Republic Festival of Folk Songs and Dances “Ilinden Days” Bitola 1971 – …


The Festival “Ilinden Days” is a monumental inventive idea as a compensation of a monumental cultural necessity.

Fundamental principles

The Republic Festival of Folk Dances and Songs “Ilinden Days”, Bitola, has been effectuating its activity and mission for 40 years on the bases of the following fundamental principles:

  • systematic research, conservation, education, presentation and stage valorization of autochthonous, original contents and expressions from the rich spiritual and materialistic cultural folk heritage;
  • stimulating, supporting and motivating our people both in the native country and anywhere in the world, to preserve and impart cultural folk values to future generations;
  • establishing a spiritual bridge with all worldwide admirers of both our and the cultural tradition in the world;
  • creating an attractive and representative stage for expert and scientific analysis of the folk culture.

The First Festival

The First Republic Festival of Folk Dances and Songs “Ilinden Days” was held from 30th July to 2nd August, 1971, in the summer garden of the Army House in Bitola, with the participation of twenty ensembles from all over Macedonia.

Establishment of IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola

In order to facilitate systematic, expert, competent and professional implementation, as well as to provide conditions for the continuous development of the Festival, with the Decision number 01-4851/1 from 9th July, 1973 of the Community Council of Bitola, the Festival grows into Institution of Folk Culture “Ilinden Days” Bitola, being an institution of a special social interest, and Kiril Tanchevski MA, is appointed executing director of the Institution.


After several decades of successful work, IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola and the Memorial Cultural Centre Bitola, with a decision by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, No. 23-5574/1 from 22nd December, 2003, Official Gazette No. 84 / 2003, for the purpose of determining the network of national institutions in the cultural field, are united and continue with their work under National Institution – Cultural Center, Bitola.


Since its establishment, there have been 1492 folk groups and ensembles participating at the Festival, with over 40 000 dancers and instrumentalists.

All Macedonian Festival

The Festival “Ilinden Days” serves as a pillar for the spiritual connection of Macedonians throughout the world. In the past period, the following have presented themselves on the Festival stage: 81 groups of our immigrants and temporarily employed abroad, as well as 36 groups of Macedonians in the surrounding countries, which are 24 groups from Pirin, Bulgaria, 8 groups from Egej, Greece, and 4 groups from Albania.

Mirror of Multiculture

For many years, this Festival has been the place where, apart from Macedonians, the Albanian, Turkish, Vlach and Romany groups and ensembles have promo-ted and presented their folk culture, as well as all the other members of ethnic communities who live in the Republic of Macedonia. In the period from 1971 to 2010, 127 such groups have presented themselves.

International Festival

In the past forty years, 114 folk groups and ensembles of both European and nations outside Europe have participated, starting from America, Australia, Canada, Japan, England, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Moldova, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monte Negro and
Serbia. It is important to mention that a large number of those folk groups and ensembles, among other things, cherish and present Macedonian folk contents as well.


Since 1972, the Festival has been held at the Handball Court in Bitola. The Festival is opened with a dance called “The Legend of the Komita (Warrior)” performed by the CAS “Ilinden” from Bitola.
Regarding the accompanying events, the attractive Parade called “Dancing and Singing along the Streets of Bitola” deserves special emphasis, as well as the Festival’s “Ilinden Caravan” – performance of folk groups and ensembles in the surrounding municipalities and settlements.


The Festival, the Parade, the Festival Caravan, the Exhibitions and other accompanying events have been followed by over 2.700.000 visitors.

