Retro festivals are becoming really popular in Croatia, every now and then a new enthusiastic project comes out in attempt to become a traditional event, or just to shake things up a bit in a local community. It seems like more and more people are searching for this form of entertainment, drenching themselves into this stylish era with retrospective eye, reminding themselves on how it was, or simply exploring something new.
It’s always a lot of fun to see how people react to this kind of festivals, we all have some sort of collective memory about 30’s or the 50’s, but this kind of festivals are putting all the pieces together – it draws out all kind of forgotten retro dinosaurs, people who are really living this vintage dream in some way. From the oldsmobile lovers, fashion and music enthusiasts, to people who are just experimenting with this subculture, trying to fit even for one weekend – it’s all there.
We had a great pleasure to be part of the first Retro Pazin Festival, which is special for a couple of reasons. It’s a real „rebel“ among the festivals, because it doesn’t follow any known formula – while most of the festivals are held in Zagreb or some city in the coastal area, this one is held in the city of Pazin – which is somewhere in between, in the heart of Istria. Besides that, the festival is held off the tourist season – in the middle of winter. It was really brave to go against the tide, and still have a great number of visitors, like they did. The main organizer is a true vintage enthusiast, mister Željko Šperanda, who is also Elvis impersonator. So, maybe it’s not so strange he had this kind of success, because Elvis can do anything.
So, after we made an arrangement, Vedran and I took a couple of friends from our Back to Swing crew, and went on a roadtrip to Pazin. If you’re travelling through Gorski kotar, you just have to stop in Delnice, at Hotel Risnjak – they have this forest-park with bunch of deers that you can pet and feed. Check out this one on the left, the look in his eyes is hilarious.
We arrived in Pazin about 2 pm, and sailed straight to the Memorial Centre where the event was held. Unfortunately, we missed odltimers and some programme which was held earlier that day, but still on time to see the most of it. After some mingling, gustation local truffle specialties, and taking a tour through the whole Centre (which is great by the way, they have this fantastic hall, with parquet floor… a dancer can’t help noticing this kind of things :), we finally met Mr. Željko who instructed us about later activities. A quick tour around Pazin, and we were ready to go and see the second part of the show!
We listened to the Brass band Pazin, checked out retro fashion show, took a glance on dance performances, and then it was the time to jump on stage and do our thing.
We used the opportunity to throw Ema, our dance newbie on stage, so there she had her first performance. She didn’t believe us she was a part of it, thought she’s only there for taking photos, but hey, why not!
We were thrilled with excellent Oridano Gypsy Jazz band, they’re really nice to listen and dance to, be sure to check out their stuff!
Later on, we went for a walk through Pazin, hoping to find a place with promised afterparty. We passed by a few coffee shops, but something drew us further and further, altough we hadn’t hear that anything is happening up there. Plus, it’s a small town, if there’s a party, you can hardly miss it. Suddenly, we found ourselves in front of the huge castle, some funk rhythm was coming out of it, so we entered to see what kind of club is it. It was kind of a surreal experience, the interior was totally unexpected – as we found out later, the place was a former dungeon. In summer, it works like a restaurant, and in winter they turn it into u club/pub. There were couple of DJ’s who played music only from vinyls, but with so much care, as they were vinyl surgeons. And yes, the place is called Jules Verne.
The festival unfortunately lasted only one day, so we took the opportunity to go for a little sightseeing. Like in a movie, the dungeon was closed, and it seemed like nothing happened there last night. We went to see Pazinčica river (well, some of us did), fell into ice and checked out Pazin Abyss zip line (which looks a bit frightening, specially in this time of year). Also, Vedran found a rubber gasket on the floor.
All in all – we spent a very pleasant weekend in Pazin, we heard rumors that the festival is planning to spread on two days, so we’re really looking forward to it!
Thanks Ema Tikulin for the photos, click on the gallery for more: