The situation in which the Sea Dance Festival found itself after the revocation of funding from state institutions has become an international topic. Namely, the industry-leading publication Pollstar reported yesterday that Sea Dance was forced to leave Montenegro and that there have been speculations that this festival is considered unwelcome competition, given that the Minister of Economic Tourism and Development, Goran Đurović, has already announced that he intends to bring a new event to Montenegro.

The Pollstar report, authored by one of today’s foremost music journalists, Gideon Gottfried, indicates that the Ministry of Tourism of Montenegro has announced plans to deny the festival the financial resources it has received since its foundation in 2014, with Minister Goran Đurović citing EU legislation limiting state aid. Pollstar points out that it had insight into Sea Dance’s contracts with state institutions and that the contract in question is of a commercial nature.

It is not charity nor state aid. Hence, the EU law limiting state aid cannot apply. It is very common for festivals in Europe to receive state funds in exchange for boosting the local economy and giving the host country international exposure, helping with city marketing, and attracting tourists. One of the largest, Sziget in Hungary, for instance, receives more than a million Euros each year. These are commercial agreements, clearly separating them from state aid, where no exchange of value is expected,“ the influential music magazine Pollstar explains in its article.

The magazine points out that many of Sea Dance’s sister festivals maintain commercial partnerships with government institutions in numerous countries worldwide, including several EU countries. Among them, as noted, is the Sea Star festival in Croatia, which attracted more than 40,000 people in May, with significant support from the City of Umag and the Croatian Tourist Board.

“Croatia is, therefore, among the countries the team behind Sea Dance is eyeing for its potential exodus. Turkey or Bulgaria are other alternatives,“ the American Pollstar writes.

The text also mentions that a document adopted by the Government of Montenegro predicted that Sea Dance would contribute over €100 million to Montenegrin tourism by 2025 and “significantly contribute to the improvement of business, not only in the tourism sector but in the overall economy.” 

Finally, Pollstar notes that Sea Dance has brought some of the world’s biggest music stars to Montenegro, including The Prodigy, Jamiroquai, David Guetta, Skrillex, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, John Newman, Sean Paul, Robin Schulz, and Boris Brejcha.

Pollstar is one of the most prominent professional publications focused on the global concert industry with a 40-year traditionAs a reminder, Sea Dance announced on May 24 that the festival would not be held in Montenegro this year due to the denial of support from state institutions.