Ohrid Summer Festival commits to "Open The Door" while celebrating 50th anniversary

19 July 2010

On 12 July 2010, the Ohrid Summer Festival started its celebrations of 50 years of existence with a grand opening concert by the Russian National Orchestra. It opened its doors for audiences and artists from Macedonia and abroad for the first time on 4 August 1961. Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General of the European Festivals Association (EFA), attended the event during which Director Vasil Zoroski signed the EFA Commitment on “Open The Door to Arts and Culture, Open The Door to Europe.” Ohrid, the cultural centre of Macedonia, has not more than 50.000 inhabitants; after Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, it is the second biggest city in the country. Ohrid is a city with an amazing cultural heritage: the amphitheatre in the middle of the center, and many middle age churches around the lake of Ohrid mark the strong historical heritage. For 50 years now, the Ohrid Summer Festival has attracted audiences from Macedonia, Serbia and South-East European countries. It is a festival that represents Macedonian culture – a real national event! This special occasion brought together citizens of Macedonia, the President, ministers and sponsors, this time particularly emotional because of the 50th anniversary celebrations. In the heart of the city, the amphitheatre served as the perfect stage. The Russian National Orchestra with conductor Mikhail Pletnev opened the evening. It was followed by a review of the festival in pictures and impressions as well as a multimedia event pointing out to the future: “We are ready for the next 50 years,” underlined Director Vasil Zoroski. The President of Macedonia, Mr. Gjorge Ivanov, handed over the Medal of Merit to the Ohrid Summer Festival for its achievements. Following the show, the President received festival guests and the artists for a reception in the garden of his residential villa (built by Tito) – a unique place to conclude this unique evening on the lake of Ohrid. During Mrs Deventer’s visit, festival Director Vasil Zoroski – who serves as interim director until the end of the year – had the opportunity to sign the EFA Commitment on “Open The Door to Arts and Culture, Open The Door to Europe.” His signature enlarges the list of festivals and countries that are committed to “Open The Door”, the 2010 flagship project of the European Festivals Association. Despite the continued support of the President and the Ministry, the funding situation in Macedonia for the arts and cultural sector has worsened in the past two years. The sector is therefore looking for new opportunities for example through cooperation and co-productions at European level. With its music, dance, opera and theatre performances, the Ohrid Summer Festival is a key date for many people from Macedonia, in particular Skopje, and surrounding countries including Serbia, Kosovo and Croatia, to spend some time in this cultural and historical centre of the country. In 2010, to mark its jubilee, the festival offers an exceptional artistic programme; with events that are expected to cause great interest from the public. The festival is running from 12 July until 20 August inviting its audiences to enjoy a wonderful magic called Ohrid Summer.