Exhibition activity

  • In 1971: “Exhibition of Traditional Costumes”, in the Art Gallery in Bitola.
  • In cooperation with the Ethnological Museum of Macedonia, the following exhibitions have been effectuated: in 1972, Musical Traditional Instruments in Macedonia”, in 1973, “Macedonian Traditional Art”, in 1979, “Macedonian Traditional Embroidery”.
  • In 1975, the State exhibition of children’s art work “The Traditional Culture as a permanent inspiration in my creative work” was established. Within the 35 exhibitions organized so far, over 30.000 children from the Republic of Macedonia have participated with their works.
  • In cooperation with the Association of the Macedonian Moslems from Skopje, in 1982, the exhibition “The Materialistic and Spiritual Culture of the Macedonian Moslems” was organized. The exhibition was held in several cities in Macedonia.
  • In 1983, the “Republic Exhibition of Works Motivated by the Folklore and Traditional Culture” was established, and it had seven continuous releases.
  • In 1987, there was an exhibition entitled “The Rural Architecture in the Bitola region” by the painter Pande Petrovski.

Expert Scientific and Educational Activities

  • Expert counseling for instructors of the folk groups and ensembles is held during the course of the Festival, with lectures by noted folklorists.
  • International scientific gathering on the topic “The Folklore and Ethnology of Bitola and the Bitola Region”, was held in 1980 by the IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola, in cooperation with the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • Expert discussion on “The Folklore in 21st Century” realized in 2007.
  • Seminars of traditional music and dance held in 2009 and 2010.

Publishing Activity

  • “The Folklore and Ethnology of Bitola and the Bitola Region” – expert materials from the International scientific gathering in 1980, Macedonian Academy of Sciences and IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola.
  • Monograph “25 years State Festival of Folk Dances and Songs “Ilinden Days” Bitola, author Kiril Tanchevski MA.
  • Musical CD “Vikoichki songs from eastern Macedonia” IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola, 2002.
  • Musical CD “Vikoichki songs from western Macedonia” IFC “Ilinden Days” Bitola, 2003.
  • Seminar of Traditional Music and Dance, Symposium, NI Cultural Centre, Bitola, 2009.
  • Seminar of Traditional Music and Dance, Symposium, NI Cultural Centre, Bitola, 2010.
  • Catalogues with information and expert reviews, as well as posters and leaflets with a list of participants at each Festival and accompanying event from 1971 to 2010.
  • Catalogues of accomplished exhibitions.
  • Internal Newsletter of the Festival with information on the participants and expert reviews of the performances of groups and ensembles from 1978 to 2001.

Documentation Centre

Based on the fundamental principles of compiling, recording, processing, cataloguing and preserving of the cultural heritage, all the presented contents of the Festival “Ilinden Days” have been adequately recorded and archived within the Informative Documentation Centre of the Festival which consist of:

  • Sound archives – audio recordings of all accomplished festivals, on a tape machine tape and CD.
  • Video archives – video material from 1985 to 2010 on a video tape and DVD (one copy has been deposited to the Historical Archive in Bitola)
  • Black and white, color photographs, contact copies, negatives and slides of all the festivals.
  • Expert Library


The Festival is not only a musical-stage event, but it is also a characteristic cultural and scientific process which stimulates live existence and presentation of the folk culture and effectuates adequate compiling, recording, inventory making, cataloging and archiving of presented contents.


Members of the Council of the Republic Festival of Folk Dances and Songs “Ilinden Days”, Bitola


Goga Nikolovski – president, Trajan Goshevski – vice president, Ilija Alushevski – vice president, Tome Vasilevski – secretary, Tome Momirovski, Toma Leov, Metodija Razmovski, Vera Antik – Stojchevska, Vladimir Kostov, Slavka Bundaleva, Dimitar Dimitrovski, Dimitar Grdanov, Blagoj Petrovski, Kire Petkov, Done Panovski, Vlado Gjorgjievski, Krste Veljanovski, Mihajlo Dimovski, Dimche Stefanovski, Dragan Topchievski, Tode Gjorevski, Nikola Fotev and Kiril Tanchevski


Zivko Vasilevski – president, Petar Atanasovski – vice president, Kiril Tanchevski MA – expert executive, Pavlina Vasileva, Dragan Topchievski, Risto Tudjarovski, Gjorgji Kozuvarovski, Zivko Firfov, Lefterija Lazareva, Tome Vasilevski, Gjorgji Gjorgjiev, Petar Najdovski, Vangel Nechevski – Tunelot, Vladimir Kostov and Dragan Gjorgjievski.


