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Officially billed as an international multicultural festival, Lent takes its name from Maribor's elegant old waterfront district, which somewhat confusingly has nothing to do with the forty day period leading up to Easter. The festival is currently in its 17th year, and developed out of a smaller international folklore festival called Folkart which, along with the Jazzlent and Street Theatre festivals, still runs concurrently during Lent.
Other than finding an available bed, your most difficult task will probably be deciding on what to actually see and where to see it. Internationally known musicians, dancers and theatre groups have to compete for audiences with mimes, magicians, acrobats, fire dancers, stand up comedians and just about every other type of street performer you can imagine. There are over 30 venues and stages located at various points around the compact and easily navigateable city centre with nearly every square, park and major thoroughfare getting in on the action and transforming the entire city into one enormous open air performance area.
While there is no 'main stage' per se, a lot of the festivities are of course centred along and around the namesake Lent waterfront district, which out of spatial necessity is supplemented with a large floating stage temporarily erected off the banks of the River Drava. Other notable venues include the beautiful art nouveau National Theatre on Slomškov Square, the city's 500-year-old synagogue just off the waterfront and the vast City Park on the northern edge of the centre.
Festival Lent, 26 June - 11 July 2009. Full festival tickets: €22, single day tickets: €11 - tickets cover most but not all performances. For more information and a full list of events check out the official festival website. For information regarding transportation, accommodation, restaurants, nightlife and sightseeing check out our latest Maribor In Your Pocket city guide.