The new regional initiative NEW FACES 2023 has for the first time selected ten promising young music professionals (under the age of 30) who are actively involved in the music industry of the region of the former Yugoslavia. The selected ten have already made a big impact in their local and wider musical environment and are highly motivated in their work, which is already showing results.
With an open call, which received more than 100 applications, Kontakt festivals and conferences (Serbia), MENT Ljubljana (Slovenia), SHIP (Croatia) and PIN Music Conference (North Macedonia) aim to encourage young professionals, who are crucial for the growth of the regional music scene.
‘We hope that the NEW FACES initiative will become an annual event. By offering young people the opportunity to further develop their knowledge and skills, we also give meaning to our work. We often forget that the music scene is not only made up of performers, but also many others who work diligently behind the scenes. This includes event promoters, journalists, record labels, managers and many other often hidden protagonists of the music business’, say the regional partners who joined together to select the ten most promising music professionals under 30 years old.
Ten selected young music professionals will receive tickets to regional conferences and festivals, access to online delegate databases, and covered travel and accommodation expenses at partner conferences abroad.
NEW FACES 2023 are: Dino Grgurić (concert promoter; Velvet Festival; HR) Erik Omeragikj (light and sound designer, stage manager; MK) Lana Bauman (concert promoter; SLO) Luka Zadro (manager, booking agent, concert promoter; HR) Monika Gava (producer; RS) Nela Pešovska (booking agent; MK) Nik Drozg (concert promoter; SLO) Rastko Tomić (music journalist, editor; RS) Stanislav Drča (curator, concert promoter, producer; RS) Tena Šarčević (music journalist, editor; HR)
MONIKA GAVA (producer: Krokodil Studio, RS)
Monika is a graduate student at the Faculty of Philosophy in the field of adult education and human resource development. Working at Krokodil Studio, a music label and production company from Pančevo, she gained experience in the music industry as an office manager, PR, booker and digital distribution officer. She has experience in working with various associations and non-governmental organizations in the field of non-formal education, as well as in the organization and coordination of various events, music and environmental festivals and international work camps.
RASTKO TOMIĆ (founder and editor-in-chief: Highwaystar Magazine, RS)
In 2019, Rastko Tomić founded the cultural and musical magazine Highwaystar Magazine. Through the web portal, which ranks among the most popular in Serbia, it follows a wide range of musical events. He organized the first concerts in 2021 in Belgrade and a year later in Valjevo. This is how he got acquainted with the organization and promotion of music events in Serbia. Last year, he organized the first Highwaystar Fest in Valjevo, which he plans to continue working in the future.
STANISLAV DRČA (curator, concert promoter, producer: European Capital of Culture Novi Sad 2022, KC Lab; RS)
Stanislav started working as a curator, manager and producer only a few years ago, when he and a colleague from the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad got the opportunity to found an independent cultural centre in a modernist villa in Novi Sad, today known as the LAB Cultural Centre (KC Lab). His artistic practice soon began to shift to curating exhibitions and other events such as concerts, hybrid events, artist residency programmes… He has no formal education in the field of production and management, he learned everything on the fly.
NELA PEŠOVSKA (booking agent: PIN Music Conference, Taksirat, D Fest; MK)
If you ask Nela’s parents what she does for a living, they will probably say: ‘We do not know, something to do with music.’ If you ask her friends, they will tell you: ‘She gives us free concert tickets.’ It is true that after several years in the IT sector and a eureka moment in the middle of the pandemic, Nela entered the music industry. Now she books artists and works at the biggest festivals in North Macedonia (Taksirat, D Festival, PIN Music Conference).
DINO GRGURIĆ (concert promoter: Velvet Festival, HR)
He has been interested in music since the age of 12 and is considered a walking musical encyclopedia. Dino organized his first concert at the age of 16. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the Velvet Festival, which brought more than 200 international performers to the island of Krk. He nurtures and strengthens the Mediterranean culture above all, and he has achieved many multidisciplinary collaborations and participated in the organization of events throughout Europe.
ERIK OMERAGIKJ (lighting designer, technician, stage manager: MKC, MK)
Erik Omeragikj is a musician, lighting designer, technician and stage manager. Since December 2017, he has been working at the Youth Cultural Centre in Skopje as a lighting designer. Inspired by music, he traveled both as a performer and as a lighting technician and stage manager, both in North Macedonia and Europe. During his tenure as lighting technician / stage manager, he had the opportunity to work with many globally successful bands. With more than 50 theater performances and 300 concerts, he had the opportunity to leave his mark on renowned festivals in Macedonia, such as Zdravo Mladi, D Festival, Skopje Jazz Festival, Street Mode Festival and Ekit Festival.
LANA BAUMAN (concert promoter: Lacha, SLO)
Lana Bauman is the executive producer of Lache, a company dedicated to working with up-and-coming artists. Founded in 2020, Lacha has already organized more than ten mini-festivals, including concerts and jam sessions, and has collaborated with some of Maribor’s leading cultural institutions in co-producing the city’s biggest festivals and events. By participating in the organization of events and bringing together artists, audiences and organizers, Lana helps foster a vibrant and thriving music community in Maribor.
LUKA ZADRO (manager, booking agent, concert promoter: YEM, HR)
Luka Zadro is one of the cogs in the machine of the local and regional music industry. He started his amateur-professional career as an organizer of concerts in KSET and during that time he organized various programmes and concerts, becoming more and more involved in the alternative scene. After completing his studies, Luka continued his path in the music industry, working both in promotion agencies, as a band manager, and in music publishing. He currently collaborates with bands such as Porto Morto, Nemanja and Prazna Lepinja.
NIK DROZG (concert promoter: Kino Šiška, Channel Zero; SLO)
Nik is an independent concert promoter, who primarily works in the Kino Šiška cultural centre and the Channel Zero club. He has been working as a music journalist at Radio Študent since 2014. He specializes in events and the organization of large concerts, such as the one organized on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of radio, as well as two editions of Tresko, a festival of independent record labels. In 2023, he organized the first regional festival and conference of small music venues SUBSTRAT powered by EEnlarge Europe. He is a regular guest of international festivals for music professionals.
TENA ŠARČEVIĆ (music journalist / editor for glazba.hr; HR)
Tena graduated in journalism from the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb. She began her journalistic career working for one of the leading dailies, Jutarnji list, where she primarily followed pop culture, lifestyle and social phenomena, with a significant focus on music. Tena also had a column dedicated to electronic music in the magazine Svijet kulture. In 2020, she won the prize for the best reportage at the Fra Ma Fu reportage festival for an article about devastating earthquakes in Croatia. She works as an editor and journalist for glazba.hr, the only Croatian music platform that covers music of all genres, styles and forms.