The ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation, in cooperation with the City of Novi Sad, Music Youth, Velmaro Trio association, and Cultural Centre of Novi Sad, launched a new festival for fans of classical music called NEO*. Non-classical festival of classical music (NEO*), held between 29 August and 1 September, gathered several thousands of citizens at various city locations: in the Danube Park, in the Youth Forum club, in Katolička Porta, and in Suburbium.
Visitors could see and hear young talented musicians, winners of the Danube Sonata festival; then winners of the Anton Eberst competition: Bogdan Bikički (clarinet) accompanied by Nadaša Srdić Jan (piano), senior associate at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad; Fantastic Boys group: Andrej Balaž (violin), Miroslav Ilić (accordion), Miloš Veselinović (guitar). The second day was marked by the highest number of visitors in Katolička Porta, who wanted to hear Camerata Academica, the professional chamber ensemble of the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad with soloist Irena Josifoska performing works of Vivaldi, Haydn and Grieg.
The idea for establishing a festival of classical music came up last year after the concert of Stefan Milenković, while Novi Sad was still in the process of candidacy for the ECoC title. A year later, Novi Sad holds this prestigious title, and a concert of classical music was transformed into a four-day festival.
Long-term goals of the NEO* festival are possibly the most important part of this project: education and promotion of young musicians, building new audience through popularisation of classical music, as well as lowering tourist seasonality that is concentrated on the beginning of summer season by creating new festival period in late August and early September.
The great number of visitors at the concerts, as well as noticeable interest of younger audience for them, show that this and similar projects are important, and the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation will strive to support them by 2021.