This year’s 25th anniversary edition of Špancirfest, which unfolded between August 18 – 27 in Varaždin, continued the multi-year positive trend of breaking all previous records! During the ten-day extravaganza, according to the estimates of the Varazdin Police and organizers, the Varaždin Tourist Board, this year’s festival attracted more than 330,000 visitors. This is 10% more than the previous record at Špancirfest pre-pandemic 2019, visited by 300,000 people.
According to data from eVisitor, 2,946 arrivals and 6,358 overnight stays were recorded in the City of Varaždin during the ten-day festival, which is 10% more arrivals and 1.5% more overnight stays compared to last year’s festival. Špancirfest attracted visitors from abroad, with the majority who came from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.
In Varaždin, during this year’s Špancirfest, according to the data of the Varaždin Tax Administration, tourist traffic (in trade and hospitality) was generated to the amount of 12.6 million euros, which is actually 20% more than at the same time across last year’s festival.
Regarding the agenda, an exciting line-up of more than 500 different programs took place throughout Špancirfest 2023. More than 200 music sessions, 70 artistic street programs and 150 program’s for children were performed at the Creative Park, together with more than 200 exhibitors presenting their products and services. This year’s edition was highlighted by the performances of, among others, Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, in front of 15,000 visitors and Parni valjak feat. Igor Drvenkar, in front of an audience of no less than 18,000, on the main festival stage with the best production at Špancirfest so far. Visitors could also enjoy the unique dance spectacle FACE T(W)O held through the EU project “People Power Partnership” featuring 32 participating dancers.
Spectacular street art performances drove the heartbeat along the streets and squares, led by the attraction Orchestra of Sirens, from the French company Mécanique Vivante, who performed for the very first time in Croatia. The anniversary edition also brought novelties including a laser show which was held instead of fireworks, and welcomed free parking provided for all visitors at the Varteks Auto Club.
The exceptional interest Špancirfest has created is also indicated by the number of visitors to the festival’s website, with more than 1,695,000 views, becoming 16% more than last year. Between July until the end of August, during the strongest part of the social media promotional campaign, the reach of organic, i.e. unpaid, announcements on Špancirfest’s Facebook page was 1.6 million. Paid digital campaigns achieved a reach of 1.1 million, i.e. the number of impressions (views) was as high as 3.9 million. Posts about Špancirfest on social networks, in just over two months of continual communication and promotion, were displayed more than 11.6 million times, which is a new growth of 31% – compared to 2022, when record growth in this segment had already been achieved. Promotion through Google Ads achieved a reach of more than 10 million views.
In the same period, Špancirfest equally focused on other media activities and achieved significant media value at national, regional and local levels via media partnerships and distributing promo announcements. In total, as many as 1,703 media announcements related to Špancirfest were recorded (26% more than 2022), and the value of the media space, according to the report made for the needs of Špancirfest by the company Briefing, is estimated at 4.27 million euros, which is as much as 33% more than 2022.
Clearly, all these numbers evidently show that Špancirfest is a significant event within the cultural, social and economic life of Varaždin and equally, has a strong impact on the development of tourism, the promotion of the city and the increase in tourist traffic, which continues to make the festival a key event eagerly awaited every year.
Above all, Špancirfest’s overwhelming success is primarily due to the dedicated teamwork by a complete range of people, services, institutions, associations and partner companies. All these record numbers would not have been at all possible without the support, first of all, by the City of Varaždin, the Croatian Tourist Board, the Varaždin County Tourist Board, together with our sponsors, some of whom have been alongside the festival since the very beginning. Additionally, those who supported the festival include the cleaning employees of city, the Administrative Department for Construction and Communal Economy, the Administrative Department for Economic Activities, the Public Fire Department of the City of Varaždin, the Varaždin Police, the Institute for Emergency Medicine of Varaždin County together with so many others.