features activities and presentations that put architects and interior designers in direct contact with engineering companies, construction manufacturers and other stakeholders from the private sector. Each event culminates in a ceremony announcing the BigSEE Awards for Architecture and Interior Design, respectively.


In its current form, the Big Architecture Festival features a wide variety of activities aimed at establishing a multi-disciplinary flow of best practices to architects and adjacent creators from throughout the region. The leading event of its kind in Southeast Europe, it gives forward-thinking architects, building professionals and other decision-makers an opportunity to experience and learn about new materials, innovative technologies and advanced techniques.

The festival also features a number of lectures and other educational events with a regional focus. For example, the 2019 edition of the festival hosted a lecture by Montenegrin curator Dijana Vučinić on the public/private divide in architecture with a focus on the specific historical situation surrounding tenders and competitions in Southeast Europe.

In the broader framework of the Month of Design, attendees of the October event can also visit virtual pavilions representing each of the 19 countries of the region. The pavilions present a curated synthesis of creativity from each country that encompasses not only architecture and interior design but also visual design, product design, wood design and tourist design.


Beginning in 2009, the Big Architecture Festival culminated in the presentation of the Hiše Awards (hiše means “houses”). Presented each year in conjunction with the award’s namesake, Hiše magazine, the award recognised several outstanding examples of home architecture from throughout the world. The winning works were given an exhibition at the festival and a dedicated issue of Hiše magazine.

With the overhaul that saw event organiser Zavod Big become BIG SEE and assume a leading role in the creative scene of the Southeast Europe region, the Hiše Awards were discontinued. In their place, the Big SEE Awards, a range of awards presented to creators from the 19 countries of the Southeast Europe region for outstanding achievements in a number of architecture and design fields, were introduced. Since 2018, the BIG SEE Awards for Architecture and Interior Design have been presented in the framework of Big Architecture Festival.

In 2019, Big SEE also introduced the BIG SEE Architectural Visionary Award, a lifetime achievement award presented to the most impactful architects and architectural thinkers in the region. Recipients to date include architect and deputy mayor of Ljubljana Janez Kozelj, renowned Croatian architect and theorist Andrija Rusan and Montenegrin curator Dijana Vučinić.


As a follow-up to each edition of the Big Architecture Festival, the Month of Design and the BigSEE Awards, BIG SEE publishes the BigSEE Report, a comprehensive atlas featuring the award-winning projects and interviews with their creators as well as reports from the year’s events. It’s a “must-SEE” for anyone working in these industries and interested in what is happening at the cutting edge.


International Ceramics Triennial Unicum

15. 05. - 30. 09. 2023



Mednarodni trienale keramike Unicum

Komenskega 8 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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The first International Ceramics Triennial Unicum kicked off in 2009 with the central exhibition in the National Museum of Slovenia. Established within the Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU) the triennial is dedicated to contemporary ceramic arts and strives to popularise this medium among the Slovene and international audience. Its core event is the exhibition of the works selected on the basis of an international competition. The call is released a year prior to the triennial. The programme also includes an exhibition of selected works by the students of art schools and academies and accompanying curated events on various locations throughout Slovenia. In 2012 the main exhibition took place in the Betnava Mansion on the outskirts of Maribor and in 2015 it will be hosted again by the National Museum of Slovenia.



Drama Festival

25. 05. - 1. 06. 2019



Drama Festival

Erjavčeva 1 SI-1000, Ljubljana

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Launched in 2014 by the Slovene National Theatre Drama Ljubljana, the Drama Festival showcases performances of outstanding poetics by some of the best European and Slovenian directors working in the European arena, thereby helping to spread the context of what is local or national in a specific theatre culture.

The programme comprises selected productions of Slovene theatre houses and intriguing performances by international theatres, thus far mainly from the wider region. In 2019 the festival introduced the Audience Award for the best production.

Next to post-performance talks with actors and directors, panel discussions and round tables are organised addressing the issues and themes opened up by the festival’s performances.

An evening concert programme takes place in the Drama Café and in the garden behind the Drama, with selections of refreshing music by composers frequently working in theatre: Boštjan Gombač, Mitja Vrhovnik Smrekar, Laren Polič Zdravič or Aldo Kumar.