Avsenik Festival was launched in 2008 as a way to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the legendary Avsenik Ensemble. It is held on a somewhat sporadic basis in Begunje, where the founder of the ensemble Slavko Avsenik (1929–2015) was born and where in recent years he and his family have established a diverse enterprise featuring a music school, a gallery, a publishing house, a museum with a shop and also a restaurant with regular concert evenings.
The festival takes place under a marquee at a nearby meadow and in 3 days (5 in 2008) presents an international line-up of about 30 ensembles, each offering its take on either the music of the Avsenik Ensemble or on the music which they’ve pioneered into the world.
Some of the foreign bands and the musicians that have been invited to the festival include Edith Prock (DE), Kurt und seine Oberkrainer (AU), Denis Novato (IT), Schwarzwald krainer (DE), Lucienne Lončina (GB), Oesch’s die Dritten (CH), Marko Manin (IT), Die Mooskirchner (AU), Hubi (DE), Die neuen Oberkreiner (NL), Die Lustigen 5 (DE), etc. These foreign bands make up the line-up during the first day, with the local ones taking the stage on the next 2 days.
Of the local performers, one could name Jožica Kališnik, Jožica Svete and Alfi Nipič (all of them used to sing in the Avsenik Ensemble), Toti Big Band, Perpetuum Jazzile, Oto Pestner and Pro Anima, Slovenski oktet and the many members of the Avsenik family. The Sašo Avsenik Ensemble – led by Slavko’s grandson – plays there on a daily basis all through the festival.