Filling the second part of my summer vacation with festivals around Kosovo.
The first part of my summer was spent helping with camps, which you can read about here, and the second part has been less volunteer-y and more host country-y as I’ve swapped working with Kosovar youth for attending Kosovar festivals with other PCVs.
The first festival I went to was Anibar, which is an animation film festival held in Peja for a week during the summer. This was Anibar’s 10th year in Kosovo, and they managed to bring Bryan Newton, a director from Rick & Morty, to speak at an event. My friends and I attended the event and 2/3 of the trivia questions were answered correctly by us Americans. Not surprising.
I also went to a screening of 10 short animation films from the Emile Awards, European Animation Awards, which ranged from laugh-out-loud funny to very heavy and serious.
During Anibar, there are several “cinemas” set up across the city that show films throughout the festival; we went to the one that was set up in the big park with a projector across the small pond, ambitiously named ‘Lake Cinema.’
After the Lake Cinema, we went to another “cinema” to watch animated music videos and then went to the after-party. Anibar was such a cool reminder of how unique Kosovo and its youth are.
The next festival I went to, and the one I’d been very excited about for quite a while, was Sunny Hill Festival. Sunny Hill is a 3-day music festival started by Kosovo’s own Dua Lipa and her father Dukagjini, which was made to bring international attention to Kosovo and its music scene. This year’s headliners were Miley Cyrus (yes, that Miley Cyrus), Gashi (an Albanian-American artist), and Calvin Harris. The lineup included mainly Albanian and/or Kosovar artists. My favorite performances were definitely Miley Cyrus and Ledri Vula, an Albanian artist who has a lot of popular songs here in Kosovo.
I went to the festival with some of my friends and we all welcomed the much-needed break from “volunteer life.” I’m so stoked to be serving in a host country with such awesome opportunities to enjoy.
The last festival I went to was Hardh Fest, a wine and grape festival in Rahovec, a village near Prizren. I went to this festival last year when I had just moved to site and had just finished my first week of school, but this year it was moved up by a few weeks. I got to meet some of the new cohort that had just sworn in, drink yummy samples from local wineries, and sleep in a tent. I had an absolute blast.
I’m so grateful to have been able to attend these festivals that embodied Kosovo’s vibrance and youth. I’d like to say I’m re-energized and “ready” for the new school year, but that may be a bit of a stretch. I can say with confidence, however, that I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer vacation.