Monday, 24 June 2013

Festival Lent - Explosion of Flavors

It is that time of the year again. It is time for Maribor to wake up and smell the fresh summer breeze of the most crazy, vibrant, exciting and colorful festival – Festival Lent. In the end of every June, since 1993, every citizen of Maribor knows where he will be in the evening: by the river Drava, sipping a nice glass of vine, listening good music and enjoying the energizing atmosphere of the capital of Styria. Festival Lent is unique; the largest outdoor festival in Slovenia and one of the largest in Europe attracts over half a million visitors a year, which makes it the most recognizable cultural event in Slovenia. It has started on 21st of June, the last day is 6th of July.

Festival Lent:
I’ve decided to present you Festival Lent comparing it with the Fuzl. Never heard of it? Yes, maybe because it is Styrian invention, a cocktail with special taste and even more special serving. So, I’ll present the receipt for this tasty cocktail, and give a slight taste what Festival Lent is all about. So, let’s check the ingredients.

Centaury liquor – basic ingredient
Or as the literal translation from Slovene – thousand rose liquor. This drink has a special taste that gives the cocktail unique hint of that now rather rare herb. Centaury flower has thousands of healing effects and is often used in medicinal purposes. Yes, we could say that 1,200 events at 40 venues on Lent Festival could represent this basic ingredient of Festival Lent. Let’s check some highlights of this year’s festival. Along the river Drava numerous stages close the road and the biggest one, where the Slovene and world stars perform, is the Main Stage. It is worth mentioning that legendary Uriah Heep will be performing this year. Ghanaian-British cast Osibisa, Austrian Mnozil Brass and international FOLKART festival will fill the grandstands of the Main Stage. Jazz fans will gather on Jazzlent and for creativity on Maribor streets will be taken care of by Festival Ana Desetnica. Outstanding concerts will blow you away on Večerov Stage. American cast OPM, Edo Majka, Repetitor, TBF and many others will rock on Lent this year. There is also Mladina Stage (in jazz club Satchmo) that provides grounds for future stars. In Judgement Tower is an intimate venue for lovers of good music. Not to forget Jurček Stage for solo performances, Classical Music Salon with a choice selection of classical music and Stand-Up Comedy Stage that will provide the biggest stand-up comedy event in Slovenia. Old radio (Jazzlent, Comedy) is the place that lives until to the morning hours. The organization team did not forget to take care for sport fans. For more information see: As centaury flower has many restorative powers, so do the numerous events on Festival Lent – laughter, fun, joy, excitement, pleasure, etc. What more do you need?

Festival Lent 2013: , Photo: Saša Huzjak 
Cockta - must try it
We could say Cockta is a Slovene version of Coca Cola; however it has exclusive, slightly sweeter taste. And it is also indispensable ingredient of Fuzl. So are the stands along river Drava that offer a culinary travel round the world. Typical Slovene food is obligatory. You can try prekmurska gibanica (cake in layers made of chees, apples, poppy), kranjska sausage etc. Of course you can get Balkan best čevapčiči, lepinje (grilled minced meat), burek and kajmak (cheese). The offer would not be complete without sea food and like on almost every corner in the city fast food is offered – kebap, hamburgers, French fries. The ones with sweet tooth will not be disappointed either. The selection of sweets is rich: pancakes, cakes, ice cream, typical Slovene delights. Gourmets will certainly enjoy the street food festival Sladolent, where 34 best Slovenian chefs are taking part in the biggest culinary event in Slovenia. The cooking show on Lent starts every evening next to the Main stage and is hosting three chefs who will prepare their own street food dishes that are accompanied with high quality vines.

Festival Lent 2013: , Photo: Boštjan Lah
Lime – to improve the taste
Lime gives a special hint to our Styrian cocktail. It would not be the same without it. Just like Festival Lent would not shine in all its glory without Art Camp. There is nothing sour about it, right the opposite; it is an adventure for the whole family in the beautiful Maribor city park. With its artistic and creative character Art Camp attracts the visitors with a combination of fun, sports, creativity, science, culture and relaxation. Relax surrounded by old trees, green grass and the sound of birds singing; the activities will bring out the child in you. Every representative of his generation will find something for himself as Art Camp provides you with free knowledge, healthy lifestyle and leisure time.

Festival Lent 2013:
Ice – for cooling down
It is summer, it is hot. And in this intense heat ice in our cocktail is very much needed. Just like cold drink. Seating by the river Drava after sunset, sipping good Slovenian vine, beer or cocktail, and listening good music coming from live performances – it is priceless.

Festival Lent 2013: , Photo: Saša Huzjak
Serve it in a jar
That is right; Fuzl has to be served in a jar that the experience is complete and it is that jar that makes Fuzl exceptional. Just like all the content people marching up and down the street from one stage to another. Yes, Maribor is during the Lent Festival alive as no other time in the year. The crowd, the happening, the vibes… the visitors are the one, who make the experience fuller and complete. Do not miss it, be a part of it, you will not regret it.

Festival Lent:
P.S. Maybe you like to drink trough the straw. That is no problem. It is, let’s say accessory. Not to forget, Festival Lent offers two special accessories: fireworks. First is at the end of FOLKART festival on Saturday (29th), and at the end of the festival (6th July).

Need a place to stay in Maribor? Check out Youth Hostel Mlada lipa, Youth Hostel UNI or Youth Hostel Pekarna

Anja Turk, Volunteer of Hostelling International Slovenia 

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