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Arena Market: Croatia

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Once a sleepy music backwater, Croatia has taken its place as the focal point of European music.

Its summer festival season attracts fans from around the continent to numerous events, like the long-running party festival Hideout at Zrce Beach and Love International at The Garden Tisno, featuring clubbing stalwarts Optimo and Horse Meat Disco. The arena scene is healthy, too. Croatia’s largest arena, the 4,000-18,600 Arena Zagreb, has recently welcomed 50 Cent and Sting, plus Eurovision winner Marija Šerifović.

“The entire of 2024 is booked – or maybe it’s better to say, ‘sold out,’ while 2025 is on 80% already,” says Arena Zagreb project manager Miroslav Stanec,“and, I’m going to sound a bit cocky now, for 2026, we’ve managed to book up to 50%, which is amazing in these turbulent times for our industry,” he adds.

“The entire of 2024 is booked – or maybe it’s better to say, ‘sold out,’ while 2025 is on 80% already”

What of the acts that appear in Zagreb? “International acts are the same on an annual basis – up to 15 events a year are international concerts and musicals. It would definitely be a big plus to have more of them, but honestly, our market is a bit specific regarding international concerts, they prefer R’n’B and rock,” says Stanec.

The growth area at Zagreb is urban music in particular. Says Stanec: “Urban music is rising at the moment in comparison to the last couple of years, while all other genres are holding steady. R’n’B and rock are up by 10%, which is still an excellent percentage.”

The 15-year-old venue is getting some TLC, with a new jumbotron the highlight of the upgrades, along with an improvement to the tripod system. Split’s Spaladium Arena (12,300), Zadar’s Krešimir Ćosić Hall (8,500), and the capital’s Dom Sportova (10,550) – round out the country’s arena offerings.

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