Uncertainty is a constant in the months before summer starts for the Lent Festival organizers, with even more unknowns this year due to the COVID-19 epidemic. It is not clear who of the scheduled performers will be able to come to Maribor at all, while the mayor Saša Arsenovič doesn’t rule out the possibility that there will be no festival at all this year. It will certainly not be held in the end of June as planned.
This year, the festival was supposed to be held between 26 June and 4 July. “The Lent Festival is fully prepared, but we have recently unfortunately received cancellations from overseas groups. We are ready, but the situation is likely to force us into the changes we are already thinking intensively about. It is definitely premature to predict anything,” said Vladimir Rukavina, the head of the Lent Festival and the Maribor National Hall director, for STA this week.
The mayor is not optimistic
The mayor Arsenovič is not optimistic as he estimates that given the current situation in the city and the country due to the epidemic of the new coronavirus, it is difficult to expect any mass events so soon. “The fact is that we have neither a vaccine nor a cure for the virus. At the same time, I hope that life releases drop by drop so that we will enable the economy, but the time for such mass gatherings is certainly far ahead,” he said during today’s visit of the infrastructure minister Jernej Vrtovec at the construction site of the Maribor railway station upgrade.
Every day is possible for the number of infected persons to start rising exponentially, and I really do not want to endanger our health despite the exceptional brand and everything that the festival means to us. Given that we have been trying to stem the virus for almost a month and a half now, we are definitely not going to take any quick steps,” he added.
The Festival may be held before the new academic year starts
According to the mayor, they will try to keep the festival this year “in at least some minimal form that wouldn’t endanger the health of our residents”, but they have not yet made any decisions. “One of the ideas, which is even more in line with this Easter time of hope, is that instead of the end of the academic year, the festival might be held before the start of the new one. But unless the circumstances change in the field of health, this will not be possible either,” he said.
According to original plans, the Festival is set to take place in more than 30 locations across Maribor. One of the most interesting ones is the Water Tower at Lent, where a floating stage on Drava river was set in previous years. At the suggestion of the municipality, the location is expected to move a few meters away to the parking lot under Tito’s Bridge this year. “This is the deal for the time being, but of course the situation is all up in the air,” says Rukavina.
Source: STA, dnevnik.si