Last night’s good turnout and good vibes at all venues drove away the rain (at least for now) and proved to be a nice kick-off of the madness that is Lent. The stage is set for the first Lent Saturday that, aside from the fireworks and a diverse programme at all main venues, will lead to a hot night in the city.

Despite June serving up a cold autumn night after just half a day, Friday’s Lenting could not be stopped. While the ballet dancers from the Maribor Theatre ensemble braved the conditions and gave a stunning rendition of the Swan Lake at the Main Stage on the Drava river, earning thunderous rounds of applause from a nearly sold-out crowd, the Lent promenade came alive as well. All you could hear near and around the stands ofSladoLent, manned by Slovenian chefs Jure Tomič, Leon Pintarič and Grega Rozman, were sounds of plates being licked clean, and, despite the long lines of hungry Lent-goers, it was more than worth sticking around, even if it meant waiting a minute or two.

Swan Lake

On the other side of the promenade the Jurček Stage had settled nicely into its new location already on the first night. This is hardly a surprise, though, as this venue between the Žički Mansion and the Old Vine has been one of the centrepieces of the action ever since the first Lent.

“The Jurček Stage started off with a small stage in a small alley, but it now stands at a location filled with nostalgia, a place where our Lent get-togethers began. I don’t know whether Sinek has all these patrons because of our programme, or whether our programme is so popular because we’re in Sinek’s backyard,”

was how the legendary producer of the Jurček Stage, Vladimir Šega, put it.  And turned over the floor to the excellent Hamo & Tribute 2 love, who swayed the promenade with their distinct blues style that is pleases both romantics and rock-heads.

This where the Večer Stage stood last year, but it has since found a new home at Leon Štukelj Square. Bigger, louder, and once again admission-free, the stage attracted a vast number of fans of the cult punk band Pankrti. Opening for the band was the energetic metal band from Kočevje NcOdNC. Pero Lovšin, or as he’s known among his fans, ‘Perči Gnus’, proved that he still got it, belching out evergreen punk anthems like Bandiera Rossa and Osmi dan. He once again showed that Maribor, a city that always had a soft spot for Pero, is always in his heart by pumping up the crowd with:

“Tonight in Maribor, let’s go to Maribor tonight, let’s go find have some ladies, let’s go have some beer!”

The men raised their voices and the tables were restocked with another round of beers.

Piše se leto 2018: Pankrti

Those who couldn’t get enough party could choose from four after-party venues. Right next to Leon Štukelj Square, the Hungarian band Kampec Doloresserved up an amazing midnight concert at Wetrinsky,  the Serbian DJ Jazzmate pulled out his vinyl collection at Minoriti stage, the young and young at heart could dance their hearts out until the early morning at Mladina Stage to thumping bass lines and broken dubstep rhythms served up by the up-and-coming British wonder boy Oliverse, and Žički Mansion offered a less audacious and more toned down music for the high-class crowds.

Tonight’s highlights on the Main, Večer, and Jurček Stage again offer plenty of opportunities for a hot Saturday night out and Lenting ‘till you can’t Lent no more. Catch Sassja, the loudest and most deep-cutting rapper of former Yugoslavia, at Mladina Stage for the first time in Maribor. The young French DJ Saint-James will take over the Minoriti Stage with his French charm and amazing collection of jazz, funk, fusion and disco music. Wetrinsky will catch a groove with a trio of amazing artists – Bojan Cvetrežnik (Terrafolk), Bor Zakonšek (Moonlooght Sky) and Julijan Erič (Prismojeni profesorji bluesa) – who got together for a new project Nezaslišano.