7. 06. - 9. 06. 2022




Kopališka 3 SI-3320, Velenje

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Lirikonfest Velenje is an annual international poetry festival organised by Velenje Literary Foundation and literary association Velenika. It takes place in spring or early summer; its programme, however, is broadened by poetry readings, Lirikon(fest) Tastings (Lirikon(fest)ove degustacije), which last all year round. Lirikonfest promotes and presents 21st-century literature, its authors, translators and editors. The festival programme comprises approximately 21 literary events accompanied by music, theatre, film, art and dance. Every year, a different theme is put into focus. In the heart of the festival activities are literary readings, editorial and critical interpretations and presentations of Slovene and foreign literary translators.


The traditional Herberstein Literary Meeting of Slovene Writers, launched in 2002, has been a part of Lirikonfest since 2008. It features various symposia on 21st-century literature and current topics. Each year, 21 Slovene and 21 foreign authors, translators, editors and publishers take part in the festival. The magazine Rp. Lirikon21 is dedicated to the festival programme and comprises contributions from the participating authors.

The festival also includes projects for developing and promoting reading among adults and young people “Opening a Book” (Odpiram knjigo) and children “A Chocolate with a Book” (Čokolada s knjigo).


Within the framework of the festival, two biennial accolades are awarded: Lirikonov zlát for outstanding journal translations of 21st-century Slovene poetry into foreign languages and translations of contemporary poetry into Slovenian, and Herbersteinski-lirikonfestov zlát for the best literature essay on the current festival theme.

The international Pretnar Award is presented annually to acknowledge the work of ambassadors of Slovene literature and language abroad. At the ceremony Academy Poetic Slovenia, the Cup of Immortality (Čaša nesmrtnosti) is awarded to honour outstanding oeuvres of poetry or poetic drama for youth by Slovene authors. The awarded authors and translators can participate in international literary residencies in Velenje, Šaleška and Zgornja Savinjska valleys.


Pika’s Festival

10. 09. - 15. 09. 2021



Pikin festival

Titov trg 4 SI-3320 , Velenje

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Established in 1990, Pika’s Festival is the most popular event in Velenje and the largest children’s festival that attracts its audience from all over Slovenia. Although planned from the outset as an event for children, it is also popular with parents and teachers. Since 2008 it has been organised by the newly established municipal Velenje Festival Institute.

The festival is named after the heroine Pippi Longstocking (Swedish Pippi Langstrump, Slovene Pika Nogavička), a fictional character in a series of children’s books created by author Astrid Lindgren. The spirit of Pippi/Pika as an unconventional and extraordinary strong heroine pervades the festival in Velenje, which aims to develop the imaginations of children as well as adults. Humanity and tolerance towards diversity and otherness is also encouraged. The educational component of the project relates to culture as well as ecology, ethnology, anthropology, new media and technologies.

Pika’s Festival features exhibitions, theatre, dance and puppet performances, concerts and workshops. The festival’s programme is a unique combination of Slovene professional (Mladinsko Theatre, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Mini Theatre), amateur (Loški oder Theatre) or local (Celje Dance Forum, Velenje Puppet Theatre) performing groups and artists. It is supported by the Municipality of Velenje but also generates income through donations, sponsorship, grants, and sales.


Summer in Velenje Festival

1. 06. - 12. 08. 2021



Poletje v Velenju

Titov trg 4 SI-3320, Velenje

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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.


Velenje Museum



Muzej Velenje

Ljubljanska cesta 54 3320, Velenje

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Housed in Velenje Castle, the Velenje Museum is a public cultural institution which collects, documents and preserves the cultural heritage of Velenje and the Šaleška Valley. Its diverse collections are displayed in a number of thematic exhibitions. They cover a vast range of historical periods and phenomena including prehistoric times and the remains discovered in the Šaleška Valley from 2 types of mastodons; the development of the modern mining town of Velenje during Socialism; the internationally important African collection gathered by František Foit; Baroque church art; sculptures and designs of Ciril Cesar; contemporary art from the Gorenje Art Collection; authentic interiors from the 1930s, and other ethnological reconstructions of the characteristic vernacular heritage of the Šaleška Valley.

The museum also manages the Kavčnik and Gril homesteads, the WWII memorial sites at Topolšica and Graška gora, the Museum of the Leather Industry in Slovenia, the so-called House of Minerals, and the F-Bunker Gallery, dedicated to photography.


