The festival was launched as a way to develop Slovenian popular music scene, which in the late 1950s and early 1960s already had some strong protagonists, yet was lacking a more regular production. Vilko Ovsenik, one of the festival initiators, expressed the festival's creed by saying "if you want to develop your own music, you’ve got to have your own festival".
Chosen as the location of the festival was Bled, where the Ljubljana Jazz Festival was also established just two years prior. While the festival was nominally organised by the Tourism society of Bled, the main protagonists in the conception of Slovenska popevka were the employees at Radio Slovenia, which has been some sort of a co-producer from the start.
The songs were chosen through a public call for original compositions, with select singers invited to perform the chosen compositions alongside Revijski orkester RTV Slovenija (a combination of RTV Slovenia Big Band and RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra). The winners were chosen by the audience and the expert jury, and the competing songs were also released on vinyl. The festival has been for most of the years based in Hala Tivoli, but was occasionally also held elsewhere (Križanke and Cankarjev dom), for two years even in the city of Celje.
The festivals brought to the forefront numerous singers, from those already established before the festival, like Marjana Deržaj and Majda Sepe, to the ones that derived their fame from their Slovenska popevka performances. In the 70s, the festival also embraced authors from the rock and singer-songwriter fields, like Neca Falk, Pepel in kri and Tomaž Domicelj.
In the second part of the seventies, the festival started losing its importance and prestige, and was in 1978 reconceptualised to present a wider array of genres and renamed into Days of Slovenian popular music. Yet the new concept did not last and the final edition was held in 1983. its place taken by other festivals, such as the Melodies of the Sea and Sun.
15 years later, Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) decided to reactivate the festival. Its re-start was held at Križanke, with the festival later migrating between Ljubljana Castle, Cankarjev dom and one of the RTV studios. Still, the songs and authors presented at the festival did not take hold among the public as strongly as the old ones and in 2014, Slovenska popevka was once again dissolved.
It got resurrected in 2016 as the Days of Slovenian popular music.