BOSH Festival – Hub for Artists in the South of Macedonia

bosh, the famous pic, 2011

 Glimpse of BOSH Festival, the 2011 edition

Interview by Stefan Alievikj

What’s BOSH? It is being held at the end of each August in the warmest town in Macedonia, at the very south of country, in Gevgelija!  It is a multimedia art festival, a multimedia platform that utterly celebrates the creative expressionisms, all put in urban context. Or put differently, as the organizers would say, BOSH is an attempt for an estheticized articulation, and as much as deliberation, for the so-called ‘added value’ of the urban culture.

At the end of each summer, Gevgelija becomes the most vibrant and evocative place to be in Macedonia. The public space of the town becomes a free territory; it looks rather different, extraordinary and unconventional. The town hosts a festival in honor and memory of the late actor and poet Bosko Bozadzievski (1981 – 2008) and it is a tribute by few of his close friends.

The festival took place for the first time in 2009 and ever since it aims to expand and get bigger and better in each forthcoming year. Officially behind the festival stands Art Equilibrium, an organization that affirms the rationale for a dynamic, as much as balanced development of arts and culture, in urban context. For this occasion regarding the upcoming 5th issue of the festival and the activities of Art Equilibrium, we have Maria Stojanova from the core team who is to share something more!

1. What’s the aim of organizing a festival such is BOSH?

Maria: The aim of Bosh among other things is to offer socializing and creative celebration of life and freedom, put in urban context. It all takes place in a little town located at the very south of Macedonia, a little town that’s not far from the sea, that smells on the Mediterranean. Bearing in mind that the whole festival program is for free, one of the basic ideals of the contemporary cultural politics in our glocal context is achieved: accessibility to the culture and the creative expressions for everyone to come, to see, to hear, and finally to learn something.

expanding perspective

Glimpse of an exhibition, BOSH Festival in 2012

2. Each year you organize this festival out of scratch and basically everyone in the team volunteers their time and energy. What keeps you vibrant and alive?

Maria: Each new edition of the festival is a huge experience, and gaining that experience strengthens you. From each edition of BOSH, as a working group, we learn something more for the next one. With each upcoming festival, we aspire at something bigger, and the expectations are getting bigger. Probably that’s the challenge that keeps us vibrant and alive all these years.

3. What kind of artists and performers the festival usually hosts? Are there any participants that thankfully to BOSH have come in Macedonia for the first time?

Maria: The festival is not limited when it comes to whether amateurs or professionals should be invited, whether they should be from Macedonia or outside of Macedonia. The one and only thing that BOSH tries to escape is the everyday kitsch which is being served to the young audience. BOSH aims to place different artistic features that in my opinion would never take place if it wasn’t for BOSH. Thankfully to BOSH, for the first time in Macedonia, so far has participated Tehno muda (live) from Serbia, The Eye from Bulgaria, Athom Theatre from Bulgaria, Multietnicka Atrakcija (live) from Serbia and this year, the list will be enriched with Zebra Tracks (live) from Greece, Elastic Theatre coming straight from London, UK and others.

Multietnicka Atrakcija (live) Serbia

Serbian band Multietnicka Atrakcija performing at BOSH in 2012

4. This year, Bosh will celebrate its 5th birthday. What are the expectations?

Maria: Same as the previous years: to be a better festival that will make true artistic amalgamation and invasion of the spirit by offering quality of music, various exhibitions, unique theatre plays, movies etc. BOSH 2013 will take place from 23th to 25th of August. The team welcomes you to experience the ambient all over the town yourself.

5. Bosh combines perfectly so many artistic branches. What do you personally enjoy the most?

Maria: If I were to talk about personally I would say that most of all I enjoy the concerts that take place during the festival days, but it is never a bad idea to check out some good movie, to see a nice theatre play or to visit a good exhibition! All events that occur during BOSH are dear to me, thus I cannot select only a single favourite.

6. As a working group, Art Equilibrium is also working on a quite cool online newspaper, named Chiviluk, that offers an alternative food-for-thought. How did the activities with Chiviluk started?

Maria: Chiviluk started quite spontaniesly. It started as a newspaper that were to announce the first edition of BOSH festival back in 2009 and over the years it grew up in a magazine that is well read and that is maybe unique in its format in Macedonia. The magazine exists for nearly 4 years now thankfully to the team of enthusiasts that are engaged in its creation each month. The redaction is consisted of Georgi Kalinski (Kalinski), Stefco Stefanov (Adzamija), Olivera Tomic (Lola Baj) and myself, Maria Stojanova (MaloOka). At this point I must cheer to all people who collaborate with the Chiviluk team, as well as to everyone who reads the magazine and waits for its publication each month. All issues of the magazine are accessible online in Macedonian.


 Maria in profile, BOSH 2011 

7. What’s the idea behind the magazine?

Maria: The idea of Chiviluk as an urban magazine for contemporary thought is again to avoid the mainstream that makes us fed up on daily basis. If you turn on the TV, if you list a magazine or if you check the regular web portals you will stumble upon the same information. They all inform on commercial events. There is no single TV program that informs or promotes the alternative scene in Macedonia, thus with Chiviluk at the same time we try to fill in that gap.

8. In the end, can you make a comparison of the alternative/underground scene in Macedonia in the 90’s and today?

Maria: If we were to make any parallel about the underground scene in the 90’s and now, I would comment that it is actually today that this scene ascents. If I dare say, maybe this uprising that we can follow is just an answer to the turbo folk culture that overwhelmed the region since the decay of Yugoslavia. There are many Macedonian bands who work and play nowadays and they produce truly beautiful music and the same would go with the other segments of all arts and that’s not a matter of argument. What’s matter of argument is that Macedonia lacks decentralization of the culture and the arts. For example, if in the 90’s there were at least 5 bands in smaller towns, today they are very rare, barely 1 per town. The infrastructure also plays an important role here. If people are to produce something, they need space and conditions and at least a little support that is sometimes very difficult to be found in towns throughout Macedonia. Yet, it leads me to another aim and conclusion for BOSH – that the festival also serves as a platform for decentralization of the culture.

Picture credits to all photographers volunteers at BOSH Festival in 2011 and 2012

The official website of the festival

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