The museum originated in 1957 when the Association of Mining and Metallurgy Engineers and Technicians of Velenje (DRMIT) established the Slovene Coal Mining Museum at the premises. Gradually, the first collections were organised, and at the same time, an intensive renovation of the building was done. In 1966, the permanent exhibition of Coal Mining in Slovenia was presented. However, in 1998, the mining collection was relocated to the authentic setting of the 180-metre-deep Old Shaft (Stari jašek) at Velenje Coal Mine, where it became part of the Coal Mining Museum of Slovenia.

The castle

First mentioned in 1270 as Wellen, Velenje Castle is one of the most well-preserved in Slovenia. During its 740-year history, it has been changed and rebuilt many times, especially in the 16th century, when it was transformed into a Renaissance residence. According to the spirit of the times, various owners have contributed to the diversity of the castle’s look and the Velenje Museum has embraced these differences and incorporated the collections into suitable parts of the castle.

Permanent exhibitions

The northeastern defence tower of Velenje Castle, rearranged into a chapel in 1660, was renovated in 1985 and a collection of Baroque church art (St George in Škale) was installed there. The collection comprises works of well-known sculptors and painters from Štajerska. Particularly eminent are the works of the sculptor Ferdinand Galle from Celje, especially two wooden statues representing St Florian and St George, dressed in Roman military costumes.

Two authentic interiors from the 1930s are the general store and the inn. The general store exhibits original furniture of two shops from the Šalek Valley and about 1,500 different articles from the period. They comprise various cartons, advertising boards, vessels, scales, boxes, textiles, bags, fashion accessories, tobacco products, perfumes, a cash register and even original spices, teas, soap, and detergents. The inn is decorated with original furniture and features a bar, refrigerator, cupboards for glasses and plates, tables, chairs, benches, coat stands, a gramophone and wall paintings. Further smaller items include various soda and soft drink bottles, glasses, beer jugs, wine carafes, beer bottles and crates. Both rooms are arranged to be used functionally.

The archaeological collection presented at Velenje Castle includes the remains of two species of prehistoric elephants discovered in Škale near Velenje in 1964, together with a life-size replica of the animal (Anancus arvernensis). The permanent exhibition The Šalek Valley from the 10th to the 17th Centuries shows the turbulent history in the Middle Ages, the strategic and cultural importance of the town of Velenje’s control over important routes towards the north.

Partisans and the period of WWII can be seen in the Šaleška Valley Between 1941–45, in which the difficult times of the German occupation and the battles of the Slovene 14th Partisan Division are presented. The City that was Called a Miracle, a recently refreshed display, is dedicated to the period 1945–1960 and portrays the times of rapid industrialisation which spurred the growth of the town.

African Collection of František Foit

The notable exhibition African Collection of František Foit is another impressive attraction, featuring the collection of the Czech academic sculptor. It was acquired in 1971 and comprises African vessels, masks, puppets, Foit’s sculptures and portraits as well as his audio recordings. Foit moved to Velenje after 25 years of living and researching in Africa but tragically died soon after in a traffic accident when accompanying the transfer of his collection to Velenje. His widow, however, stayed in Velenje until 1995 when she moved back to Czech Republic.

Velenje Museum branches

The museum manages several dislocated museum units. The Kavčnik Homestead in Zavodnje near Šoštanj, the Memorial Room at Topolšica dedicated to the capitulation of German military forces of south-east Europe that was signed to Partisans in Topolšica spa resort on 9 May 1945. The Memorial Room at Graška Gora is consecrated to the combats of the legendary 14th Partisan Division. The biggest unit is the Museum of the Leather Industry in Slovenia, established in 2009 in the former leather factory.

Youth Centres

Velenje Youth Centre



Mladinski center Velenje (MC Velenje)

Šaleška cesta 3 3320, Velenje

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Velenje Youth Centre runs a regular programme of performing arts, intermedia arts, literature and visual arts activities with the aim of informing, imparting knowledge and experience, developing positive values and encouraging free-time social gathering by children and youth, especially the young unemployed. Self-recognition and confirmation, tolerance and creativity is encouraged through a range of team activities.

