„You’re a wonderful audience. It was a pleasure playing for you. Thank you for such a beautiful evening in Albania“ – Goran Bregovic greeted the audience in Korca at the end of last night’s concert, after performing his hit song „Kalashnikov.“ The same song that was used as the alleged reason why a strong smear campaign was recently launched in Kosovo against this Serb singer.
After some Albanian media outlets reported in early August that Bregovic would be performing at the beer festival in Korca, part of the Kosovo media and the public accused him of „inspiring the massacre in Kosovo“ through his songs – especially Kalashnikov, as well as of being „the idol of the murderous Serb army during the wars in the former Yugoslavia“.
As a result of a strong smear campaign launched against Bregovic’s arrival to Korca, almost all festival participants from Kosovo canceled their performances – while some of them joined the boycott of this world-famous musician, others faced pressure to do so.
The Korca authorities and the festival organizers repeatedly highlighted that the concert has nothing to do with politics. They proved themselves to be proper hosts, despite the incident that occurred at the concert, when tear gas was thrown shortly after the concert began.
Although some audience members were even seen crying because of the tear gas, the concert was not interrupted. The police reacted quickly and arrested a person suspected of throwing the tear gas. In the meantime, however, Albanian media reported that 8 people had been detained.
Some Kosovan media, however, reported last night that several incidents took place at the concert, such as red and black sports fans who allegedly reacted with a photo and the message „This is not a Facebook message“.
The concert venue, i.e. the bus terminal where it was held and the surrounding area, was secured by approximately 200 police officers, the Albanian Top Channel reported before the concert. The hotel where Bregovic stayed with his Weddings and Funerals band was also under police protection. Extra security checks were also introduced at the concert venue last night.
That was the reason why, after the concert was tear-gassed, part of the audience voiced their displeasure. „What did you control?!“ – they asked the police, Top Channel reports.
Bregovic opened the concert with “Kosovska,” another one of his hit songs from the time of the former Yugoslavia, which is sung in Albanian, and closed with Kalashnikov, to the applause of the audience, who sang along with him.
Bregovic’s performance wrapped up the beer festival that Albanian authorities and organizers have been trying to internationalize for several years now. The festival is becoming increasingly popular, and the organizers announced that they expected approximately 100,000 festival-goers this year.
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