Courtesy of Sunny Hill Festival.

Sunny Hill Festival: Grand Return in Prishtina

The Sunny Hill Festival founded by globally renowned pop star Dua Lipa, will make its grand comeback in summer 2024 only in Kosovo capital, Prishtina, without having a second edition in Albania’s capital, Tirana, organiser told Prishtina Insight.

 The international music festival ‘Sunny Hill’ will make its grand comeback in Prishtina on July 25-28, 2024, with a promising future after a one year pause, attributed to preparations of the much disputed venue in the village of Bërnicë e Poshtme/Donja Bernjica as the bureaucratic procedures for property allocation by the Municipality of Prishtina had hindered the festival’s organisation.

Alban Kastrati, managing partner at the Kosovo based Republika Communications Agency, the organiser of the festival, told Prishtina Insight that the fourth edition will only be held in Prishtina and will not be organised in neighbouring Albania’s capital, Tirana, as in 2022. 

“This edition will be much more massive in terms of the number of participants, with a focus solely on Prishtina. In the new space, the festival can expand significantly and realise its full potential to become one of the largest and most interesting festivals in Europe,” Kastrati said.

The designated festival area, seventeen hectares given by the municipality is in the outskirts of Prishtina, in the village Bërnicë e Poshtme/Donja Brnica, some 10 km (6.2 miles) from the city centre. 

British singer with Kosovo origin Dua Lipa performs on stage during the Sunny Hill Festival in Pristina,Kosovo, 10 August 2018. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

Kastrati told BIRN that “with the festival’s own investments, we are constructing a public park for citizens,” which will be available for the rest of the year. 

“Initially, we have cleared and levelled the terrain, and now we are in the process of landscaping, planting hundreds of trees, and then other necessary elements,”  he added.

On May 10, 2022, Prishtina municipal assembly voted  in favour of leasing Sunny Hill a 17-hectare property in Bernica e Poshtme/Donja Brnjica for 99 years.

The decision stirred many reactions among the public and opposition in the municipal assembly over citing transparency issues.

According to the contract, the municipality cannot use the land for any other event 40 days before and 20 days after the Sunny Hill festival is held.

It can only use the site for 60 days within a year, for such events as classical and jazz music concerts, including festivals of the Philharmonic of Kosovo. These events should also not have more than 3,000 participants.

Opposition members of the Prishtina assembly and NGOs had highly criticized the lack of transparency and fairness in leasing the land to the Sunny Hill music festival.

Statements from the government at the local and central level, including delays in documentation, had initially led organisers to move the festival to Albania’s capital, Tirana. However, it later returned to Prishtina after complaints from ticket holders for the Prishtina edition and because the festival’s initial purpose was to promote Kosovo.

The need to prepare the infrastructure of the location allocated by the Municipality of Prishtina caused the festival not to be held in 2023.

“This year, we are preparing our new and permanent home. One that ensures our festival-goers experience nothing less than the best they expect and deserve,”  the May 2023 festival’s official announcement  reads.

“Our festival-goers deserve the absolute best in all aspects, including the festival venue and its infrastructure. We believe that rushing the process would compromise the quality and essence of what Sunny Hill Festival represents,” the announcement continued. 

The festival, founded in 2018 by the world-famous Kosovo-origin singer Dua Lipa and her father, Dukagjin , is the largest music festival in Kosovo, which aims to put Kosovo on the map with one of the biggest festivals in Europe.

In 2018, 2019, and 2022, it was held in Germia Park in the capital, but due to capacity limitations and environmental concerns, there was a request for the festival to have its own location.

Sunny Hill Festival has gained international media attention by hosting major artists.

According to the Festival, as of 2023, T.H.E Music Essentials listed as one of the top 5 best festivals to attend in Europe.

14/02/2024 - 16:18

14 February 2024 - 16:18

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.