New Year’s celebrations in Belgrade: Out with the old, in with the new

The city that has been declared one of world’s best for nightlife is building on its reputation with public New Year’s parties that started a week before 31st December.

As a warm-up, the city organises a series of concerts on Republic Square from 25th to 29th December .

Some of the acts set to perform include blues gurus Texas Flood, hip-hop stars THC La Familia, Prti BG, and Bwana, indie rock legends Kanda Kodza i Nebojsa, and DJs Kristijan Molnar and Danijel Cehranov.

Part one of the New Year’s celebration will take place on the Sava River Promenade, the new pedestrian area of the Belgrade Waterfront complex, located right on the river.

The concert, no doubt aimed at throwing a positive light on the controversial project, will feature popular Serbian rock bands Orthodox Celts and Nicim Izazvan.

Foreign tourists in Belgrade with a taste for traditional Irish music should check this one out because, although home grown, Orthodox Celts are known for doing an amazing job at interpreting Irish folk classics in a hard rock style and their shows are always fun.

The party continues the next day with city officials putting on a curtain raiser to set the mood for the main event on Sunday.

This gig in front of parliament and features well-known musicians and bands, most notably the rock band Van Gogh, who, having been around since the mid-1980s, and have had more hits over the years than you can count on both hands.

For those who don’t like rock on a cold winter’s night and prefer warmer, pop sounds, former Yugoslav band Zana will offer a retrospective of their best hits, old and new.

The third act for the night is Zeljko Samardzic, pop singer and the king of International Women’s Day concerts who authored songs that work just as well in intimate, smoky pubs as they do in large arenas

When Sunday finally arrives, so does the biggest party. For those who decide to ditch the clubs and bars and don’t have a private party to go to, Belgrade has something special.

Instead of the has-been international act that people might reluctantly turn up for, the city has gone ultra-populist, offering shows by two of the biggest musical acts in these parts – Riblja Corba and Aca Lukas.

Riblja Corba could be said to be the most popular rock band of former Yugoslavia and has been filling stadiums for the better part of 40 years.

Aca Lukas is equally huge and popular, but in different circles. If he isn’t the king, he’s certainly royalty when it comes to Serbian folk and the supreme ruler of Belgrade “splav” culture.

In fact, his pseudonym, Lukas, [real name iAleksandar Vuksanovic] comes from the name of the splav he cut his teeth on back in the day, one of the first and most popular floating discos in the city.

While it may seem like the two main acts are polar opposites, Serbian pop culture and music actually intertwine to a big extent and there’s a real possibility that 80 per cent of Riblja Corba fans know the words to every Aca Luka hit and vice versa.

If none of that floats your splav, there’s one more party on 31st December, with a different vibe. Jazz and classical fans will get to send off 2017 at the Sava Centre, where top orchestras and soloists will play popular pieces in an event called, with a wink, “Classy Celebration of New Year.” Admission is free.

If you have any energy left on 1st January, check out the traditional event called “Open Heart Street” in Svetogorska, a charity event for children [and everyone else] with music, shows, candy, costumes, magicians, clowns and street food.

By BIRN Team

(Balkan Insight, 28.12.2017)


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