The island of Susak sees the a major international kite festival begin on 22 June – the Susak AIR+art Festival 2011. We put some questions to organiser Christian Bushill, starting with asking him about himself.
I am a tv cameraman who came to Croatia in 1994 to film the war in Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina. I ended up marrying a Croatian journalist and have lived in between Zagreb and Sarajevo ever since. We bought a ruined house on Susak in 2003 and renovated it.
How did the idea of a kite festival in Susak come about?
The idea of the AIR+art Festival came about gradually. When I was much younger I used to fly kites and I noticed that this wasn’t something that people really knew much about here… kite surfing yes, but this kind of more artistic kite flying no. Some friends on Susak were talking about organising a film festival and my reaction was that there were already a lot of film festivals in Croatia and that it would be better to have a different sort of festival. Then I started to think about what would be the appropriate festival for an open sea island covered with bamboo and kite flying was perfect. I then suggested this idea to another friend who has a house on the island, the eco artist Lada Sega and we agreed to try and do it, but with her organisation’s (EKOSUSAK) ecological philosophy at the heart of it.
What can people expect to see and do at the event?
There are 8 internationally respected kite makers and kite fliers coming to the festival. They will all have presentations and displays of their kites. There will also be workshops. The public will be encouraged to bring and fly their own kites. We will have a concert, the band Ljetno Kino which means summer cinema and we will fly kites from small boats around the island. One kite maker Johann Hedbavny (Austria) will also try to catch a fish with a kite.
How many people are expected?
We expect that between 4 and 5 thousand people will attend the festival over the 5 days. The sponsors are now on the front page of our website – Bistra water (coca cola hellenic), Ožujsko beer, Print Express, Studio Dim, Artechido, and the Croatian Tourist Board in Mali Lošinj.
Are there plans to make this a yearly event?
Yes, the idea is that this becomes a yearly event in Susak and the springboard for other AIR+art festivals around Croatia and in the region.