Drill and Chill Festival - 4 Years On

Every September for the past 4 years, in a remote farm near the village of Rekavice, high above the river River Vrbas, there has been a gathering of International Climbers and High-Liners.

Since the inaugural Drill and Chill Festival took place back in 2015, the event has grown from strength to strength.


The 2019 Festival already promises to be taking a further step down the Drill and Chill route.

Back in 2015, “An Englishman in the Balkans” dropped by that remote village.

Here is the content we created back then.


I don't do scary.

I don't do heights.

I am a wimp at heart.

Weird you might say, seeing I have worked in some pretty dangerous places in my life and never gave much thought about the situations I was in.

But Yes, I am a wimp!

Tamara and I were recently invited by our friend Berengere to visit a new climbing festival for both Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkans region.

The Drill and Chill Festival is the brain child of Austrian climber David Lemmerer who's sort of fell in love with the region and decided to stay for some nine months in the Banja Luka area.

The Drill and Chill festival is the first of its kind in the country and an addition to Extreme sports in Bosnia.

Although we spent just a few hours at the base camp and one of the "bolting sites", I can honestly say that the professionalism displayed at every aspect was what had the most impact on me.

The base camp for the Festival was situated in a remote farm near the village of Rekavice.

A very short walk further (through medium forestry) brought us out on the extreme edge of the Vrbas Canyon but some 150 metres or so high above the river bed.Tamara and I (to be honest) tried our best to hide our fear of heights (not too sure if we managed it though) and to act normally.

The people we met were simply amazing.

Dedicated to their sport, the pursuit of "pushing the limits" and blessed with a healthy sense of humour.

I quickly realised that for some climbers the quest to discover "virgin" rock is a big pull, and the rock in the Vrbas Canyon is one of these rare places in the world that haven't been exploited by the climbing fraternity, yet.

During our very short visit, we met climbers from around the world, learned that the Banja Luka area had the potential to be a "must visit" place especially for "multi pitch" climbers and that Bosnia and Herzegovina as a country has so much to offer the "extreme sports" community.


I find out about the "Drill and Chill" festival organised by David Lemmerer. It's a climbing experience and extravaganza, located in the wonderful Vrbas Canyon, just to the south of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I talk to Dirk Uhlig a "master bolter" about what bolting really means and some of the experiences he has had.

I reflect as I try and combat my terrible problems with height as I stand so very high above the Vrbas canyon in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

I hope that this post gets you interested in finding out more about this wonderful country as well as an amazing, challenging and exhilarating sport.

Please drop us any comments or questions you might have at anenglishmaninthebalkans@gmail.com and we will try our best to answer them.