|Genre||Rock, Punk, Metal, Hip hop, Reggae|
|Dates||Three days in July|
|Location(s)||Kastel Fortress, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
Demofest (official name: Jelen Demofest) is an annual music festival held at the Kastel Fortress in Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was conceived in 2008 with the aim to provide young unsigned bands with an opportunity to develop and revive the rock scene of former Yugoslavia. Today, it is the biggest festival of unsigned bands in Southeastern Europe and one of the biggest free festivals in this region.
Demofest consists of competitive and non-competitive program. Competition is open to all unsigned rock, punk, pop, metal, hip hop or reggae bands originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro or Macedonia. Regional and world music stars are featured in non-competitive program and some of the biggest hosted names include Guano Apes, Kosheen, Gentleman, Stereo MCs, Kelis, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Triggerfinger, Asian Dub Foundation, Kiril Džajkovski, Dubioza kolektiv, Majke, Psihomodo pop, Damir Urban, S.A.R.S and Partibrejkers.
From 2008 to 2015, over 3,000 unsigned bands applied for the competition and 61 performers played in the non-competitive program. Entry to all festival events is free and in the last few years every edition of the festival has attracted over 40,000 visitors.
In 2013, Demofest was included on UNESCO list of projects contributing to cultural rapprochement and establishing ties between countries of former Yugoslavia. It was supported by international institutions on several occasions, while all relevant regional media and numerous world media such as The Guardian, Vice or MTV reported on the festival. This music event was also featured in the film "Zduhač Means Adventure", whose plot follows several characters on their journey to Demofest.
Concept of the Festival
The call for applications for participation in the competition opens in the spring of every year. Applicants send their demo recordings along with the application documents and approximately 30 of them are granted with the opportunity to perform at the festival. The winning band is awarded with the recording and production of both their album and a music video. Second placed and third placed bands are awarded with stage equipment. In addition to these, various other awards are regularly handed out.
Contestants, finalists and winners of the main awards are all selected by the jury consisting of different members each year. Apart from representatives of Demofest and festival sponsors, the jury is composed of famous regional musicians, rock critics, music journalists and producers. Some of the previous jury members were Rambo Amadeus, Davor Gobac, Elvir Laković Laka, Vlatko Stefanovski, Marko Šelić Marčelo, Vasil Hadžimanov, Nikola Vranjković, Milorad Milinković, Petar Janjatović and Branimir Lokner.
Since 2011, festival lasts for three days. Headliners perform after contestants and each year there is an accompanying day program, featuring graffiti and comic workshops, photography and painting exhibitions, film projections, book promotions, various music events and numerous workshops, trainings and lectures for the musicians.
First edition of the festival was the longest one and it took place from July 19 to July 26. 192 unsigned bands applied and 32 performed in the competition. Only this year contestants played two songs, while headliners performed between the competition nights.
The winning band was KillingJazzHardCoreBaby (Travnik, BiH), second placed was Tripcycle (Novi Sad, Serbia) and third placed was Magma (Belgrade, Serbia). Audience Award and Journalists Award were also handed out.
The day program featured graffiti workshops, photography exhibitions, movie projections, trainings for musicians and panel discussions.
Second edition of the festival took place from July 23 to July 27. 304 unsigned bands applied and 33 performed in the competition. For the first time, globally popular musicians and winners from the previous year were included in non-competitive program, which became the standard in the following years.
Winning band was Prophaganda (Zagreb, Croatia), second placed was Discopath (Split, Croatia) and third place was shared between ZAA (Kruševac, Serbia) and Tanker (Banja Luka, BiH). Audience Award and Journalists Award were also handed out.
The day program featured photography exhibitions, film projections, trainings for musicians and music events.
Third edition of the festival took place from July 21 to July 24. 370 unsigned bands applied and 34 performed in the competition. The festival was officially renamed to Jelen Demofest.
The day program featured illustrations exhibitions, film projections, trainings for musicians and music events.
Fourth edition of the festival took place from July 27 to July 29 . 438 unsigned bands applied and 24 performed in the competition. Only this year tickets for Demofest were in sale.
Winning band was Plišani mališan (Gornji Milanovac, Serbia), second placed was Big Bug (Pirot, Serbia) and third placed was Aesthetic Empathy (Sarajevo, BiH). Fourth placed bands were also awarded and Most Promising Banja Luka Band award was introduced.
The day program featured comic workshops, book promotions, trainings for musicians of books and music events.
Due to the lack of financial support, organizers initially canceled the fifth edition of the festival. However, in the early 2012, several young individuals from Banja Luka started a campaign for survival of the festival, aimed at securing financial aid for Demofest from the Government of Republic of Srpska. The campaign became widespread very quickly, receiving support throughout BiH and neighbouring countries. After the petition with 3,500 signatures was submitted, relevant authorities granted the needed funds. Festival took place from July 26 to July 28. 395 unsigned bands applied and 30 performed in the competition.
Winning band was Neuro (Banja Luka, BiH), second placed was Kraj programa (Rijeka, Croatia) and third placed was Dede Putra (Bihać, BiH). Most Promising Banja Luka Band award was handed out, as well as the special Organization Award and Best Journalist Award. Blue Bass award for the best bass player was also introduced in the memory of the late Banja Luka musician Igor Kašiković Kale, who used to play a blue colored bass guitar.
