Concerning the press release published by the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, which states that the Government of Montenegro informed the organisers of Sea Dance in mid-May about the legal obstacles to financing the festival, we feel compelled to protect the truth and inform the public that this information is not correct and that said notice arrived on July 20th, i.e., more than two months after the festival was announced relying on the promised financial support from the state. On this occasion, we remind the public of the events that preceded the announcement of this year’s edition of the festival.
Namely, on May 5th this year, Prime Minister Dritan Abazović and Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović met with the organisers of the Sea Dance festival and confirmed that the Government’s support would remain at the level of previous years. On that occasion, in addition to the financial support for this year, the Government representatives promised to sign a long-term contract with the festival, which would significantly improve the festival’s quality, given the fact that the length of each campaign would extend to 9-12 months compared to the 2-3 months we’re used to seeing. This would directly lead to a significant increase in the number of foreign festival visitors who plan their festival trips during the winter. On the same day, we were asked to support the National Day celebration event on July 13th in Bar, which we did by booking the band “Barcelona Gipsy Balkan Orchestra,” Marko Louis, and After Affair.
On May 19th, the Ministry of Finance approved the allocation of the necessary funds to finance the festival. A day later, on May 20th, a press event was held in Budva, attended by the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Goran Đurović, announcing the signing of a long-term contract between the Sea Dance Festival and the state. On that occasion, the minister said that Montenegro has multiple economic, touristic and promotional benefits from this festival, and, as a representative of the Government of Montenegro, he confirmed that the state would continue to support this festival in the future.
In June, we were informed that the current cooperation model would have to be changed and that solutions would have to be worked on, which was followed by a series of meetings on that topic. At the end of June, a model of the Negotiating Procedure was proposed to us, which we accepted. Unfortunately, on July 20th, we were informed that the Government could still not support the festival. At that time, we told the relevant state services about the models that work in other countries where EXIT organises festivals; however, none of the three proposed models that function in other EU countries, such as Croatia, was accepted.
Finally, we are sad to say that the situation surrounding Sea Dance Festival has been politicised. If the state’s support had not been promised, we would not have considered organising the festival this year. This support is necessary considering the limitations of the domestic market when it comes to commercial sponsorships and other commercial revenues, which are ten times smaller than in other countries where we organise festivals.
EXIT has so far started 10 festivals in 8 European countries, while we have received invitations from the Middle East, Asia, and North America, where we will realise various events in the coming years. The Sea Dance Festival is the first event we have organised outside of Serbia and is one of our favourite festivals. The support from the Montenegrin public in the past few days obliges us to do everything we can to hold the festival. Still, the fact is that we cannot make it happen at any cost, but only if it is welcomed by the Government of Montenegro and the Municipality of Budva.