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MENT Ljubljana 2024

Los Bitchos. Photo by Tina Stariha (MENT)

Don’t get me wrong, I love all the festivals I made a habit of visiting every year, both in my home and my adopted countries. You know the ones: festivals where 90% of the acts either sing in English, and/or come from the Anglosphere. Just like I’m writing these lines in the current lingua franca instead of my own language so you can understand me. But there was something refreshing about my first trip to MENT Ljubljana, and that had to do with the variety of latitudes and, most importantly, languages and regional traditions you get acquainted with on stage, without any pretence of the whole thing being labeled a world music festival.

Because it isn’t – it is a showcase festival, with mainly 30-40min long shows, aimed at discovering new-ish artists from all over Europe, where you’re surrounded by professionals from the music industry – around 700, according to MENT – but also music lovers from all around the region (7000 across 4 days). Except for the odd loud conversation at one of the shows of the opening night, this was probably the nicest and most polite audience I’ve been surrounded by, and that’s something.

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Preview: MENT Ljubljana 2024

Showcase festival MENT Ljubljana‘s tenth edition kicks off next week (21-24 February), and we’re going to be there for the first time. Tipped by industry insiders as one of the best events in Europe to discover new talent, we were drawn to it by the focus on European artists (not exclusively, from all over the Balkans, Central, and Eastern Europe), the iconic venues, and, of course, the charming capital of Slovenia. Labels, collectives and other entities (public radio station Val 202, legendary local label Moonlee, or Belgrade-based tastemakers Hali Gali) curate stages during the two main days of the festival, and are the best way to get a sense of regional scenes. To top it off, this year’s edition boasts an extra segment (and an extra day), CE/MENT, focused on clubbing and electronic music, and features an extensive three-day conference, the largest in the region, with over 120 industry representatives spread by 33 panels.

Our thirteen artists to watch all come from different European countries, and most sing in their native languages. A breath of fresh air from your typical anglocentric festival. (Yes, I’m writing this in English so we can understand each other, I’m aware.) We’ll be posting on our Instagram throughout the festival, so make sure you follow us there, too. MENT Ljubljana 2024 runs from 21 to 24 February, and both day tickets and passes are still available.

We have created a Spotify playlist with our top picks (see below), but the festival was kind enough to put together a playlist with all the artists on your favorite streaming service.

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Bolachas Now Playing

#385: Madeline Kenney, “A New Reality Mine”

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Bolachas Now Playing

#351: Tenci, “A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing”

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Bolachas Now Playing

#328: Sharon Van Etten, “We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong”