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Charnwood

RTSLIN Czechia

K

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JULY 2019


Above Photo : Dolni Vitkovice site

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Contents Ostrava 4 Colours of Ostrava Festival 12 Degradace 34 The REC Busking Stage 48 Colours and Commerce 76

Front Cover: REC Busking Stage - Colours of Ostrava

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Ostrava City Centre

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Ostrava 5


It’s a very cold late March day in

from the overbridge, and soon the

2008. Patches of snow still lay on the

ubiquitous Skoda tram is whisking me

ground around the tracks as the train

away to my hotel, a restored castle in

slows. Rows of varied freight wagons

the middle of a housing estate, my first

drift past the window as the rusting

hint that there’s more to this old steel

industrial infrastructure of Svinov takes

town than one might first expect.

over the landscape. My first visit to Ostrava over ten years ago is shaping

Heading

east,

the

quasi-industrial

up to be everything I expected from

wilderness around Svinov gives way

the historic heart of the Czech iron and

to an architectural apparition. One

steel industry.

almost surreal block of neo-classical exuberance follows another as the

Ostrava Svinov station is an odd mix of

tram pulls to a stop at Poruba. Looking

classic central European charm, and

more like a film set than a real place,

communist era functional practicality.

Poruba was built as a workers paradise

The convenient tram stop beckons

in the 1950s to attract a workforce to

Poruba Central Square 6


Entrance to the Poruba Estate

the then rapidly expanding steel works.

of technology transfer and facilitating

The apartments are still regarded

a diverse range of start-up companies

as some of the best available in the

through the sponsorship of a university

metropolitan area. Walking deeper

based industrial park.

into the estate there is an unspoilt with

I take the southern route back into

endless interesting variations on the

the main centre. The tram system is

theme. One more crossing and the

extensive, with few parts of the wider

dreamworld immediately ceases as

urban area inaccessible to it. The

the view is taken over by Vysoká Škola

tracks curve away from an urban

Bánská (VSB), the Technical University of

freeway, and we’re surrounded by

Ostrava. The reinvention of the city has

a mass of factories and workshops.

been partly stimulated by this (one of

The tram seems to be navigating

three Universities in the city) institution’s

the internal tracks of a vast industrial

stimulation of a vibrant high tech and

labyrinth, then, surprise, a town square,

knowledge-based

sector.

a church, a few restaurants, before

This has been through the promotion

being swallowed up by the seemingly

uniformity

to

the

style,

yet

industrial

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Dolni Vitkovice in 2008

endless labyrinth again. A curve, a

There’s still a hint of burning lignite in

bridge, and just when it seems the

the air in the city centre. The neat parks

factory belt has finished, the main blast

and pedestrianised streets suggest a

furnaces of Dolni VItkovice completely

town though with a strong sense of civic

fill the tram windows. It looks derelict,

pride. Another corner and another

the last steel was made there in 1998,

architectural

but it hides some remarkable treasures.

Radnice (New Town Hall) was built in

treasure.

The

Nova

1930 at a time of civic exuberance

8

As the tram nears the city centre one

in

the

then

newly

independent

pit head after another looms above

Czechoslovakia. Built in the pre-deco

us. Closer inspection, though, reveals

modernist International style, it looks

that these are relics of a once, almost

almost a contemporary of the neo-

entirely industrial city which, since the

classical communist experiments that

velvet revolution, has totally reinvented

followed nearly 30 years later, but

itself. The last coal was mined in 1994.

exuding a forward looking optimism.


Dolni Vitkovice in 2008 9


It remains completely intact and in

another centre appears, a bar, then

much the same condition as the day

a music club, a cafĂŠ, another bar, and

it opened. Remarkably, its 86 metre

a night club signal the famed Stodolni

high

completely

Street, weekend party capital for lower

hidden from view when walking

Silesia, for Poles and Czechs alike. It was

amongst the surrounding buildings in

here, amongst the numerous music

the town centre, adding to the sense

bars that dominated the area in the

of surprise.

early 2000s, that the Colours of Ostrava

tower

is

almost

began, an event I was completely A short wander from the main square

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unaware of on my first visit in 2008.


Nova Radnice 11


Colours of Ostrava Festival 12


‘

‘

We are driven by a desire to evoke a sense of belonging in everyone who comes here but also allow you to delve into the very heart of the music.

