Published by

Brooklyn Meets the Balkans at the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival

Email a Friend

Brooklyn is getting a taste of the Balkans this weekend.

The Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, New York’s largest Balkan music event, is celebrating its 28th year with two days of regional music, food, drink and arts starting Friday evening. 

Over 60 Klezmer, Romany, and Sephardic groups will perform on four stages Saturday night, going into the early morning hours of Sunday. Organizers expect some 2,500 attendees at Brooklyn's Grand Prospect Hall. 

Dancing is encouraged; and dance workshops will also be held for those with no prior Balkan folk dancing experience.

Michael Ginsburg, director of the Zlatne Uste Brass Band and the founder of the festival, is the Brooklyn-born son of folk dancers. He got into folk dancing as a teen, and his love of the art led him to start the festival in 1985. He says the festival attracts a diverse crowd of dancers and novices, young and old.

"It's a really a great place to be and even if you've never heard this music before a lot of it is really easy to listen to, easy to understand and easy to latch on to."

Entrance to the festival Friday evening is $35, and Saturday evening it's $55. Ginsburg says all the musicians donate their time, and any profits are donated to organizations working for peace in the Balkans.

Listen below as the band Niska Banja performs some Balkan folk music: