The Summer in Velenje Festival was launched in 1984 under the name Summer Cultural Events in Velenje as one of the first multidisciplinary summer city festivals in Slovenia. Organised and coordinated by the Festival Velenje Public Institute since 2008, it runs a very diverse programme featuring music concerts, film screenings, theatre plays, children-oriented programmes and more. It lasts throughout the summer months, from the end of June to August.
While a part of the programme is organised by the institute itself, a significant portion of it is done in cooperation with other producers. Furthermore, a few other Velenje-based festivals like Kunigunda Festival of Young Cultures, MoZZAJik festival and a Zither festival called “Prešmentane citre” are also incorporated into the wider context of the Summer Cultural Events.
Some of the festival venues are the Velenje Castle, the House of Culture Velenje and its yard, the banks of the Velenje and Škale lake and the many streets and parks of the city.
Festival Velenje Public Institute
The Festival Velenje Public Institute was founded in 2008 as a vehicle to organise, coordinate and promote various cultural institutions and events in the Municipality of Velenje. The institute organises year-long music, theatre and children’s cycles, runs the Kino Velenje and the Puppet and Dance theatre Velenje, sets up regional fairs and is responsible for the biggest children’s festival in Slovenia called Pika’s Festival (named after the Slovene name for the children’s character Pippi Longstocking), the Velenje Summer Festival and quite some other events as well.
From 2016, onward the institute also runs the Velenje Gallery.
Summer Cultural Events are comprised of a vast array of activities, from open-air musical concerts, theatre performances, weekly open-air cinema screenings and puppet plays for children to flea markets and travelogue presentations.
As of the latter, the festival has hosted the likes of the renowned fado singer Lula Pena (PT), the legendary klezmer band The Klezmatics (US), the pop icon Josipa Lisac (HR), the world fusion group The Merry Poppins (AT) as well as a diverse set of Slovene musicians like the singer-songwriter Iztok Mlakar, the popular choir Perpetuum Jazzile, the popular schlager singer Oto Pestner as well as the two local (yet internationally active) jazz musicians, the saxophone player and composer Jure Pukl and the jazz bassist and composer Robert Jukič. Each year it also hosts one of the European youth symphonic orchestras.
A part of the Summer Cultural Events programme is provided by producers from other parts of Slovenia like the Imago Sloveniae and the Seviqc Brežice Festival.