Finally an event about which I wrote before, so I can skip the usual: it’s this and that, it’s held for the Xth time now, and it’s about that and this. I still need an introduction so you are forced to read this. And this. And this. Now I’m just playing with you. Let’s get to the Tram. Streetcar, pardon me.
It was good. Better than last year. Mostly because of the venues. Workshops were held in two school gyms and a room in a museum. While I heard that the museum wasn’t the best choice (I wasn’t there), I found the gyms quite suitable. Spaces like that have a “work” atmosphere and bring back high school memories. If you don’t have pleasant memories, you can still be happy for not having to go to school anymore.
The evening venues are a different story. The Friday place was good, although most of the people said it was too small, but I don’t think that there should be a big, wide dance floor at every party. A smaller place gives you a touch of intimacy. It can be crowded, yes, and stuffy, yes, but I’ll always prefer it to a big fancy hall – which is half empty (which is a reasonable thing to expect when talking about the welcome party on Friday).
Saturday offered something very different. The “Crystal Hall” in one of the best hotels in Zagreb. There were two problems with that room: the carpet on the floor, and the very, very large floor. The first was taken care of by putting a mock dance floor, but not on the whole floor (because the hall is enormous), so we ended up with – three divided dance floors. It didn’t bother me personally, but I heard others talking about it. They would also mention the size of the hall – you just can’t fill up that space with people, very few festivals can. So you had to walk on the carpet from one side of the room to the other. People also didn’t like the expensive booze, but I can’t find anything cheaper anywhere in Slovenia, where a beer is 3,20 euros. The prices are also one of the things you get with a crystal room, so… you can’t really be surprised. I think people maybe had different expectations because of the Friday party and the very cheap drinks there.
The perfect solution for the Streetcar in the future would be: use the gym (where workshops were held) for the Saturday party. With a bit of work it could offer a vibe of American high school parties we’re used to seeing in films. I don’t thing Zagreb should go for fancy, gala parties. You have lots of that in western Europe, and Zagreb can’t compete with that. It should go for what is has – a taste of the Balcans, a taste of cozyness, a raw taste of pure entertainment, a taste of cheap untasty drinks (although there is a craft beer boom going on in Zagreb) – but please don’t imagine the so called “turbo folk” music, imagine it as a swing dancing party with nicely dressed people. A certain “underground” feel and atmosphere would take the festival a long way.
The Sunday venue was good for a Sunday party although not perfectly suited for dancers. There was a burlesque performance that certainly lifted up the party. Nevertheless, it was a subject of many disputes. I’ve never found burlesque problematic, but now I heard more than one comment about how it’s degrading women, and not suitable for a Lindy Hop event. A comment worth noting was that many girls didn’t find the guys who were yelling and cheering for Bonnie Fox very attractive and appealing… quite the contrary.
You might get a negative overall impression because of my critical style, but you’d be wrong – that’s because I’m very subjective about this festival and love it very much… thus, I find the positive reviews boring.
What else to say… oh, yes, in Jack’n’Jill men are still judging leaders, and follows are judged by women. Not fair, people. Not fair. (See the last year’s review.)
And, yes, the photo booth was amazing and I dare to say – the best in the world. And this is not subjectively speaking. The console and commands were really working – the windshield wiper, the front light, the turn signals, and the fan really worked. Give me a photo booth that can beat that!