Slovenska popevka Festival


Slovenska popevka

Festival dates13.9.2014

Slovenska popevka Festival was launched in 1962 as a platform for the development and dissemination of newly composed Slovenian pop music. Genre-wise, it was similar to the then very popular Festival della Canzone Italiana in San Remo, which it also resembled in name that is roughly translatable as Slovenian song festival. Already from the start have immensely popular hits started emerging from the festival, with most of the winning songs (and many others as well) today regarded as evergreens. The first two editions were held in Bled, but due to logistical reasons the festival has then more or less permanently moved to Ljubljana.

Later its popularity declined and in 1983 the festival has been disbanded. Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia) reanimated it in 1998 and with a slightly less resounding success, the festival lasted until 2014. In 2016 it rose again in yet another reiteration, the Days of Slovenian popular music.


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.

Slovenska popevka Festival 1962 - 1983

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.

The second rising of the festival

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.

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