Macedonia organizes and hosts several important cultural events which enjoy high esteem in the world.
The Ohrid Summer Festival was established as an expression of the growing potential in the fields of music and drama in Macedonia. The first concert took place in 1961 in the 20th century church of St. Sophia, with its exceptional acoustics.
The main feature of the Festival is its international character. It has confirmed its status as a representative stage for the highest achievements for Macedonian and world culture. There have been participants from 44 countries from all continents, among whom there have been many celebrated world musicians who have left their artistic mark on the second half of the 20th century.
The Festival is held each year from July 12 to August 20. The number of performances is about 40 music events and 12 plays. In the last 35 years there have been about 1,150 performances in which 30,000 local and foreign artists and performers have taken part. The average annual number of visitors is about 20,000.
The Struga Poetry Evenings, which started in 1961, is a major poetic event in the world. So far more than 5,000 poets, writers and literary critics from over 50 countries have taken part. The highest acknowledgement of the Struga Poetry Evenings is the Golden Wreath international award, which each year is granted to one prominent poet of the world.
The Balkan Festival of Folk Song and Dance in Ohrid has presented numerous original songs and dances from folk culture for more than 30 years. The links between the cultures of the Balkan peoples and those of Europe have greatly affirmed the important role of this festival in the building of bridges of cultural cooperation. About 1,200 ensembles with 42,000 members have so far taken part in the festival.
Besides ensembles from all the Balkan countries and the former Yugoslav republics, a large number of European and non-European countries have participated in it. The Balkan Festival has for more than 20 years been a member of CIOFF and other cultural educational associations of UNESCO.
The Skopje International Jazz Festival has become a highly prestigious music event. Many of the most renowned jazz groups and names in the world of jazz have taken part in the festival, and in concept and atmosphere, participants and critics consider it one of the most successful jazz festivals around the world.
The World Cartoon Gallery is the only event of this kind in the world. In addition to its permanent exhibition, each year it organizes an exhibition of cartoons on a specific subject. It has played a major role in the recognition of Macedonian cartoonists who have earned important awards at competitions and shows throughout the world.