The European Capital of Culture title year was closed by the sixth Doček in Novi Sad. The Suburbium of one of the oldest and largest European fortifications has traditionally gathered a large number of Novi Sad citizens and tourists, eager to have a different time on the happiest night of the year. The beginning of the new year, 2023, was marked by performances by old masters, as well as by current young performers, while a special experience was implemented in the City Museum of Novi Sad at the Petrovaradin Fortress, with the exhibition Mileva: We Are One Rock. Celebrating art and science, the large interactive exhibition rounded off the Doček concept inspired by Nikola Tesla, Milutin Milanković (the main characters of Doček 2022) and Mileva Marić Einstein.

The music programme was implemented on the Main, Large and Small Stages, which were transformed into small works of art, with light effects accompanying the music performances and creating a unique atmosphere. On the Main Stage near the Belgrade Gate, the celebration started at 9 p.m. with the world-famous vocal band Perpetuum Jazzile, which for years has fascinated the audience with great performances solely using voice, without any instruments. On the same stage, the audience welcomed midnight with the all-time hits of the band Kosheen, which marked the music scene at the beginning of the new millennium. Immediately afterwards, one of the favourites of the Berlin techno scene – Biesmans performed.

On the Big Stage in Prote Mihaldžića Square, the programme started at 10 p.m. with the performance of the legendary band and dance attraction of the 90s, Stereo MC’s. After several years, the owners of the huge hit Connected shook the crowd in the last hours of 2022. The New Year was welcomed on the Big Stage with Mimi Mercedez, a favourite of the young audience, and in similar rhythms, she was followed by Rođeni, who established himself as a new name on the local dance scene.

For the fans of local alternative sound, on the Small Stage in Štrosmejerova Street, the hits of Monohrom, known for mixing different styles of rock, were heard, followed by ObojenI Program, an iconic band from Novi Sad and the first Eastern European band whose music video was broadcast on MTV. Repetitor, as one of the favourite rock bands, ushered those present into the New Year on the Small Stage.

The visual identity of Doček occupies a special place in the concept of the entire event, and this time it was marked by unusual settings and light installations, works by artists from Japan, the Czech Republic and Serbia, who turned the baroque ambience of Suburbium into a light gallery. Words on Wire by artist Pavla Beranova presented birds as symbols of freedom, and 21 illuminated objects accompanied by songs in 16 world languages, whose text was reflected on trees, grass and sidewalks, captured the attention of all visitors. The Japanese artist Chida Yashuiro, one of the nine most successful light artists according to the Artdex portal, presented himself with the installation Brocken, which shows the artistic prism of the natural phenomenon of the same name, when in special conditions of haze and sunlight, a circular rainbow appears in front of the viewer. The large metal structure that made up the set contained more than 50,000 holes that created the same effect as Brocken’s spectrum and left the audience breathless. At the famous clock on the Petrovaradin fortress, there was a light kinetic installation by the author Dorijan Kolundžija, which presented a unique choreography of light and sound, combined with audio recordings of the mechanism of the Petrovaradin Clock. In Štrosmajerova Street, the Small Stage was completed by Goran Despotovski’s work, called Ogrlica, and video scenography created by Dejan Stojkov and Anđelko Popić.

The spectacular exhibition Mileva: We Are One Rock, by Dušan Jovović, turned the space of the City Museum of Novi Sad into an interactive journey and introduction to the private and public life of our celebrated scientist. The fascinating interior, accompanied with special effects and interactive settings, showed Mileva’s life from childhood, through her stormy private and professional life marked by her marriage to Albert Einstein and works that were unfairly neglected in world science, until the very end of her life filled with countless challenges.

Novi Sad celebrated the New Year according to the old calendar on 13 January, with a series of indoor concerts throughout the city. As before, the idea of the event is to provide a memorable experience with an unusual combination of location and performers, which is much more than an ordinary concert. One of today’s greatest jazz pianists, Tigran Hamasyan, performed in the City Concert Hall and delighted the audience with the virtuosity that has made him a world-renowned piano master. The Dutch musical sensation of Iranian origin, Sevdaliza, performed at the Serbian National Theatre and captivated the audience with her extravagance. The beloved Konstrakta with Zemlja Gruva performed in the oldest national theatre, and the concert was of particular interest to fellow citizens. Doček also hosted one of the hottest indie-rock bands, Shortparis, who played in Fabrika for all fans of alternative music. We saw an unusual combination of space and musical genres in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina, which was too small to accommodate all the fans of electronic music. The world-famous DJ Undercatt, as well as one of the world’s most successful local producers and DJs, Space Motion, were in charge of entertainment until the late hours.

In the fairytale atmosphere of the Novi Sad Synagogue, the African pop princess Nneka performed, and in the combination of light effects and her authentic voice, the concert gathered all the positive impressions of the audience. In addition to the Synagogue, the Reformed Christian Church hosted a world artist, Laiko Felix, one of the world’s most recognized world music violinists. The Croatian band ABOP, winner of the prestigious Croatian Ambassador award for the best electronic band, presented an unusual concept of an electro live performance in Radnički Dom in Mihajla Pupina Boulevard. Haelos, a London trip hop band whose music rocked the oldest puppet theatre in Serbia, the Youth Theatre, came straight from the Billboard charts. The iconic space of the Cultural Centre of Novi Sad was occupied by the young alternative artist Sana Garić, while the doyens of local pop and rock, Ivana Peters and Đorđe David crossed their voices at the Barka Cultural Station. Classical music virtuosos Ke Ma and Shihan Wang, along with Silk & Wind Duo, were the stars of the Novi Sad Theatre and convinced the audience why they are considered a world attraction of classical music.

The legendary YU Grupa performed for the first time in an unplugged version, after three decades since the last performance in Novi Sad, and on this occasion loyal audience gathered in the NIS hall. At the Egység Culture Station we listened to EYOT, officially the best Serbian jazz band in 2022, while at the Laza Kostić Grammar School, the famous band Divanhan found its place, which established itself in the world by promoting sevdalinka and experimenting with this traditional genre and modern genres. Lovers of ethnic and spiritual music enjoyed the performance of Danica Crnogorčević in the Serbian National Theatre. The youngest audience enjoyed the performance of the Association of Artists Visoko C, which presented the Hansel and Gretel opera at the Bukovac Cultural Station, after which the girls from the tambura group La Banda took over the stage. At the Rumenka Cultural Station, authentic KAL band performed with a recognizable combination of styles, and at the Kovilj Cultural Station, 13 January was marked by the performances of the local choir and the cultural and artistic society called Novogodišnja Noć.

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