The day program featured comic workshops, photography exhibitions, movie projections and music events.
Sixth edition of the festival took place from July 18 to July 20. 428 unsigned bands applied and 30 performed in the competition. 40,000 visitors attended the festival, setting the record at the time.
Winning band was M.O.R.T (Sinj, Hrvatska), second placed was Kontradikshn (Brežice, Slovenia) and third placed was SmokeShakers (Kavadarci, Macedonia). Most Promising Banja Luka Band, Blue Bass, Best Drummer and Best Journalist awards were also handed out.
The day program featured comic workshops, unique products market, trainings for musicians, music events and an exhibition of Davor Gobac’s paintings.
Seventh edition of the festival took place from July 17 to July 19. 458 unsigned bands applied and 30 performed in the competition. After a three-year break, globally popular acts headlined Demofest again.
Winning band was Hulahoop (Kamnik, Slovenia), second placed was Punkart (Tuzla, BiH) and third placed was Low Peak Charlie (Primorska / Ljubljana, Slovenia). A record number of awards was handed out: Most Promising Banja Luka Band, Blue Bass, Best Drummer, Best Guitar Player, Best Placed Contestant From Banja Luka and Best Journalist.
The day program featured comic workshops, photography exhibitions, trainings for musicians and music events.
Eight edition of the festival took place from July 16 to July 18. 461 unsigned bands applied and 31 performed in the competition. For the first time, Demofest stage was not located on Kastel summer stage, due to its reconstruction, but in the other, more spacious area of Kastel Fortress.
Winning band was Nord (Rijeka, Croatia), second placed was Rezerve (Tučepi, Croatia) and third placed was S.K.A. (Leskovac, Serbia). Audience Award was also handed out, as well as Blue Bass, Best Guitar Player and Best Journalist awards.
Headliners were Gentleman, Triggerfinger, M.O.R.T., Who See, T.B.F., Irie FM, Hulahoop, Punkart and Low Peak Charlie. Initially, it was announced that Eagles of Death Metal will also headline Demofest, but one week before the festival the band canceled last three shows of their 2015 summer tour (Greece, Hungary and BiH), citing "economic situation in Greece" as the main reason.
The day program featured photography exhibitions, unique products market, Human Library, film projections, book promotions and music events.
Awards and Acknowledgements
|Year||First Place||Second Place||Third Place||Other Awards|
|2008||KillingJazzHardcoreBaby||Tripcycle||Magma||Audience Award: Grof Đuraz
Journalists Award: Catrin Noise
|2009||Prophaganda||Discopath||ZAA / Tanker||Audience Award: Orion
Journalistis Award: Prophaganda
|2010||Threesome||Kuriri||Prežderani||Audience Award: Kteri|
|2011||Plišani mališan||Big Bug||Aesthetic Empathy||Fourth Place: Nova, Bitipatibi, The Schtrebers, Indigo Pop
Most Promising Banja Luka Band: Tanker
|2012||Neuro||Kraj programa||Dede Putra||Organization Award: Vila Filozofina
Blue Bass: Nemanja Ristović
Best Journalist: Branka Glavonjić
|2013||M.O.R.T.||Kontradikshn||SmokeShakers||Most Promising Banja Luka Band: Važno obavještenje
Blue Bass: Matija Jašarov
Best Drummer: Gregor Hodinj
Best Journalist: Savo Drakulić
|2014||Hulahoop||Punkart||Low Peak Charlie||Audience Award: BenefitMost Promising Banja Luka Band: Brutal Protest
Best Placed Contestant From Banja Luka: Shanghai Street Fight
Blue Bass: Lovro Velušček
Best Drummer: Luka Žižić
Best Guitar Player: Marko Bagarić
Best Journalist: Haris Suljović
|2015||Nord||Rezerve||S.K.A.||Audience Award: Cardinal PointBlue Bass: Mihael Prosen
Best Guitar Player: Ante Puharić
Best Journalist: Zoran Tučkar
|2008||KUD Idijoti, Marčelo & Filter Crew, Urban & 4, Darko Rundek & Kargo Orkestar, Vlatko Stefanovski Trio|
|2009||Kosheen, Asian Dub Foundation, Nouvelle Vague, Therapy?|
|2010||Stereo MCs, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Kiril Džajkovski, New Young Pony Club|
|2011||Kelis, Skindred, Tricky|
|2012||Majke, Psihomodo pop, Zemlja gruva, Darkwood Dub & Bisera Veletanlić, Sopot, T.B.F.|
|2013||Dubioza kolektiv, Kiril Džajkovski, S.A.R.S., Partibrejkers, Plejboj, Superhiks|
|2014||Guano Apes, Max Romeo, Brand New Heavies, Urban & 4, Hladno pivo, Eyesburn|
|2015||Gentleman, Triggerfinger, T.B.F., Who See, Irie FM, M.O.R.T.|
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- "EU podržava Jelen Demofest". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- Perkovic, Sladjana. "The insider's cultural guide to Banja Luka: Where life is lived in cafes". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "VICE vodič za Banja Luku | VICE | Srbija". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Summer Festival Report: Jelen Demofest". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- (www.promotim.ba), Centar. "Grad Banjaluka podržava Demofest". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Eagles of Death Metal Official : IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING NEXT WEEK'S TOUR DATES". Retrieved 2015-07-12.
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