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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Blondie Included As Part Of "Špancirfest 2014" Music Line Up

Organizers are planning for the 2014 Špancirfest to be the best one yet.

What is Špancirfest exactly you may wonder? (pronounced "shpawn-tseer-fest" and having the meaning of a stroll festival/strollingfest)). Well, Špancirfest is a summer festival that takes place in the city of Varaždin. And where is Varaždin exactly? Varaždin is located in the northwest region of Croatia just between the Slovenia and Hungary border. It's an old historic settlement from the times of the medieval Kingdom of Croatia and recorded for the first time by name in 1181 as an important new fortress town.

(As an interesting sidenote, (because so many readers keep begging for those spontaneous quirky math and history facts all the time), in 1756 as part of measures to cut administrative costs throughout the empire, Maria Theresa the Empress of the Habsburgs (and the Croatian crown lands within Austria-Hungary), moved the Croatian Government from Zagreb to Varaždin and established the Royal Croatian Council overseeing the Croatian Triune Kindom lands, (Headed by the Croatian Ban/Prime Minister and Croatian nobles), so Varaždin actually became the Croatian capital until it moved back to the Croatian Parliament in Zagreb in 1776). Castles, palaces, mansions, fortresses, baroque buildings, classical theatre houses, classicist and secessionist homes and even cobbled roads are still found in the medieval-renaissance-baroque historic Old Town nucleus of Varaždin. Today, besides some other annual festivals here the old town quarters is for the most part a quiet and relaxing type of location throughout most of the year. (the nearby Varaždinske Toplice have been popular natural hot springs for many centuries also)

Varaždin Civil Guards in the 1840's.

I should also mention that it's not generally known that Varaždin was under attack a number of times during the centuries of Ottoman Jihads into Europe, yet from the1530's onward every single Ottoman army and their Serb volunteers attacks from the Sanjak of Smederevo was repelled in their attempt to take the strategically important town. Also worth noting of course is the still kept tradition of the Varaždinska građanska garda (Varaždin Civil Guards, who were grenadier soldiers and aka the "Purgari" seen above), which is a historic civil military unit formed in 1538 and then officially founded in a 1750 statute by imperial decree, they are still used for Varaždin county events and official ceremonies even today (example) as well as representatives of the historical units of Varaždin Hussars that existed in the vicinity until 1813. Varaždin and the surrounding county suburbs is of course also known for various local gastronomical choices (foods), wines, specialty liquors and pastries etc.

However, once a year for 10 days in August, Špancirfest comes along. A time of mixing the old with the new, bringing out the foods and drinks, old costumes, crafts, kiosk displays, historical reenactments and related events, and also more modern events, jugglers, costumes, street performers, entertainment, concerts and other workshops, programs and music, (It can seem sort of like medieval times in a way when you think about it, because there used to be court jesters, fools, musicians, magicians and various entertainers back then too). There is something for one and all and a time to celebrate the town with food, entertainment, art and the arts. Even the cool 3D projection mapping visuals and neon drumming mimes will be there again this year. (see post festival-visualia-2014-3d-projection-pula for more about that)

Popular Croatian music acts and artists have been coming to perform here for years during Špancirfest, and they still do, (I'm actually now going to have to check out some stuff from that band Punčke and a couple others in the above trailer)...but it's been growing in popularity so much that even foreign performers and well known music acts have been coming to perform lately. Case in point, this year the legendary rock act 'Blondie' will be playing. (Ahhhh, such great memories, why I remember when I spent 2 whole summers mainly in and around Rijeka as a kid, and Blondie was one of the bands who's music was coming out of speakers and on the radio everywhere at that time, along with ABBA, Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles and a bunch of other bands, (besides the Croatian artists I mean of course)...and I mean everywhere...when eating pašteta sandwiches at the beach, downtown shopping, at the cafes, in the grocery stores, everywhere). She's still looking pretty good and hasn't missed a beat even these days, it must be the vitamins. (She hasn't been in even just one shocking paparazzi/tabloid scandal involving coked out Japanese wrestlers covered in mayonnaise and or kinky drunk lederhosen wearing midgets wearing wigs either, now that's consistency through the years and says a lot. See article HERE)

So anyway, it's still mainly Croatian acts that perform at Špancirfest, but it's a really great promotion that this famous and 70's iconic band has decided to perform at this years edition. Practically unheard of to most, Varaždin is located in the north west corner of Croatia just between Slovenia and Hungary, quite a ways from the Adriatic coast and all the beaches, there are many similar events taking place all across Croatia during the summer months, but believe you me, Špancirfest will be a happening place to be at this summer. Guaranteed. If you're in the area you should definitely check it out.

More information at the official website


Official 2014 Špancirfest lineups.

Of course I had to add a Blondie video here, just in case the reader has never heard of them or just crawled out from under a rock after a long drunk or something from the mid-70's.

Fresh from her performance at Glastonbury 2014, Debbie Harry is set to be one of the stars at this year’s Špancirfest in the Croatian town of Varaždin…

Blondie, the American rock band founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein, will join Stereo MCs, Laibach, 2Cellos, Parni Valjak and Urban4 as the drawcards of this year’s festival. The 16th Špancirfest street festival will take place in Varaždin from 22 to 31 August this year, and will feature also more host of well-known street performers, comedy acts and acrobats from all over the world.

Špancirfest – the festival of good emotions – is ranked among the top 5 most important cultural events on the Croatian calendar.

Some highlights and info from Špancirfest 2013

I'm quickly throwing in some updated footage from Blondie's concert which opened the first weekend of music concerts. Plenty of other local music acts will also be playing to the crowds over the 2 weekends.

Ouuu, I had to throw this interesting pic in that I came across. Deborah Harry, (aka lead singer of Blondie, because she has a real name remember) photographed in New York City by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz for the band's worldwide 40th-anniversary tour. (I'm going to have to add this in a future "Game of Thrones" post) Image:

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