Legendfest is a three-day festival of myths, legends, folklore and live performances held every year in the small hilltop village of Pićan, in Istria, Croatia. During the festival the village becomes the backdrop for storytellers, children’s workshops, live theatrical shows, local food, arts and crafts and concerts, which draw on the rich traditions and history of Istria. Visitors have the chance to go back in time and experience anything from medieval poetry to ancient myths in the picturesque setting.
Each year the festival has a different theme. I have written and performed at Legendfest since 2011. The theme for 2011 was pirates – and so myself as author, Cyborgix 4E75 as composer and musician, Miki orchestral composer and Jasmina Jazzy as performer, wardrobe and make-up manager, put together the audio/visual piece “Captain Morgan’s Hidden Treasure”. I played the ghost of the Caribbean pirate Captain Morgan (yes, him from the brand of rum) who, as legend says, visited the province of Istria, settled and established the real-life village of Mrgani (meaning the “place of the Morgans”). The myth recalls how he had buried his last stash of gold and treasure nearby. Our 15 minute performance was his story and how he had returned from the spirit world to Istria to uncover the location of his buried treasure after 300 years.
In our performance we were joined by Alen Tibljaš – one of Croatia’s most respected drummers, who added some extra drama to the composition. The show was held in the tiny chapel of Sv. Mihovil on the outskirts of the village of Pićan situated at the top of the surrounding cliffs – the perfect location for our dark tale of ghostly pirates and treasure.
At the end of the performance, which closed the festival on the last evening, many of the festival’s other performers came and joined us for pirate revelry and choruses of “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest. Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum. Drink and the devil had done for the rest….” The audience thoroughly enjoyed it!
The theme for Legendfest 2012 was witches, wizards and goblins and so we delved into Istria’s rich heritage of myths, legends and folklore and wrote, composed and produced a new concept and performance – “Legend From Istria”. Based upon tales of Istrian gods I played Stribor, son of Svarog – The God of Wind and I narrated the terrible story of good versus evil to take back the land of Istria which had been conquered by the Underworld demons of Bjesomar and Morana played by Cyborgix 4E75 and Jasmina Jazzy.
Svarog summoned up the help of Slavic gods Perun – the God of Thunder and Gerovita – The Master of War to defeat the two devils in a final cataclysmic battle scene which would see peace return to the beautiful land of Istria.
Once again we closed the festival programme after midnight on the last day, leaving the audience enthralled.