The hundreds of events of the Bratislava Cultural Summer will conclude with a concert of the Slovak Philharmonic at the fountain


Bratislava Cultural Summer, the city's biggest festival, is coming to an end. 14 city districts, 7 city organisations and dozens of cultural organisers joined the 48th edition of the festival through BKIS's Open Call. From 15 June to 10 September, they jointly organised more than 800 diverse events for the public throughout Bratislava. An open-air concert by the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra will be the finale of the festival.

At the beginning of the Bratislava Cultural Summer, the city along with the Metropolitan Institute of Bratislava (MIB) and the Bratislava Cultural and Information Centre (BKIS), after 16 years, officially launched the Družba Fountain on Freedom Square. Symbolically, the culminating event of the festival will be held on the renovated square on Sunday, 10 September. The concert of the Slovak Philharmonic at the fountain is a gift to the city to mark the 30th anniversary of the Slovak Republic and the European Heritage Days. Compositions by Bedřich Smetana, Alexander Moyzes, Johann Strauss Jr. and other composers will be performed on the square. The Orchestra will also play musical scores from films, one of the most popular and most anticipated concerts of the season among visitors to Bratislava Reduta. The one-hour programme conducted by chief conductor Daniel Raiskin will also be a teaser for the new 75th concert season. For an undisturbed outdoor musical experience, the fountain will be turned off on Sunday. In the event of bad weather, the event will be moved to the Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall.

Traditional event in a non-traditional setting

Bratislava Cultural Summer offered a multi-genre programme for all generations from exhibitions, concerts, yoga, swap, dance workshop for children, to discussions on mental health interpreted into sign language. "We really appreciate that city institutions and an increasing number of city districts are joining us every year. Together we were able to offer the public up to 828 events over 88 days. Coming together makes a difference," says Katarína Hulíková, Director of BKIS, the chief organiser of the festival.

Although the Bratislava Cultural Summer has been held for almost half a century, its dramaturgy is constantly innovating. BKIS has introduced new formats to this year's programme, such as silent disco at Klarisky, concerts Mladí v Sade, the street festival Night of Music or the Living Library of the Eduma non-profit organisation. Another novel feature was the live recording of the BKIS podcast Rendezvous with the City - not solely about the history of Bratislava in the green courtyard on Biela 6. The space, which BKIS has only recently leased from the city, was transformed into a green oasis in the heart of the Old Town with a plant installation during the summer.

Celebration of music in Bratislava streets

A new event of the Bratislava Cultural Summer, planned to become a permanent addition to the festival, was the Night of Music (Fête de la Musique). The street festival, which has its origins in France, takes place in more than 120 countries around the world on the summer solstice. In a single night, you can discover little-known musicians and experience genre-diverse musical performances at interesting venues in the city. During the first Night of Music hosted by BKIS, dozens of musicians celebrated the international music holiday in the streets of Bratislava.

Young people on the scene

BKIS also made space for young artists in this year's programme. "We have selected ten performers from the "Open Call - Young in the Park" applications to perform on the Cultural Stage in Janko Kráľ Park on selected summer Fridays. Performing in front of an audience is an important experience for emerging artists at the start of their career," says Katarína Hulíková. "BKIS provided us not only with great technical conditions and a stage but also with an overall vibe that made us feel like home. As young musicians who are just starting out on the Slovak music scene, we were welcomed with a preview of how things can work beautifully here in Bratislava," say Vincent, Krištof and Theresa from the Ktovie band. BKIS wants to give space to young art in the next edition of the festival as well.

Programme also for hearing-impaired persons

The theme of the 48th Bratislava Cultural Summer was the promotion of mental health. In order to spread important information to the widest possible audience, a series of summer discussions with the Mental Health League in the summer reading room at U červeného raka were interpreted into Slovak sign language. Disadvantaged groups are not always considered during events like this. BKIS wants to change that. It makes a recording of the interpreted events, which are uploaded to its YouTube channel. Since last year, BKIS has been doing so to create an online archive for the deaf community.

September will also be about communities

At the end of the Bratislava Cultural Summer, you can also exercise in the open air, go to exhibitions, concerts or take part in the guided walks Rendezvous with the City. However, September will also be about communities. The informal initiative of people around the Slovak Radio Kopec susedov invites you to a concert by Martin Geišberg on 6 September in the park on Belopotockého Street. On 9 September, the 6th edition of the festival Memorial to Dežo will take place in Dúbravka. The event dedicated to the work and personality of the legendary musician Dežo Ursiny will bring to the park on Fedáková Street a programme filled with music and literature for children and adults. On the same day, the 4th edition of the popular city festival Live Racko will be held in the park on Račianske mýto. Visitors can look forward to a varied music programme for both young and adults, a street food zone, lectures, workshops and a book swap. All three community events have received funding from BKIS through the Open Call.

The current programme of the Bratislava Cultural Summer can be found at BKIS ↗︎.