The Slovenia Times

Opinions clash over concert in Ljubljana's central park

CultureEnvironment & Nature
Tivoli Park, Ljubljana's central park. Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Plans for a mega concert in Ljubljana's central park have sparked a public controversy over whether mass events should be banned from what is one of the capital's major conservation areas in order to protect wildlife.

The person at the centre of controversy is Magnifico, a popular singer-songwriter, who is planning a concert in Tivoli Park on 31 August to celebrate his 30th career anniversary.

While more than 10,000 tickets for the event have already been sold, the concert is hanging in the air after the national Nature Conservation Institute decided not to give it its clearance.

Together with the wooded areas of the Rožnik and Šiška hills, Tivoli Park makes up a 459-hectare landscape park that is home to a variety of plants and animals, some of them endangered species.

The decision, issued in March, cited lasting harmful impact the concert would have on the natural assets of the landscape park, including the flowering plant Pseudostellaria europaea, and the hermit beetle.

Pop artist Magnifico. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA

The conservation authority also denied to issue its clearance for the annual student hike up Rožnik Hill in late May organised by Ljubljana student dorms as part of their May sports games.

However, the organisers and some others pointed out that some other mass events have been allowed to take place, including the annual women's run organised by Drogerie Markt (DM), a chain of stores selling cosmetics, healthcare and household products, which took place on 27 May this year.

Held for the 18th year, the run attracted more than 6,000 runners, plus their supporters, and like every year also featured a concert by the pop band Čuki.

The organisers of the Magnifico concert appealed against the nature conservation authority's decision to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning, one of their arguments being that it was in discrepancy with earlier decisions in other similar cases.

The ministry has recently annulled the decision over procedural mistakes, tasking the Nature Conservation Institute to examine the application for the concert again where it should state clearly under what conditions the concert can be held, or provide clear arguments as to why such an event cannot be held.

The women's DM run in Tivoli Park. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

Supporting Magnifico, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković has described the rejection of the approval for the concert as unreasonable considering that some events in the park have been allowed to go ahead this year.

As one such event he cited was the Labour Day celebrations, which attracted several thousand people, while he also noted that the internationally acclaimed DJ Umek used to play "much louder music" in Tivoli.

But on 27 May, the Youth for Climate Justice addressed a public letter to Magnifico, signed by 130 landscape architects, biologists, urban planners, artists and people enjoying the park, urging him to pick some other location for his concert.

They warn that "a crowd of several thousand people, along with the vehicles and facilities needed for the concert, would damage the habitat of plants, animals and fungi, causing irreversible damage to some of the natural features of the site and the wider area of our key urban park".

They expressed support for the Nature Conservation Institute in its decision, and called for a broad interdisciplinary discussion on the future management of mass events in Tivoli.

"Over the past few years we've seen this concept of megalomania where Tivoli is no longer understood as an oasis of peace ... but as an amusement park where thousands, tens of thousands come for a few hours, leaving devastation behind," Izidor Ostan Ožbolt of the Youth for Climate Justice told RTV Slovenija on 27 May, standing on the site still scattered with props for the women's run.

Magnifico, whose real name is Robert Pešut, has not responded to the call, but he may well be reluctant to heed it, also because he has dedicated one of his songs to Tivoli Park.


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