TOGETHER (ROMA FESTIVAL)

Festival „Spolu Šobov“ (Together Šobov) is an occasion organized in district called Šobov in Banská Štiavnica. It focuses on seemingly neglected and danger location where Gypsy people live. The main aim is to create standard festival carrying the signs of openness, safety and attractiveness for other communities. Festival offers the opportunity for friendly meetings and spontaneous interaction of both communities (majority and Gypsy minority).

We consider the meeting of both communities and overcoming psychological barrier as the most important result.

The first festival was in 2010 and it was a one-day event hosting two bands – non-Gypsy band Para and Gypsy band Romano Ilo. Concert took place directly in front of those flats. Meanwhile there was a football match between the team Para and the team Šobova. Before the event the common public cleaning was done. Event was attended by about 200 people.

The second festival was in July 2011 and that time it was a three-day festival. The event was attended by - Billy Barman, Para, Klenovec gypsy band, Sendrejovci, Šobovčatá, Romane Čavore, Everest, Romka, Bez ladu a skladu, Čercheňora, Walter Schnitzelsson, Romano Ilo, Šukar Dživipen. There was even a football tournament between three teams and discussion about the "Coexistence" with Juraj Kušnierik. New stage and amphitheatre seating was built and new football field renewed within the festival.

The Gypsy community lives in distant housing estate Šobov which is 3,2km outside the town Banská Štiavnica. Drivers speed up here because it represents a dangerous zone for them. It mainly symbolizes the relationship between the majority and Gypsy people which is affected by incredulity, fear and disinterest. Šobov is a symbol of place from where "problems" come for them.

Festival Spolu Šobov 2012 (Together Šobov 2012) is a three-day event planned to be held directly in the Gypsy housing estate. Before the event there will be needed to ensure covered stage, seating, portable toilets, fast food stands, public order patrol and to prepare the meadow and football field. In preparation and implementation will be residents involved directly. The stage will belong to Gypsy and non-Gypsy bands, musical and dance folklore, theatre performance of minority genres. In order to attract many visitors we managed musical performances of well-known bands of both communities, e.g. Para, Hex or Billy Barman, etc.,  the Gypsy band Senderjovci, Klenovec Gypsy band etc., Divadlo bez domova (Theather of homeless) in which plays homeless, and Divadlo z chatrče (Slumdog theater) coming from the Gypsy community in Moldava nad Bodvou. We prepare workshops leading by professional artists for all amateur musicians and dancers. Within the activities of barrier removal we prepare football matches between the Gypsy and non-Gypsy artists and visitors. Apart of that, there will be discussions about the coexistence of Gypsy and non-Gypsy people, their culture, tolerance, art and its role in the society.

Festival strives to "distract attention " from that location by creating "neutral" ground at which teams will getting to know better each other. Festival provides the chance to white community to visit that location without the fear and stop to have racial prejudice against Gypsy at all.

Community center Šukar Dživipen was established in Šobov in Banská Štiavnica. Around 400 Gypsy people live here in social housing, formerly accommodation of workers. The primary objective is education and living condition improvement of Gypsy community residents. The first project brought opening of nursery where afternoon hobbies and tutoring was held. Community center strives to develop artistry and talent among children and adults as well. It also helps to improve communication between Gypsy community and residents of Banská Štiavnica and beyond into the other cities and communities in Slovakia.