11th LegendFest of Istria County, traditionally held in the small town of Pićan, has ended on Sunday, the 31st of July.
Over the weekend the little streets and alleys of Pićan became the eternal battleground between Light and Darkness. Dark shadows, after almost three and a half centuries, resurrected faded memories of the first European vampire and famous Istrian – Jure Grando. After a successful vampire hunt and a ferocious flame that engulfed the werewolf straw sculpture made by Nikola Faller, the forces of darkness were finally defeated. We were gently eased into reality with beautiful melodies of ethno band Kries whose music delicately revives forgotten spirit of Slavic tradition and mythology. The little Istrian town has gone quiet and everything seems to be safe and peaceful again. Or is it?
The LegendFest in Pićan was organized by the Association Val kulture (Wave of culture) from Zagreb and the municipality of Pićan. This year the festival visitors had the opportunity to familiarize themselves on the subject of vampires, and through a variety of activities, discover some interesting and gruesome stories about these bloodthirsty creatures. Myths about vampires exist in many ancient civilizations such as Egyptian, Indian, Chinese or Mesopotamian, and in Europe are widespread among Slavic people and their close neighbours in the Balkans.
The visitors could also see the exhibition of the old, original items from Serbia and Croatia which people used to protect themselves from vampire attacks, listen to various lectures about vampirism and watch the outstanding performance “Vampire Chronicle Jure Grando” by Istrian National Theatre, directed and created by Damir Zlatar Frey. The historical association Kaštel Svetvinčenat provided a medieval camp with various medieval games for the visitors, including the vampire hunt and a spectacular sword fight of the knights for the hand of a young princess.
Screams of fear could be heard along the dark streets of Pićan from those who dared to come face to face with vampires. On the other, “light” side of town, visitors were protected from vampires by proven tools such as mirrors, garlic and crucifixes. For those who found all this a bit too much, the beautiful singing voice of Jelena Radan at her concert Voyage provided an escape into more relaxing and peaceful journey.
We would like to use this opportunity to sincerely thank all the artists, presenters and performers who with their programmes once again revived the myths, legends and folktales of Istria. Also, we would like to say a big thank you to all the visitors who ventured to the fairy-tale like town of Pićan in search of heritage, fun and adventure.
Photos from the festival can be viewed in the photo gallery.