The 209 square-metre Gustaf Hall, Pekarna is the largest hall at Pekarna Cultural Centre in Maribor. It contains the latest sound equipment and is used mainly as a venue for rock and world music concerts it also hospitably opens the door to other activities in the fields of youth culture, education, interdisciplinary cultural events, workshops, exhibitions, theatre performances, film screenings, lectures, discussions and also serves as a rehearsal space for bands. Its programme is run by the AGD Gustaf (Association for Cultural Activities – Alternative Music Workshop Gustaf), in collaboration with other cultural associations.
The beginnings of the Association for Cultural Activities – Alternative Music Workshop Gustaf (AGD Gustaf) goes back in the late 1980s, when an informal group called “Gustav” was operating in the basements of one of the downtown houses where rehearsal space for young and unsigned bands was located. Due to unsettled formal affairs with the owner of the premises, the Municipality of Maribor, the Association for Cultural Activities was formed in 1992. The tendencies to obtain the rights and conditions for the operation of informal and civil groups the protest festival called Hasta la victoria siempre was held in the city’s central square which was organised by the newly formed AGD Gustaf association. In December 2011, the AGD Gustaf took over the programme of the Gustaf Hall in co-production with the Pekarna Magdalena Network, and since 2013 independently creates the programme of one of the most active cultural spaces in the city.
The Garage Explosion festival is the Gustav Hall’s main signature festival which takes place under this name since 2005. It has emerged from the Hasta la Victoria Siempre festival and is focused mainly on garage rock’n’roll music. The festival hosted many renowned domestic and international bands such as Muškat Hamburg, Res Nullius, Dicky B. Hardy, Tavžntroža, The Bambi Molesters, Damir Avdić, Erotic Biljan & his Heretics, The Morlocks but it also provides opportunities for younger bands to gain stage experiences.
Since 2014 Gustaf hall runs Javni kino which is a festival of films in the public domain and is organized to support free, independent and accessible film distribution. It also organises Gu(d)staf Market which is market for second hand & handmade goods. Gustav Hall also serves as a rehearsal space for underground bands and many now established Maribor bands were born there (Coma Stereo, Muškat Hamburg, Blutwurst, Nina Bulatovix).
Although Gustaf Hall is a space whose range of programme encompasses primarily musical activities the venue shelters many other collectives, interest groups and individuals and provides the conditions and necessary space for the creation and development of independent culture in the city of Maribor.