[artinfo] Fwd: DIS-PATCH - the demise of the annual Belgrade festival

Andreas Broeckmann ab at dortmunder-u.de
Tue Mar 15 15:15:22 CET 2011

From: "Bojana Ljubisic" <bojana at dis-patch.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2011 10:16:51 +0100


Dis-patch Festival, since 2002 the only relevant 
international event from the realm of 
contemporary (electronic) music and affiliated 
artistic disciplines in the region of SE Europe, 
will not be held this year following the 
announcement of a full demise of its festival in 
its hometown

The organizing team of the Dis-patch festival has 
announced the full demise of the Belgrade-based 
annual festival, the only event which, over the 
course of the last ten years, has offered a 
different approach to contemporary (electronic) 
music and the investigation of audio-visual and 
synesthetic concepts in Serbia. As the organizers 
are stating, the idea of ending the festival has 
been haunting its activities for a number of 
years now, mainly because of the inability to 
reach any kind of sustainable functioning. 
Despite the fact that the festival was 
maintaining high professional and productional 
standards - which was confirmed by numerous 
significant guest artists over the years - the 
rise of the significance of the event in local 
and international spheres was in no way followed 
neither by the appropriate support from Serbian 
cultural institutions nor the "socially aware" 
corporations - to the contrary.

Soon after its founding in 2002, Dis-patch was 
warmly welcomed on the international scene, 
hooking up with important individuals and other 
festivals from the "contemporary scene", but the 
situation back home was fairly different. Despite 
the high artistic and productional results, since 
year one the event was going through a constant 
fight for survival. Each new edition was 
basically starting from scratch, although in the 
context of the program the event was unstoppably 
developing, making significant international 
partnerships. Beside minor and non-consistent 
financing from the city and state cultural funds 
(never reaching 20% of the total budget), in 2009 
and 2010 the Ministry of Culture of Serbia has 
not granted any support for any of the 5 projects 
proposed by the organization including the annual 
festival event, while the Department of Culture 
of the City of Belgrade, its town of birth which 
it extensively promotes around the world, has let 
the festival without any status or support in 

The (non)financing of the event in the last two 
years, as well as the paradox that this was the 
period in which the Dis-patch production has 
demonstrated strong capacity and potential with 
no feedback whatsoever, are just some of the 
reasons which added up to the decision of closing 
the festival down. For example, in 2009 Dis-patch 
has realized 45 different programs - most of them 
self-financed or with absolutely no official 
support - which goes way beyond the annual output 
of most of the Serbian cultural centers. The 
festival was "awarded" for these efforts by the 
rejection of all of its projects at the next 
Ministry of Culture open call for projects. In 
the context of the more recent political reality 
of Serbia, the even more recent senseless 
government "reconstruction" and the general 
social-political climate, there is too little 
hope that initiatives like this one can survive 
on any kind of "healthy roots". Obviously even 
more so if they are aspiring to high professional 
and artistic values and standards. All of these 
facts combined are making the efforts around 
developing, or mere maintenance of such an event 
in Belgrade completely futile.

Dis-patch was a pioneering event not just in 
local terms, bit also in the context of the 
region of SouthEast Europe. Together with the 
Belgradeyard Sound System radio shows and other 
related activities, it functioned as a unique 
educational platform for promoting bold musical 
projects, and the first event in Serbia which 
strongly promoted the visual aspect of music 
performance and synesthetic concepts. By 
combining the historical legacy of electronic and 
avant-garde music, actual trends and everything 
in-between, as well as the "clashes" of these 
different aesthetics, it was leading the audience 
through a unique and complete experience. We 
should also not forget the responsible 
relationship towards the audience, via low 
admission fees and numerous free of charge and 
educational programs open to the public. 
Practically all of the artists who played at the 
festival were presenting debut shows in Serbia, 
including the likes of Jamie Lidell, Murcof, 
Caribou, Monolake, Noze, Deadbeat or Vladislav 
Delay/Luomo. The festival in Belgrade presented 
no less than total of 200 shows, presented by 300 
authors, around 30 workshop programs and 
lectures, 5 exhibitions, 5 Artist in 
Residence/Focus programs and several significant 
(world) premieres. The performances and works 
have been presented at numerous locations in 
Belgrade and its surrounding, with authors coming 
from more than 20 different countries.

The Dis-patch production has also realized 
numerous other collaborations in Serbia (the 
concert series Post-Piano, the RGB City, 
interactive installation, regional music seminar 
Synaesthtics, KidsPatch mini-festival for kids 
and many othersŠ), and has also been presenting 
Serbian, as well as musicians and video authors 
from the region, through more than 20 guest 
programs at prominent European and American 
festivals. It has been one of the founders of the 
festival network ECAS/ICAS, while most recently 
it kickstarted a "nomadic" multi-annual project 
ViceVerse together with the like-minded 
Communikey Festival from Boulder, Colorado. The 
Serbian state has not invested any funds into 
supporting these international activities in the 
past 10 years, which were promoting local 
contemporary artistic output, despite the fact 
that many proposals had been send to the address 
of Ministry of Culture.

Instead of the 10th edition which will never be 
held, soon the work on the "9 Lives of a 
Festival" project will start. By mid-2012 it 
should result in an extensive bi-lingual 
publication and an accompanying exhibition which 
will summarize the documentations, results and 
reflections on the decade-long Dis-patch 
experience in the local, but also the wider 
global context. At the same time dealing with 
theoretical and practical aspects of the festival 
as a format and its significant roles in the 
context of local cultural/artistic communities, 
this will be the best way to round up the 
"Belgrade phase" of Dis-patch.

Over the course of 2011, D-p will mostly be 
active through guest programs - at the Belgrade 
events Share Conference (April) and Mikser (May), 
and then later in the summer as part of a new 
festival which is starting up in Montenegro. In 
the meantime, most of May and June will be 
dedicated to the 2nd phase of the ViceVerse tour 
project, which will take the team all around the 
continent. End of the year will bring another 
edition of the KidsPatch Festival for New 
Children's Creativity, while already in April of 
this year the well-known Honest Jon's label from 
London will be releasing the debut album from 
Vladislav Delay Quartet, which had been recorded 
at the vintage studios of Radio Belgrade as part 
of Dis-patch festival program in 2009. The 
festival itself will be transformed into a sort 
of "nomadic festival", which will be bringing its 
specific sensibility and approach to, and sharing 
it with partners and audiences alike, wherever on 
the planet they may beŠ

The final demise of Dis-patch was celebrated in 
Belgrade under the moto "End Is Always the 
Beginning" with a special DIS-PATCH BURIAL party, 
featuring Felony Flats, DJ Wo0))), Grimmowski, 
Piece of ShhŠ and DJ Moodswinger.

On this occasion, Dis-patch would like to 
specially thank to the audience which visited its 
programs and made all the past efforts for its 
continuation worthwhile. We would also like to 
thank any and all of the individuals and 
institutions which have contributed to that in 
any way over the course of the past 10 years.


Photo gallery Dis-patch Burial party: 

Dis-patch Burial party mp3 recording:

Dis-patch Festival R.I.P. video:

Dis-patch Festival R.I.P. announcement:

ViceVerse Tour:

Bojana Ljubisic
Press & PR

Festival Of Cutting-Edge
Music And Related Art

m: +381.69.1672516
e: <mailto:bojana at dis-patch.com>bojana at dis-patch.com


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