A Brief Chat with Bear Stone Festival’s Organiser

A Brief Chat with Bear Stone Festival’s Organiser

In July 2022, Tena Šarčević interviewed Bear Stone Festival’s organizer Marin Lalić for Jutarnji List. Here is what they talked about.

Bear Stone Festival is a curious new appearance on Croatia’s festival map. It was held for the first time ever on July 01 and 02 earlier this year with a free but limited attendance, in the vicinity of the town Slunj in the heart of Croatia. It primarily gathers artists from the psychedelic and stoner rock scene, but doesn’t stop there.

The organiser Marin Lalić tells us how it all started.

  • The idea for Bear Stone Festival came together during the spring of 2021. Earlier that year me and my then girlfriend and now wife, decided to move to my hometown of Slunj after finishing college in Zagreb and start our own business. For years we have both been visiting numerous concerts as well as festivals and we both consider ourselves to be huge fans of Rock music in all of its shapes and forms. Music can bring people together in a way that few other things can and we always wanted to do something that has a certain amount of magic in it. Not long after our move the idea of Bear Stone Festival was born as a project that can fulfill us while at the same time give us the opportunity to give something back to our local community – says Lalić.

He continues on the concept of the festival.

  • Bear Stone Festival is imagined as a gathering of fans of music, art and nature. The music element in Bear Stone Festival is represented by bands from various genres such as Desert Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Fuzz Rock, as well as by a large number of experimental subgenres that will evolve through the years. Art element is presented through different psychedelic visual installations and mind-blowing video projections that will provide a great addition to the festival programme. However, the main element that separates Bear Stone Festival from other festivals is the unique location on which it’s held. The natural beauty of the location where we are privileged to organise the festival is something truly one of a kind and because of that we want the location itself to be the main festival headliner.

What part of the lineup were you most proud of?

  • Long term goal of Bear Stone Festival is that its musical component is formed both by bands from the region as well as by the world renowned artists from the genre. I’m especially proud of the fact that in the Year Zero Edition of the festival we were able to remain true to our goal and gather phenomenal Croatian bands and famous bands from all over Europe. By doing so we have created a lineup that gave our visitors colourful, but consistent musical programme. Our headliners this year were bands that have played in front of several thousand people and it’s my great privilege that our lineup is made up of these bands along with Croatian bands that already have a cult-like following, as well as local bands that have just started their musical journey but are already showing great potential.

He explains how they have decided on an unusual approach – free festival entry.

  • Bear Stone Festival is intended for fans of various subgenres of Rock music that we wish to attract not only with a diverse and quality music, but with additional festival content that ranges from swimming in the Mrežnica river to psychedelic projections. That is why we wanted to introduce Bear Stone Festival to our visitors in the best way possible and give them an opportunity to breathe in the essence of the festival. This year’s edition was an investment as in every business venture and it represents our pledge for the future of the festival. Both me and my team believe in this project and we hope that our visitors will see its potential and give us the opportunity to continue organising future editions of Bear Stone Festival.

How do you imagine the future development of the festival?

  • By organising this year’s Year Zero edition of Bear Stone Festival we want to announce the level at which we plan to organise the future editions of the festival. In the following years, the festival will offer its visitors more stages, a wider range of musical subgenres, as well as the best possible bands from the region and the world. As an example of the additional festival offer, I’d like to highlight various lectures and workshops that will cover subjects close to our visitors’ interests. By doing so we wish to cultivate an educational component of Bear Stone Festival – concludes Lalić.

Original interview by Tena Šarčević for Jutarnji List