When planning a school music tour, Slovenia is not the first country to spring to mind. But for Bexley Grammar School it proved to be a memorable hit with staff and pupils alike.
Slovenia is relatively unknown as a tourist destination, let alone a place for a touring school music party. However it has a perfect combination of summer climate, great venues and excursions, simple but relaxing accommodation and affordability.
Concert performances in Slovenia
Travelling in July, performances began in the Main Square in Radovljica. This concert was a ‘warm-up’ act for a band who were on later in the evening. "The location of the stage meant that we had a captive audience, even though it was pretty early. The stage worked well for us, and there was a sound engineer there who offered to let us use their PA system (set up for the later gig). Although we’d been told we had a strict time limit, in fact they were quite relaxed and let us play longer, which was good. The students enjoyed an hour after the concert dancing to the next band as well! A great atmosphere." said Laura Swadkin, Head of Music at the school
“Lake Bled is an incredible venue and a real treat to work with such professional sound engineers.”
Next up was a festival on stage at the spectacular Lake Bled: "An incredible venue and a real treat to work with such professional sound engineers," said Miss Swadkin. "They provided a huge sound system, and mics for every single player in the band and choir which was exciting! The sound was amazing and the sound engineer was very nice. It was a real shame that our concert coincided with a massive thunderstorm, and torrential rain, but there were enough people in the bars around to make it feel ok! (they were very responsive)."
The final performance was at the Main Square in Kranjska Gora. "Another lovely venue and we drew a big audience despite the cold and impending thunderstorm… ".
Perfect accommodation for a schools music touring group
The party also stayed in a hotel in Kranjska Gora. The hotel was perfect for a team of teenage children and adult teachers. "We all LOVED this hotel! We were all thrilled by the stunning views, but the swimming pool was amazing, and there was lots of outside space with tennis court, volleyball court, playground, football pitch etc. and the students loved being able to run and play. The hotel also provided a spacious function room for us to use at any time during the week, and gave us the key for the week, which was invaluable for rehearsals and evening activities.
The food was a self-service buffet which had a wide range of food options, and it worked extremely well for us; I felt that everyone ate very well this week. This was probably the best provision we’ve ever had food-wise. The staff were friendly, and spoke excellent English – they could not have been any more helpful."
Exciting and varied things to do
Slovenia offers a strong range of days out and excursions for touring music groups. Ljubljana Castle and funicular provided a lovely way to explore the city. Lake Bled was everyone’s favourite day; the boats were a real experience, and swimming in Lake Bled was incredible. The Postonja Caves provided a really interesting and totally different day out compared to everything else - followed by lunch and shopping afterwards. Finally, the Aqualuna Water Park was a hit with the teenagers and young-at-heart-teachers: "Fantastic water park – lots of great slides. Our guide Kesnia rang the day before to reserve us an area in the park so we could all sit together which was brilliant. We ended up with a terrace which was just for us, and this was ideal."