While other cities are lining up to host the music industry award, Split cannot seem to find any interest in it
When Split was announced as the host of this year’s edition of Porin, Croatian music industry award, general opinion was “finally” because it was the first time Split was selected even though it is considered to be the capital of pop music in Croatia. Porin was executed without a hitch, Spaladium arena proved to be an ideal venue with moer than 5500 spectators, and the production was raised to an all time high unlike the previous year when Hypo Centre in Zagreb did not end up being a very “TV worthy” location. Most importantly, number of overnight stays in April went up, media promotion was worth more than 2,2 million kuna so we can say that operation Porin Split 2015 was extremely successful, and yet, it seems that chances of it coming back in 2016 are slim to none. Reason? Well, finances, of course.
As Zlatko Gall from Slobodna Dalmacija reports, even though Porin 2015 filled up 12 hotels, recorded 1143 overnight stays, cooperated with more than 20 local companies, created revenue for various hospitality outlets to the amount of 450 000 kuna (and VAT on top of that) during their additional events and open air concerts (despite very bad weather), all of this in the pre-season, of course, Split city administration just doesn’t seem to recognise the effects of the event itself since it does not want to co-finance the next edition. Deputy mayor Goran Kovačević, who was in favour of bringing Porin to Split from the word go, stated that the city should not be the only one to co-finance this music event and that the County should also be included as one of the sponsors and that the County tourist board should allocate some of their funds to sponsor it, but when the Split Dalmatia County Tourist Board director Joško Stella was asked why they did not help the organisation, he stated that no one from the Split Tourist board or the city administration sent an official request for participation.
City of Split has allocated 2 million kuna this year for the Tourist Board and just like every year, those funds will be used to fund various city cultural events that promote Split and its tourism. Along with the mentioned 2 million kuna, city also gives 500 000 kuna for the traditional events such as “Praznik cvijeća” (Flower festival) in the Diocletian’s cellars and Ultra. Assembly of the tourist board is the one deciding who ultimately gets the funds, but since we know that the mayor heads the assembly, all we can draw from this is that mayor Baldasar is not exactly putting Porin as one of the priorities. Instead he’s still more in favour of financing events that barely fill up the national theatre and 20 hotel rooms. And just to add to the point that the mayor is not exactly clear on the importance of such events to the promotion and tourism of Split, Baldasar was pushing for Porin to be moved to May this year instead of the traditional end March or beginning of April time slot, even though in May hotels in Split are already quite full. Next year’s Porin date is already fixed for March 18th and yet the mayor was again pushing for a later date in April. Great reaction from a former tourist worker who obviously doesn’t know the meaning of the word pre-season.
And just in case you think this was just another whining session from the organiser and a way to force the city to open its wallet, there are already three other Croatian cities waiting in line to take over – Osijek, Varaždin and Opatija. Opatija now has a new sports hall and they see Porin as a great way to promote the city and fill up hotel capacities during otherwise quiet months. So, if others can see the value of it, why is it that the most musical city in the country is suddenly tone deaf to one of the biggest musical gatherings of the music industry?