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Behind a travelling festival there are always some travel notes


Nima Splita do Splita...


Lidija Bačić told Radio Rijeka that MIK was the best festival. She likes the length of it and the friendly atmosphere. We heard similar words from Maja Blagdan after her MIK debut in 2006. Another participant said that MIK was the best run festival. This summer it proved it can even weather - the weather. Duško Jeličić  summerized the sentiment of his collegues like this: It's exhausting, but when it's over I'll miss it. Lidija and her Dalmatian colegues didn't only enjoy the atmoshpere but added their friendly and outgoing temperament to help create it, never missing an opportunity to socialize, joke, or reach to anyone who happened to be around. Off the stage, there was ride-share, singing, story telling, and many many jokes. All singers seemed to have learned all the songs of the festival, and often  sang along, and danced behind the stage to the tune that was being played and sung on the stage.




"Kade je Gračišće" (where is Gračišće)?, asked a woman watching MIK finale 2007. The man sitting next to her answered: "Ne znan, nigder va Istre" (I don't know. Somewhere in Istria). There may still be those who ask the same question, but as far as MIK people are concerned, it's the reception in that town they want to show their friends and relatives, and where they want to come to see MIK  when they aren't participating as performers (last year that was klapa Maslina, this year Pešekani). The tiny općina Gračišće (population 200, MIK audience over 1000), seems more like MIK capital then the smallest and least populated host town. Mayor Nino Mijandrušić and his team do whatever it takes to make MIK another big fešta, and to solidify town's reputation as "Mića općina za vele fešte", or, as Nino put it when he received the award for the most hospitable host town, "Mića općina z velen srcen".





It is well known that MIK connects past and present, that is our musical heritage with current trends and tastes. It also connects Istria and Kvarner... at times when political forces pull the other way. And, in a certain small way, it connects people of these regions to their relatives in the USA, Canada, Australia... A surprise example of bridging old and new, was the performance of "Putokazi", who turned old Istrian songs into a contemporary performing arts form, to the delight of MIK audience in every host town. "Lipa si mi i lipo se nosiš - samo malo na široko hodiš" were the words of one of the Putokazi songs, the words my grandmother taught me, way,way back. Then another surprise example of bringing back memories of the good old days: Labin wind orchestra, which greeted the MIK caravan, had in its midst, Lucijano Miletić, my high school classmate, who played in the same orchestra back 45 years ago. At that time, coincidently the tiem when MIK was born, he also played in a band called "Histri", which was performing for the tourists at the legendary "Bašta" in Rabac. The band opened and closed each dance evening with "Balun", played with guitar, saxophone, trumphet and drums. It can be done, and it can be modern and cool!




As always, the final concert gives an opportunity for host town mayors to say something they want TV audience to know about their towns. Mayor of Bakar concluded his talk about town's recent accomplishments by saying: "Zatvaramo prljavu industriju i otvaramo čistu" (We are shutting down dirty industry and building clean one). One must wonder what the two mayors, sitting a few feet away in the first row, were thinking about this idea. They seem to have "qiuetly" accepted sponsorship for the concerts in their towns from the worst local polluter, the stone wool factory, built between the Nature Park Učka and protected(!) area of Dol at the same time as the chimney of Bakar coal plant came down. The plant was the subject of local environmental protest since it was conceived in 1970's,  and was never completed. A lesson for the population of Općina (comune of) Pićan as well!




Few things can be as much fun as getting directions to a place from people who know the area well. In America their directions always end up with: "You can't miss it". Finding places where MIK concerts we held after "moving under a roof" was no exception.

In Kostrena, you ask directions to the "Pomorac" soccer field, and they tell you it's right next to the new gymnasium. Only, if I knew where the new gymnasium was, I would certainly know about the soccer field, since it's been there way back since "my days".

In Krk, the weather forced the concert into the High School gymnasium. So I asked some school age children how to get there. The first one calls another to help. I explained my question asking: How would you get to your school from here? He said: go straight, then turn toward the church of so and so, then walk that way, then turn right, then left, then right and uphill... Well, I went back to the car that I parked near the original concert site, and drove toward where the school should be. When I saw school warning signs on the pavement I parked - and asked where the High School was. A woman told me this was the elementary school here. High School is further up, next to the Medical office. Oh boy! Before I asked schoolchildren where their school was - now I need to find a sick person and ask where the medical office is! Anyway, all ended well when I spotted bunches of  people heading toward a building that looked like a school gymnasium.

In Pula, they told me to just walk straight ahead all the way, for a while, then to turn right!


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