The Centre incorporates a Gallery where the visitors are afforded the opportunity to relate to various forms of art, and an Auditorium which hosts a unique concert series – the only one of its kind in the region – which endeavours to link alternative forms of music with ways of expression and pleasure. Rock and jazz is currently being explored with the participation of both local and foreign musicians. Since 2010 the MC Velenje manages also the centre of alternative music in Velenje and a popular hangout place, the Klub eMCe plac.

The Centre also accommodates the Kunigunda Regional Multimedia Centre (KRMC), part of the M3C Multimedia Centres Network of Slovenia which covers the Savinja (River) Region in East Slovenia.

Since 2000 Velenje Youth Centre has collaborated with the Šaleški študentski klub (the local student club) in the organisation of the Kunigunda Festival of Young Cultures. All entertainment is free of charge.

Creative Jazz Clinic Velenje

16. 08. - 21. 08. 2021



Kreativna jazz klinika Velenje

Cesta II/27 SI-3320, Velenje

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Creative Jazz Clinic Velenje is a series of workshops and masterclasses started in 2016 by Slovenian musician, teacher and Prešeren Award recipient Jure Pukl, who was raised in the town and is widely regarded as one of the best young saxophonists in the world. The huge roster of musicians with whom he has collaborated over the last two decades means that Pukl has been able to attract many top names from the world of jazz to teach and perform at the clinic, which generally takes places over five days at the end of February.

Although he has lived in New York City since 2013, Pukl continues to take a keen interest in the jazz scene in his homeland, and was also instrumental in reviving the Max Club Jazz Festival in 2012 after a hiatus of ten years.


It would perhaps be more accurate to say that Pukl revived rather than established the clinic, as it is an acknowledged successor to the series of jazz workshops organised by the late Croatian vibraphonist Boško Petrović at the Max Club in Velenje, which ran for five years from 2000.

Today the clinic is organised by Jazz Velenje Cultural Association, of which Pukl is the chairman, Velenje Festival and the Fran Korun Koželjski Music School, and supported by the Municipality of Velenje.


The number of students and younger jazz and free jazz players attending the clinic has grown steadily over the years, from 44 in 2016 to over 70 in 2020. Places are limited, with attendance by prior application only and on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee for a week of workshops and masterclasses was 300 US dollars in 2020.

Mentors and performers

Creative Jazz Clinic Velenje has been successful in attracting some of the biggest names in contemporary jazz, particularly from the US, to perform, give masterclasses and lead workshops, with several returning for subsequent visits. A very selective list would include drummers Han Bennink (NL), Gregory Hutchinson (US), Jeff “Tain” Watts (US), Nasheet Waits (US), Doug Hammond (US) and Žan Tetičkovič (SI), bassists Robert Jukič (SI), Reggie Washington (US) and Joe Sanders (US), saxophonist Melissa Aldana (CL/US), guitarists Femi Temowo (UK) and Jani Moder (SI), vibraphonist Joel Ross (US), vocalist Emilia Mårtensson (SE), pianist Kaja Draksler (SI), and trumpeters Philip Dizack (US), Peter Evans (US) and Raynald Colom (FR/ES).


As one of Pukl’s other stated aims is to help “develop a jazz audience”, concerts are organised for the public at the end of each day, and can attract audiences of up to 200. These are held at various locations around the town, including the Max Club, Velenje Cultural Centre, Velenje Gallery and the Fran Korun Koželjski Music School, which is where the workshops and masterclasses have taken place since the clinic’s inception in 2016.

Beached Whale Festival

31. 07. - 31. 07. 2021



Festival nasedlega kita

Škalsko jezero 3320, Velenje

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Priding itself on being the only festival in the world dedicated to beached whales, the Beached Whale Festival (Festival nasedlega kita) is a laid back and at the same time very creative and upbeat summer music festival presenting curious new music to the region. It was established by the local youth as a response to the lethargic period of summer holidays in the city of Velenje and was launched in 2009. It takes place at Škale Lake (Škalsko jezero) near Velenje.

The musical acts predominantly represent electronic music (Borka, Žiga Murko, Some1Else, BeatMyth, New Wave Syria, Kleemar, etc.), accompanied by occasional alternative rock-oriented acts (Tovariš Strmoglavljen, 12). The festival also organises annual workshops for creating various whale sculptures. Hence, the festival has seen its fair share of whales, from robotic to gigantic.
The festival – which also has a club pre-event called “Half-whale there” – is co-produced by Velenje Youth Centre (MC Velenje) and is supported by the Velenje Urban Municipality.