15 Feb Aftermovie, Impressions and Reviews
The third MENT Ljubljana festival and conference event, which took place at nine different venues between 1st and 3rd February, has come to a close. Over three days, it was attended by 3400 visitors, the most on the final day, Friday, when the festival was sold out. The concert programme featured 60 performers from 23 countries, with a third of them coming from Slovenia. Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Russia also put up prominent numbers. The MENT conference, which again tackled various issues in the fields of publishing, European music markets and new music industry trends, drew 421 music professionals from as many as 32 countries. 38 % of all conference participants came from Slovenia, with many in attendance also coming from Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Poland and Slovakia.
Various international and local responses agree that MENT Ljubljana holds a key position among European festivals, especially in the region linking Central Europe with the Balkans, and Western music markets with Eastern ones. The Monday after the festival, Radio VAL 202 nominated MENT Ljubljana, more precisely, its organizers Andraž Kajzer and Matjaž Manček, for Name of the Week, arguing that in addition to the conference talks and workshops, Kajzer and Manček, accompanied by numerous managers, promotors, journalists and publishers from all over Europe, have managed to enrich Ljubljana with a fresh concert programme as well. In his review, Vic Galloway, a writer for Clash Magazine and the host of a weekly “new music” show on BBC Radio Scotland, mentioned that even Great Britain could learn something from MENT, an opinion likely shared by John Robb and Richard Foster of influential British online music portal Louder Than War, who wrote: “Set in the picturesque capital Ljubljana, MENT is such an interesting and inspiring initiative; driven by real bottom-up enthusiasm and underground cunning.”
“Alongside the new locations, the inclusion of local projects and concepts such as Giro and Kamizdat is yet another welcome upgrade of the increasingly larger and successful bundle of alternative music moments and fragments, called MENT,” wrote Jernej Trebežnik for Radio Študent.
The festival also impressed Polish newspaper Fabryka Zespolow, which wrote: “Terrific work, perfect organization, exceptional music, more than respectable company of music enthusiasts from all over Europe. Any complaints? Yes, the fact that you couldn’t be in a couple of places at once. If the MENT gang work out clever ways of teleportation, we will name them the best showcase festival in the world!”
The unique visual project appointMENT, which brought together 50 visual artists and the MENT festival performers, with each artist designing a music poster for one of the performers, also received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The poster exhibition will be on display at the DobraVaga gallery until 25th February.