The Spring Festival is an eagerly awaited annual event which draws enthusiasts of Balkan and other Eastern European as well as Eastern Mediterranean music, dance, food, and culture from throughout North America to Chicago - a chance to celebrate with old friends and to make new ones.
Guided by master dance teachers and inspired by virtuoso musicians you will want to dance, sing, and jam all weekend long! Be enthralled by splendid performances of music and dance at the Saturday evening concert, and then enjoy great dancing on a sprung oak floor to exhilarating live music. Our sizzling parties are renowned coast-to-coast and have proven equally popular among dancers, world music fans, and the Balkan and Eastern European communities. Bring your family and friends too!
While this program for many years had been part of the Global Voices spring festival series at the International House at the University of Chicago, long-time co-sponsors of the festival along with the University of Chicago Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES), WHPK, Eastern European Folklore Society, and the Ensemble Balkanske Igre, which performs the traditional dance and music of the Balkans and Eastern Europe, beginning in 2023 we have moved the Spring Festival to the northern Chicago suburbs in order to improve outreach to the very communities whose cultures we celebrate. This year’s Spring Festival is being held with support from the Bulgarica Center and the Vivanov BG Dance Group. The Ensemble in recent years has co-sponsored or provided logistical support for concerts with such distinguished artists as Esma Redzepova ("Queen of Romany Music") & Ansambl Teodosievski, Ivo Papazov (winner of the 2005 BBC Audience Choice Award in world music), Orchestra Boban Markovic (First & Golden Trumpet" at the Guča Dragačevski Sabor Gathering of top brass bands), Ivan Dyakov (top Macedonian singer in Bulgaria), Orchestra KAL (Romany orchestra that was at the top of the world music charts in Europe in 2006), Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares and other top artists. Authentic Rrom dance, music, and culture will be prominently featured in performance and in fun, participatory workshops.
This year's nationally renowned 58th anniversary Spring Festival will feature virtuoso musicians and artists performing the captivating music and dance from every corner of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Mediterranean, including Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine. Balkan music and dance enthusiasts are flocking in from coast to coast.
This is the premier festival of this type in the midwest, the only one of this quality and scale between New York and California, and puts Chicago at the cutting edge of the exciting scene in world and Balkan music and dance.