Zivko Vasilevski – president, Pavlina Vasileva – vice president, Kiril Tanchevski MA – executive director, Petar Atanasovski, Blagoj Razmovski, Naum Lahchanski, Mende Petkovski, Antonijo Dimitriovski, Stevo Kochovski, Kire Dobrushevski, Trajko Ognenovski, Trpko Bicevski, Mile Kochankovski, Violeta Bosheva, Ilija Alushevski, Dragan Topchievski and Sonja Tasevska.


Mito Pejovski – president, Mile Cholakov – vice president, Kiril Tanchevski MA – director, Pece Cvetanovski, Stojan Zdravevski, Dimitar Hadji Sterju, Borche Angelkovski, Tatijana Kalichanin, Shukri Ramo, Ranko Strumenikovski, Petar Najdovski, Dimitar Bogdanovski, Aleksandar Sterjevski, Kole Volchevski, Nikola Kosturski, Gjorgji Lumburovski, Gjorgji Kotevski, Ljube Stankovski and Sonja Tasevska


Boris Andonovski – president, Done Petlichkovski – vice president, Kiril Tanchevski MA – director, Petar Grozdanovski, Boris Bozinovski, Dragan Topchievski, Vladimir Dodovski, Borche Nachovski, Sonja Begovska, Valentin Soklevski, Ljube Stankovski, Ljubo Trifunovski, Mitko Nedanovski, Tatijana Kalichanin, Bozidar Rajkovski, Zdravko Bozinovski, Dragan Georgievski, Antonijo Dimitrovski and Sonja Tasevska.


Done Petlichkovski – president, Valentin Soklevski – vice president, Vesna Petreska, Bozidar Rajkovski, Petar Solakovski, Zlatko Delov, Nikola Ivanovski, Ljube Stankovski and Sonja Tasevska.


Ana Begajovska – president, Boshko Treneski MA, Rodna Velichkovska Phd, Borche Dimitrovski, Ljupka Kolarova Pajevich, Petar Pecakovski, Blaze Pavlovski, Ljube Stankovski, Valentin Soklevski.


Ljupka Kolarova Pajevich – president, Maja Tanevska, Boshko Treneski MA, Rodna Velichkovska Phd, Borche Dimitrovski, Blaze Pavlovski, Ljube Stankovski, Valentin Soklevski.


Borche Dimitrovski – president, Liljana Mostrova, Boshko Treneski MA, Rodna Velichkovska Phd, Ljupka Kolarova Pajevich, Blaze Pavlovski, Ljube Stankovski , Valentin Soklevski.

Employees of the Institution of Folk Culture “Ilinden Days”, Bitola in the period until the merger with NI Cultural Centre, Bitola

  • Kiril Tanchevski MA (manager 1973-1997)
  • Ljube Stankovski (manager 1997-2003)
  • Sonja Tasevska
  • Valentin Soklevski

Expert individuals engaged in the execution of the Festival


Toma Leov, Jonche Hristovski, Mihajlo Dimovski, Gjorgji Gjorgjiev Phd, Blaze Palchevski, Valentin Soklevski

Assistant Directors

Ljube Stankovski, Ljubo Trifunovski, Branko Zezovski, Koche Stojchevski, Nikola Trajkovski.

Members of Jury Committees

Vera Antik – Stojchevska Phd, Zivko Firfov, Gjorgji Gjorgjiev Phd,
Trpko Bicevski Phd, Tatijana Kalichanin Phd, Borivoje Djimrevski Phd, Kiril Tanchevski MA, Mile Nikolovski, Tome Sazdov Phd,
Jonche Hristovski, Ljubo Trifunovski, Tome Vasilevski, Ilija Alushevski, Stojko Mitkovski, Vesna Petreska, Perica Denkovski, Dragan Dautovski Phd, Tofe Drakulevski, Vlado Stanoevski, Blaze Palchevski,
Nikola Firiev, Kire Stojchevski.