Wondering how to spend the coming weekend – well, wonder no more. One of Belgrade’s best, greenest and fastest-growing festivals, Supernatural, starts on Saturday!
The weather is expected to pick up a bit too – so don’t worry too much if you’ve already packed away most of your warm clothing.
So, we’re more than proud to be sharing this text by Srđan Stanković, founder of the Supernatural organization. He can explain the history and ideas behind the festival way better than we ever could.
As one of the leading CSOs in environmental protection in Serbia, Supernatural is a partner of United Nations Global Compact, Slow food, WWF, Friends of the Earth, DC Environmental Network, City of Belgrade, and other renowned institutions.
Our vision is a creation of a community that deeply understands and feels the environment, which will lead to a society and lifestyle in harmony with Mother Earth.
Our core values are environment, environmental education and culture. We believe that combining these three values we will achieve true sustainability.
Our team is people from various backgrounds and international experience. Environmentalists, biologists, scientists, business managers, architects, film makers, event producers, sports professionals etc.
How We Started
In 2005 I had a privilege to be part of the World Expo in Japan. In a small Japanese town of Aichi, a whole world gathered at the biggest world fair, under the topic “The wisdom of Nature”. Business, companies, governments, environmental organizations all gathered with the aim of providing a vision for the future of civilisation. A vision where humans live in harmony with nature. For the first time I saw the practical use of solar and wind energy, organic farming, biodiversity. One thing in particular was interesting for me: the Maglev train, a train that levitates on an electromagnetic field, and uses magnetic energy to develop speeds of up to 500km per hour. In Aichi I had a vision of the future for Serbia, and for the whole Balkan region. I realised, that environment will be my business and that I need to go back home and start doing something for this cause.
The Supernatural Festival
In 2007, we launched Supernatural festival, at Hajdučka česma, at Košutnjak park, as an event that aims to raise the environmental consciousness of young people in Serbia. The festival is a great tool to this kind of thing. It is fun, entertaining, but also acts as a platform for environmental education. If you want to learn something important, it better be fun.
The festival grew over the years, until it attracted upwards of 20,000 people. We had massive media reach and an opportunity to promote not just the festival, but the environment as a topic. We managed to raise the profile of the environment in the media, which was aligned with our mission, to raise knowledge of ecology among young people. However, we felt we were not doing something concrete enough.
From Waste Dump to Park
In 2011, we decided to tackle the biggest environmental problem in Belgrade: Ada Huja.
What was once an island with lush vegetation, a biodiversity hot spot, an area of enormous cultural heritage, had become a waste dump. Just 4km from city centre, Ada Huja today is the biggest environmental problem in the city.
It all started 7,000 years ago, in Vinča, the first European city. A true Neolithic megalopolis, with highly developed cultural life, architecture, agriculture, trade. Ada Huja and Kalemegdan were integral parts of this ancient city. Celtic culture is also very linked with Ada Huja, as the biggest Celtic necropolis in Europe has been found near Ada Huja. This is material evidence, that Celtic culture has been dominantly living in the Danube region. The Romans too were linked with the Danube in many ways. In Singidunum, above Ada Huja, they grew vineyards, haciendas overlooking the Danube and the first public baths in the area, as natural spring water was found just uphill from the island.
Fast forwarding to 1960, Belgrade, an expanding city is developing fast and generating lots of waste. The city officials at the time made a disgraceful decision; place all the city waste on Ada Huja.
Can you believe this? A European cultural and environmental heritage area becomes a waste dump?
From 1960 until the present day, two thirds of the island got connected to the land, and the flow of Danube river around the island was blocked. All the waste waters from the surrounding area are being dumped into the bay resulting in 300,000 cubic meters of toxic waste: arsenic, lead, oil, communal waste waters, making Ada Huja the biggest environmental problem in the city of Belgrade.
The tip of the island was the only part untouched; from 2000 twelve hectares of remaining oasis with lush vegetation started being used as illegal construction waste dump. By 2011, the entire island was doomed.
This was when the Supernatural movement started the project of revitalising the Ada Huja ecosystem.
We signed a contract with the municipality of Palilula and started transforming the dump into a park. The result is 500 newly planted trees, 5 gardens, a bird watching tower, a classroom for environmental education, a glass house as a plant nursery, a children’s playground, solar panels and a wind generator giving the park 3KW of clean energy. In 2014, Supernatural park was awarded as one of 25 best projects in Europe by the European Parliament. The Supernatural festival, which was a small celebration of the Earth, has now been moved to Ada Huja, and has become a citizen’s activism platform for the revitalization of Ada Huja.
This year we are celebrating Mother Earth Day on Ada Huja on 22 and 23 April, with an exciting program for kids and adults.
Saturday 22 April
• Beogradski Sindikat
• Del Arno Band
• Sharks Snakes and Planes
• Radio Nula & Rebel B
Sunday 23 April
• Čarolija Kids Choir
• Dance Factory Children’s Choir
• Kanda Kodža & Nebojša
• Nikola Vranjković
Programmes on both Saturday and Sunday 22 and 23 April
• Green Community – A Fair of Environmental Organisations
• Green Market – Authentic Serbian Food Products
• Wellness – Yoga, Capoeira, Tai Chi
• Danube Village – The Tourist Organisation of Serbia, DCC, Djerdap National Park and Serbia for Youth
• Kids Workshops – How bees make honey, planting medicinal herbs, treasure hunt and bird watching
Until April 21: 600 RSD one day ticket, 1000 RSD two day ticket.
April 22 and 23: 800 RSD one day ticket.
Tickets are available at www.eventim.rs.