Each city plays different and Rijeka for decades plays rock. Thanks to its geographic position, but also to the port and centuries long maritime tradition, Rijeka has always been trendy, regardless of the historical era it was part of or the administration that ruled it. While in late 1950s and early 1960s to other cities of the former state of Yugoslavia news had come that somewhere a new music was being played, the citizens of Rijeka have, thanks to the seafarers, both local and those entering the port of Rijeka, always played the latest world hits. Almost simultaneously with the rest of the world, Rijeka also started to play rock. So it is not surprising at all that the first Yugoslavian rock band, named “Uragani” was born in Rijeka. And everything that happened after “Uragani” is Rijeka’s rock history, written not only by musicians but also by those who listened, loved and supported them. It was written in concerts, festivals, clubs…..because Rijeka never just played rock, it lived it.
It lived it in clubs, on the open concert areas, through the journals of youth, through those who shake the stage but also those who shake the auditorium. If that was not the case, Rijeka today would not have the strongest music scene in Croatia, and would not have so many “places that play” i.e. clubs. Rijeka was never fascinated by a colossal music spectacle on a football field but since forever has liked the intimacy of clubs that were regularly spread along the streets and quarters – along the whole city.
Rijeka clubs are a story in themselves. It is sufficient to start from Palach, the oldest Rijeka rock club, the second oldest in Croatia, situated in the very centre. It was founded in 1968 and named after the Czech student Jan Palach and from its first opening until today it has been the starting point of all Rijeka musicians.
The Hotel Kontinental, built at the end of the 19th century along the Rječina River itself is another constant of Rijeka sound. For decades its terrace has been the “living room” of not only Rijeka rockers but also of all those who love the alternative Rijeka sound.
Particularities of Rijeka are also its, so called, sea clubs i.e. those whose stages are situated close to the sea, for example, at one of Rijeka beaches or on boats anchored in the port of Rijeka.
RI Rock is undoubtedly one of the longest running Rijeka festivals. Since its beginning, and RI Rock was conceived at the height of Rijeka punk movement, it was a springboard for Rijeka demo bands but also an event to which those already established always proudly return. There are many other festivals playing in Rijeka. The world alternative scene is so much aware of Rijeka’s “Hartera”, a multi-day event that brings the most famous foreign and local music figures to the scene organized inside the facilities of the former Paper Factory, but also tens of thousands of people prone to such way of entertainment. Today in Rijeka various types and subtypes of music are played, every musical expression has its own festival and its own audience, so it is not hard to conclude that Rijeka plays all 365 days of the year.
Rijeka is, for decades, a nursery garden of good musicians. Not only of those playing classical music but also of those playing alternative music. The Rijeka scene has, a long time ago, been assured the top of the music lists both in the former and present state. It is even known to the rest of the world. Bands bringing the Rijeka prefix often play in iconic clubs all over Europe and the world. Rijeka musicians, regardless of whether they play jazz, blues, rock or they have some more alternative style, are very respected and sought after in the world of music.
Slavica Mrkić Modrić