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A Sizzling Summer of Music in Belgrade

April 29, 2009

Editor’s note: The announcement that legends of rock U2 will be playing Zagreb this summer caused mass excitement; the Balkans now seem definitively on the map of the biggest popular artists. As the weather warms up and the thoughts of all turn to enjoyment, we present something different, with a rundown of the biggest musical events in Belgrade, from cultural correspondent Milica Vukovic.

By Milica Vukovic

This summer’s concert happenings in Belgrade look to make for a truly inspiring and impressive lineup of international talent. Some of the world’s most prominent musicians are going to be visiting Belgrade, turning summer in the Serbian capital into an unforgettable feast of sound and performance.

The biggest draw by far is certainly going to be Madonna’s concert, on 24th August, in a part of Novi Beograd called Ušće (meaning: confluence, image:). It is actually a large field which over the last few years has become an attractive performance area, mostly because of its remarkable location: it is placed on the very confluence of the Sava and Danube Rivers The sound of the music will thus travel along these waterways, and be clearly heard in almost every part of the city.

Some five years ago, the very thought of Madonna coming to Belgrade occupied the realm of science fiction; this summer, however, the Serbian capital finally gets to play proud host to this world-famous pop icon. The concert in Belgrade is being organized by The State of Exit and Live Nation, and is a part of Madonna’s 2008-2009 Sticky and Sweet tour, in which is she promoting her new album Hard Candy. The concert’s special guest will be Paul Oakenfold.

Tickets for the concert are available online at Gigstix.com and Worldticketshop.com, or in person in Belgrade shops.

The 2009 summer of music in Belgrade is going to kick off with a very different sort of show- from American heavy metal band Prong. The concert will be held on the 21st of June, in SKC (Student Cultural Centre, Kralja Milana Street, 48) and is limited to 350 visitors. Tickets for the event are available online at Biletservis.co.yu.

A few days later, on the 26th of June, the mood mellows again with the arrival of Simply Red, who will perform high above Belgrade in the Roman fortress of Kalemegdan. Since this is said to be the band’s final world tour, the Belgrade shows presents a unique opportunity for fans who happen to be in the Balkans to enjoy their music live one last time. The concert set list is billed as a retrospective, covering Simply Red’s three-decade-long career, and will also promote the band’s new Greatest Hits album. Tickets are available online at Tickets.rs and Arenabeograd.com.

The month of July will likewise be marked by plenty of prominent gigs. Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor will have a concert on the 3rd of July, as a guest performer in the Belgrade Summertime Festival. The show will take place at the city’s largest arena, the Sava Centar.

Another top musician, David Byrne, is visiting this festival too, on the 8th of July, and will be playing Belgrade for the second time. (The ex-leader of the Talking Heads had his first Belgrade concert, also at the Sava Centar, in 2002). This time he will be playing with Brian Eno, and promoting a new record titled Everything that Happens Will Happen Today. Tickets for both concerts are available in person at the Sava Centar box office (Milentija Popovic Street 9) and at Bilet Servis (Republic Square 5), as well as online at Biletservis.co.yu.

Lovers of old-school rock with a Latin twist will be energized by the arrival, on July 11, of Carlos Santana and his 10-man-band. This legend of the 1960’s San Francisco scene will be playing outdoors, in Ušće Park, as part of the Belgrade Youth Festival. Fans will no doubt be treated to an exhilarating performance, featuring a mixture of rock, salsa and jazz spiced up with Santana’s trademark artistic guitar playing. Tickets for the event are available online at Showtimetickets.com.

On the 23rd of July, another legend of American music will bring audiences back again to the Sava Centar: George Benson. This is the first Belgrade visit for the renowned jazz, funk and R&B musician. This concert is a part of a special program of the Summertime Festival. Information about tickets will be available online soon on George Benson’s website, as well as that of the Sava Center.

On a different note, lovers of classical music will enjoy the Belgrade Cello Fest, which will be held in early July also. Details on this annual event will be made available soon at Jugokoncert.co.yu.

In August, things settle down a bit and the music is accompanied by revelry, as at the increasingly popular Belgrade Beer Fest, which will take place from 12-16 August, in Ušće. Despite its title, this is mainly a music event with various domestic and foreign performers, but at the same time also a chance for beer-lovers to sample and enjoy many different kinds of beer in an open-air setting. The festival has been held since 2003, and entry is free of charge. More information about the festival, performers and organization of the event can be found on the Belgrade Beer Festival’s official website.

Another festival, this one organized for fans of electronic music, is the Belgrade Foam Fest; it will be held in the Belgrade Arena on the 29th of August. Performances will be held on two separate stages- the Main Stage and the Sky Flash Stage. On both, prominent international and Serbian DJs will show their skills. Main-stage performers will include Sandy Rivera, David Morales, Benny Benassi, Marko Nastic¡ and Marko Milosavljevic. Tom Pooks, Tsuyoshi Suzuki, Ian F, Andrew Technique, F.Sonik, Tomy DeClerque will appear on the other stage. Tickets are available online at Biletservis.co.yu, and the Belgrade Arena website.

Finally, on the 12th of September, well-known trash metal band Sodom will rock the Dom omladine (hall of DOB, Makedonska Street 22). Tickets are available online, again at Biletservis.co.yu.

One other big Belgrade cultural event should not be overlooked – the traditional BELIEF Belgrade Summer Festival, which is organized by the city of Belgrade. BELEF actually combines theater performances, music and visual art. For more information and details check out the Festival website.

Enjoy the summer!

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