How it all began …
The first festival, folklore stories happened on Lent, the Drava banks, more than twenty years ago. In the past, Lent had been a vital haven for rafters who floated with timber rafts loaded with wood from the Upper Drava Valley to Belgrade, and today, the Lent area and the Lent Festival are equally important to the inhabitants of Maribor. The Lent Festival is vital for visitors from near and far.
… BUT IT IS CHANGING
To this day, the town district on the left bank of the Drava River – from the Judgement Tower to the Water Tower, two remnants of the once formidable town wall – bears the name Lent (developed from “Lände”, the German word for landing place). The Festival has outgrown this area, but continues to come back to the Drava banks, although many events are taking place on squares, streets, in courtyards, the city park, and other cultural institutions in the city centre pampering the visitors with good music, theatre, dance, cuisine, and the stroll along the unique promenade.
It’s the 23rd time for Maribor to enter the summer accompanied by the Lent Festival, which is the bigges openair festival in Slovenia and one of the biggest in Europe. Some describe it as “lentanje” (derived from the name, meaning “to stroll around the festival, and have fun”), others as far too short nights, some as unforgettable moments that have to be experienced and remembered forever.
THE FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS
Within the Lent Festival, several smaller, yet amazing festivals are taking place: the international folklore festival Folkart, the festival of street theatre Ana Desetnica, the JazzLent Festival and the festival of street-food Sladolent.
The vibrant festival happening is additionally enriched by the events for children and visitors of all ages in Art Camp, that is located under the treetops in the City park.
The Lent Festival is a big umbrella covering many different organizers of the cultural, sports and social life in Maribor.
THE FESTIVAL OF LEGENDS
At the festival’s numerous venues by the Drava River and across the centre of town, a diverse yet harmonious selection of events takes place: jazz, classical and world music concerts; operas, ballets, theatre and dance performances; evenings with chansons and singer-songwriters; folklore events; street theatre performances; summer cinema; children’s workshops; and sports challenges.
The festival’s stages have attracted numerous international stars, for example: Macy Gray, Mercedes Sosa, Paquito D’Rivera, Dr. John, Jose Feliciano, Lester Bowie, Stephane Grapelli, David Byrne, Maynard Ferguson, Taj Mahal, Alfredo De La Fé, Alfredo Rodriguez, Malia, Eric Burdon & The Animals, Living Colour, Maceo Parker, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Uriah Heep, Taraf de Haidouks, Omara Portuondo, Sierra Maestra, Buchweat Zydaco, Jimmy Cliff, Keziah Jones, Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra, Esma Redžepova, Šaban Bajramović, The Dubliners, Sara Tavares, Olodum, Matt Biancoand others.
The Lent Festival has also hosted legendary musicians such as Ray Charles, B.B. King, James Brown andSolomon Burke.