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our work > news > Our year in 2016 – Mitrovica Rock School
Our year in 2016 – Mitrovica Rock School
December 17, 2016   West Balkans

Dear supporter of the Mitrovica Rock School
As we approach the end of the year, we’d like to share our experiences with Rock School friends and supporters. 2016 started off as our rockiest year yet, with no steady funding and a real threat of closure. Until the end of July, we survived from month to month, thanks to a succession of small grants, income from our activities and private support.

We decided we needed to re-evaluate and radically change the way we work. The growing success of our program for ethnically mixed bands was the key. And the change has been a big success: all year, our mixed bands have rehearsed in Mitrovica and have been performing in Kosovo, a major shift from having all inter-ethnic activities in “neutral territory.”

Thanks to the support of the Stability Pact Fund through the German Embassy in Pristina and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, as well as crucial support through Musicians without Borders, we are now confident that we will make it to our tenth anniversary, and beyond.

Mixed band Sublime 6 performs at the 2016 summer school

Our year in numbers:


  • 97 Rock School students (55 north, 42 south), ages 11 to 26, who participated in the daily lesson program
  • 10 mixed bands with 46 members (24 north, 22 south)
  • 161 parents and friends from north and south Mitrovica attended mixed band concerts in Pristina, Gracanica and Skopje together
  • 17 staff, 10 of whom are former students: 5 junior teachers, 3 student trainees; 6 senior teachers, 4 management team members from north and south Mitrovica

Participants and trainers at the 2016 summer school

Inter-ethnic concerts in Kosovo:

  1. May 14: seven mixed bands in acoustic concert at Hamam Jazz Bar in Pristina, hosted by the OSCE.
  2. June 25: five mixed bands in electric concert Genghis Pub in Gracanica.
  3. September 15: one ethnically mixed band performed at partner CBM’s 15th anniversary celebration at Hotel Palace in Mitrovica.
  4. October 2: two mixed bands, Sublime 6 and Akasha in acoustic concert at Hotel Gracanica.
  5. October 20: one (impromptu) mixed band performed at Access Program Graduation Ceremony organized by NGO CBM at Youth Center Diakonie, in Mitrovica.
  6. December 8: two mixed bands, Sublime 6 and Akasha, at OSCE conference Women Promoting Dialog Reconciliation, at Swiss Diamond Hotel in Pristina.
  7. December 15: six mixed bands in electric Rock School concert at Hamam Jazz Bar in Pristina.
  8. December 17: two mixed bands, Proximity Mine and High Frequency in acoustic concert at Hotel Gracanica.

Other key events:

  • May – ethnically mixed band the Artchitects was invited to New York City by experiential marketing agency Pop2Life.
  • August 21-28: 9th annual summer school in Skopje, Macedonia. Over forty young musicians from north and south Mitrovica came together for a week of songwriting, rehearsing, recording and performing, forming seven new ethnically mixed bands.
  • Seven training weeks in Mitrovica for mixed bands: February (6 mixed bands), April (8 mixed bands), May (7 mixed bands), June (5 mixed bands), July (6 mixed workshops by local junior teachers), October (6 mixed bands), December (5 mixed bands).
  • Weekly inter-ethnic workshops since September: teachers work with inter-ethnic groups on both sides of Mitrovica.
  • Marky Ramone, known from the world famous punk band Ramones, met with a delegation from the Rock School to express his long-term support to the school.
  • Dafina Kosova Wels, director of the Rock School since January 2013, is leaving us at the end of the year. She will be succeeded by project managers Emir Hasani and Milizza Kosova, who look forward to meeting you at our upcoming events.The Mitrovica Rock School thanks you for your ongoing support.
    Best wishes for 2017, and keep on rockin’ in the free world!

Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg performs in Mitrovica Rock School gear

The Mitrovica Rock School is supported by the Stability Pact Fund through the German Embassy in Pristina and the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and sponsored with proceeds of Marky Ramone’s Choice Beer. We receive in-kind support from the D’Addario Foundation and the International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM). During 2016, we received crucial support from the Austrian Development Agency, Haella Foundation, Culture for All – Phase III, an EU-funded program implemented by Interarts, UNDP, and various private fundraisers. The Mitrovica Rock School program is implemented by NGO Mitrovica Rock School and Musicians without Borders, with support from the Fontys Rockacademie and Community Building Mitrovica. It was established with the support of PAX.

Topics: West Balkans