UP to 3, 000 people took part in Belgrade Irish Festival (BIF) events between the 14 and 22 March at high profile venues throughout the capital. During this period (between the 16 and 18th March) over 6 major city centre structures became “green” to over a million city residents, as Belgrade participated in Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening Campaign for a second year.
This year’s festival programme marked the centenary of the 1916, Easter, Rising, reaching a crescendo with a lively official reception (at Cinema Fontana) and accompanied by Belgrade’s participation in a worldwide broadcast (from the National Concert Hall in Dublin) of a new historic documentary, 1916 – The Easter Rebellion.
The Programme was also enhanced by the inclusion of a Cabaret performance by the renowned Irish Jazz singer, Honor Heffernan, and the screening of Johnny Gogan’s new documentary about the hidden history and genius of the Irish writer, Huber Butler; Witness to the Future. A superlative jewellery exhibition by two Irish and two Serbian artists, and finally, a very tasty and popular Irish food Week spiced by a visiting Irish chef.
The festival had more visiting artists and guests in 2016 and organised the first St Patrick’s Day tour and bike tour of the great white city of Beograd. Together with our media activities the festival is forging greater awareness and improving visibility between our two, east and west, old European nations. creating a conducive environment for augmenting existing cultural, social, economic and political relations.
Festival staff and guests took part in 17 television interviews- 60 minutes of live prime time television – and six radio interviews; BIF was posted in over 90 major internet articles and appeared in 10 print newspaper articles including colour feature articles in major titles such as Blitz and Politika.
The webpage of the Belgrade Irish Festival – irishfest.rs saw the total number of unique visitors increase by 12,000 in March 2015 with over 60% of the traffic originating in Serbia, where in a smaller percentage from Ireland, Germany and Switzerland.
By the end of March 2016 the official BIF Facebook page had reached 2,735 likes, which is a 30% increase in likes, year on year. The Cabaret – The Whistling Girl event had reached 30K people, as well as the ‘Greening’ photo competition that had a reach of 37K people. The BIF page had a reach of 50K people. By the end of March the festival had 863 followers and 60 posts on Instagram. Over 8, 500 items of printed materials were produced and used to promote the festival throughout the city