Sunny Hill Festival. Photo: Dua Lipa/Instagram

Environmentalists Protest Sunny Hill’s Return to Gërmia Park

Green activists say if the popular music festival is held as planned in Prishtina’s Gërmia Park, the damage to the environment and wildlife could take decades to recover from.

Animal rights and environmental activists are opposing the holding of the Sunny Hill music festival in Gërmia Park in Prishtina.

After the decision taken on Saturday to return the festival to Gërmia Park, activists called for the festival to be completely canceled, saying it will damage the environment and wildlife.

Elza Ramadani, from the Animal Rights Foundation, said that they will request the cancellation of the festival, as the holding of Sunny Hill in past years in the park “left much to be desired”.

“Their bottles and garbage are still in the park. I have photos and evidence of this. It’s too bad that we do so little to protect the environment and wild animals in this country,” Ramadani wrote on Facebook.

Sunny Hill Festival, the Municipality of Prishtina, the Kosovo Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and other ministries in the government have agreed that this year’s Sunny Hill Festival will be held in Gërmia, and the necessary permits have been secured.

But environmental activists say the relevant institutions and organizers of Sunny Hill under the shadow of the Ministry of Environment have violated Article 151 of the Law on Nature Protection. 

This states that any decision on the use of protected nature areas must be taken in cooperation with the public.

According to the Municipality of Prishtina, due to space limitations in Gërmia park, the Sunny Hill Festival this year will have only a limited number of participants, despite the growing popularity and needs of the festival.

Due to its natural beauty and flora and fauna, Gërmia Park is protected by law. The park is managed by the Horticulture organization, while the professional supervision is done by the Kosovo Institute for Nature Protection. Gërmia Park is on an international list of protected areas.

Flutra Zymi, from the NGO Active Citizens, has invited environmentalists, activists, citizens and civil society to protest in defense of the park.

“You should not allow a handful of illiterate people who govern to behave like this country is theirs and only theirs. I hope the Kosovo Institute for Nature Protection has not made such concessions,” she wrote.

A young activist, Loris Begu, has written on Facebook that the damage the festival causes to the protected landscape of Gërmia cannot be regenerated overnight, but will take decades.

On June 14, 2022, it was officially announced that the festival, co-founded by pop star Dua Lipa, would not be held in Prishtina but would be moved to Tirana in Albania. 

According to the festival organizers, there were too many administrative delays and hurdles concerning the initial location in Bërnica e Poshtme, causing problems for its organization. 

Following an outcry, it was then decided to hold it in both Prishtina and Tirana. On August 4-7, it will be held in Prishtina, while on August 26-28 the festival will resume in Tirana.

05/07/2022 - 09:13

05 July 2022 - 09:13

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.