Dubrovnik will be richer for another festival this year with the Dubrovnik Wave Music Festival the new kid on the block. From the 13th to the 14th of October the stunning island of Lokrum will transform into a host and the big stage for the launch of the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival - the very first music festival in Croatia featuring different genres of music; pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, alternative, world music, electro pop, indie, house and many more all under the same roof. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with the main organiser behind the scenes of this new festival, Mike Lemaic, to find out what audiences can expect from the new wave of music in Dubrovnik.
This will be the premiere edition of the Dubrovnik Wave Music Festival. How did you come up with the idea to create this festival?
The festival idea was born last year, actually through a conversation with the city government. I had proposed the idea of organising some musical events through the year and the idea of Music Wave Festival was born. The City was interested as it would potentially attract more visitors to Dubrovnik. I proposed to use locations throughout the city, such as beaches and islands were we would stage different genres of music. Everything was pretty much agreed and then we had a change of local government so we had to put things on hold for a while. We will hold the first festival on the 13th and 14th of October which will help bring some new attraction during the autumn period. One of the ideas of the festival is to help extend the tourist season and to put Dubrovnik on the map as a hotspot for music festival.
How will the festival differ from other music festivals in the region?
The difference that we would like to see with our festival compared to others is that the festival will feature different genres of music. Some of the locations maybe lend themselves to certain types of music. For example the beaches maybe lean towards electronic music and dance music whereas Lokrum is more suitable for jazz and blues. The idea is to make the festival open to a wide audience with differing musical tastes. So you could say that out target audience is anyone from 18 to 65, which is good for the city because not only will we attract younger people but also older generations. Also the festival is open to families because we are trying to make this festival not like other electronic music festivals which are alcohol fuelled. We want to open it to families and children, so there is no age restriction.
What experience do you have of organising these kinds of festivals?
We are a company primarily orientated towards managing international talent. Also we have a focus on finding new talent. So part of our role is marketing, PR, events, gigs, etc and as a management company we work with a wide range of companies who put these festivals on. Maybe this year, the first year, may be on a smaller scale than future festivals but it’s important to get it off the ground.
How difficult was it to find locations in Dubrovnik?
It wasn’t that difficult to find locations but it more difficult to be engaged in a conversation with the owners or managers of the locations. Certainly in future years we will be looking at a whole range of new locations.
Does Dubrovnik need another festival?
Dubrovnik is a cultural city and yes already has a lot of events but in my view the events that the city currently have tend to be concentrated more towards classical music spectrum. Croatia is a very popular destination for UK tourists and in the UK there are over 300 music festivals. So when you connect the two together you can see that there is room for such music festivals in Dubrovnik. To my knowledge this is the first festival in the city that will involve different genres of music. We would certainly also consider putting on events throughout the winter time, which would again help to attract people to the city outside of the main summer season.
Dubrovnik is in a “Catch 22” situation with winter tourism. But I am sure that if the main airlines realised that there is something happening in the city in the winter that they would operate flights. Somebody has to start and show the will.
So what does the word “wave” indicate in the Dubrovnik Wave Festival?
So the original idea was to have a main festival at a fixed time of the year and then continue throughout the whole year with a wave of different events.
How supportive have the city authorities been in assisting you put on this first event?
Well, actually very supportive. In fact you could say that we have joint goals and ambitions so they were quick to realise this and jump onboard.
How difficult was it to attract international artists to come and perform here?
So far we have 16 artists confirmed. Of course it is a new venture so for the artists as well it is a challenge to join us on the ride. They have been very helpful to make this first event a success. Of course bringing artists here is an expensive project so we hope that in the future with the help of sponsors we can make the festival even bigger and more successful. We want to build year on year, not only by extending the days of the festival but also by bringing even more artists.
You have actually created ticket packets designed for visitors to visit the festival; this seems a very proactive way of attracting guests
We are trying to make it as easy to possible for audiences to attend the festival. Of course there are always people who will come independently but for people who want a more organised packet we have covered that. We have teamed up with Gulliver Travel who have actually negotiated accommodation deals and we also have Croatia Airlines onboard as an airline partner.
From small acorns great acorns grow – what are your plans for the future?
All festivals start with small steps. For example when Glastonbury started they had a handful of people and one stage. Last year they had an audience of 380,000 people on 16 stages. In the future we can see multiple stages on multiple locations over a longer period of time. Dubrovnik is an amazing city and will surely be a magnet for music lovers.
Let the music play
From the 13th to the 14th of October the stunning island of Lokrum will transform into a host and the big stage for the launch of the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival - the very first music festival in Croatia featuring different genres of music; pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, alternative, world music, electro pop, indie, house and many more all under the same roof.