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Festival founded by Dua Lipa’s father returns to Kosovo

Dua Lipa (Ian West/PA)
Dua Lipa (Ian West/PA)

Kosovo’s central government and authorities in the capital Pristina have joined forces to bring back home an international music festival founded by the father of singer-songwriter Dua Lipa which had been moved following a dispute with its organisers.

A week ago the Sunny Hill Festival announced it was moving to neighbouring Albania after a political dispute between Kosovo’s ruling party and the party in power in Pristina prevented organisers from getting permission to put on the festival, which has a daily capacity of 15,000.

Dukagjin Lipa, the singer’s father and manager, who was born in Kosovo, said he had made “a difficult but necessary” decision to stage the August 4-7 event in Albania’s capital, Tirana.

Organisers have been asking Kosovar authorities for three years to allow them to manage a 17-hectare (42-acre) area of parkland where they say they will build the appropriate infrastructure for the annual festival and also let it be freely used for the rest of the year.

The audience at Sunny Hill Festival in Pristina, Kosovo, in 2019
The audience at Sunny Hill Festival in Pristina, Kosovo, in 2019 (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

A joint statement from the Culture Ministry and the Pristina municipality on Monday said they have agreed to hold this year’s edition at a location in Pristina – “where it belongs” – and also to continue to discuss holding the festival at its usual location starting from next year.

A special edition with a different line-up of artists will be held in the Albanian capital Tirana from August 26-28.

Organisers said this year’s artists would include Diplo, Skepta, DJ Regard, AJ Tracey, Mahmood and Albanian performers, and would also include “two world great artists” who have yet to be revealed.

The Sunny Hill Festival made its debut in Pristina in 2018 and took place again in 2019, attracting international artists, including the British-born Dua Lipa.

The festival has brought Kosovo priceless publicity.

The event was put on hold in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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