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14


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This diverse music festival is the largest

performance stadium, but when the

in the Czech Republic, and one of the

Colours takes over the site is transformed

largest in Europe. It frequently boasts

into the largest industrial complex party in

the same headliners as Glastonbury,

Europe. 16 Stages are scattered around,

as indeed it did this year, with The Cure

and a massive temporary infrastructure is

heading up the main stage on the last

put in place to accommodate the 30 odd

day, with also Years and Years, Rosalia and

thousands visitors that the event attracts

Lewis Capaldi all taking part. Its current

each year.

location is the post industrial park of the Vitkovice steelworks site, which has been

The Site

submitted to UNESCO as a world heritage site, and remains on the tentative list.

This is 17 years on from the first official

In the meantime much of the park has

event, which had its roots in the music

been turned into a museum, and swathes

scene surrounding Stodolni street. When

of it left as a monument. The gasometer

the event began Stodolni street was more

which powered the blast furnace pumps

than just a street full of bars and clubs,

has been converted to a year round

but was at the centre of the city’s vibrant music scene. There is a clear reason how this came about. The city’s three universities results in, a demographic for the conurbation, of younger innovative open minded citizens. The Colours festival rapidly expanded as a city centre based event,

but

became

focused

mainly

around the Castle district. By the time the festival moved to the Dolni Vitkovice steelworks site in 2012 it was attracting 30 thousand plus visitors, and A list headliners. View of the site from the Bolt Tower

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Inside the Bolt Tower Cafe

Over the last 7 years the event has settled

towards the steelworks towers, blast furnace,

down into a unique eclectic musical

pit head and giant gasometer. Arrival brings

experience in the most extraordinary setting

a touch of normality, as arm bands are

imaginable for such a festival. For many

checked at the entrance gates, but then it’s

the highlight is the site, which gradually

back to the surreal, as the site takes over.

improves by the year, creating more and more contrasting experiences at odds with

One of the most obvious of the site treats is

its bizarre setting.

the Bolt Tower (so named because it was opened by Usain Bolt in 2015). This is best

Even first impressions on approaching the site

done on the three week days, which attract

set it apart from other festivals. Crowds of all

more manageable crowds than the final day

kinds of music lovers, variously dressed, flood

on the Saturday.

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18


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Approaching the tower, the most dominant

at the top of the lift, a series of walkways

structure on the site, an entrance kiosk

surround the tower gaining height with

beckons. On payment one is handed the

each circumnavigation. On the way,

necessary hard hat, required to negotiate

viewing platforms give way to views of

the tower. Waiting in groups of about 15, a

the industrial landscape, with deck chairs

kind of lift cum funicular railway appears,

allowing sunbathing in hard hats. Further

to take us most of the way to the top, with a

up, around a gantry corner, and there,

commentary in Czech from the controller

most unnexpectedly, is the entrance to a

on the way up. Alighting to the platform

cafĂŠ. Continue following the walkways

Cafe bar under the Blast Furnace 20


The Site near the Bolt Tower

up around the cafĂŠ to the top of the

under croft dereliction, with a sign, Vinaria

tower, or take a break with prosecco

above the entrance. There you will find a

and cake, and watch the climbers wind

long wine bar, with a wide choice of high

around you.

class local wines, a Moravian folk band, and a setting reminiscent of a scene from

The bolt tower is an all year round affair.

Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

During the Colours the organisers go out of their way to create the most incongruous

Festival People

experiences. An essential in the Czech Republic, numerous beer outlets abound

There really is no such animal as a

around the site, including the Radegast

Colours festival-goer. The acts generate

Pub, occupying an old machine hall. So

characteristic audiences that often have

far so weird, but walk around the beach

very little in common, except that they

area, with imported sand around the

are the ones that come. I spoke to some

base of a chimney stack and mine shaft,

around the site, where have they all come

and poke inside a forbidding looking bit of

from?

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Vaclav and Lenka I saw a very tired Vaclav and Lenka waiting

atmosphere. Lenka’s memorable moment

for the last tram at the Dolni Vitkovice site.

was coming across Vaclav by chance in

It was the first visit for both of them, and

a mass of people, after spending a long

they’ll certainly be back. Both are Czechs.

day attending different shows.

Vaclav, from a small village to the South

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West of Prague, has been planning to

In his 40s, Michael and his wife Alena

come for some years. His highlight of

from Prague, have been coming most

the event was the unique place and

years since 2009, this being their 6th visit.


Highlight for them this year, last night headliners The Cure.

Not surprisingly, the event attracts a number of local residents from this very musically aware city. Ostrava couple Daniel, and his wife Sylvia, were here for the first time. They found the whole event really exciting, and definitely plan to return in the future. Highlight for them, again The Cure. Michal and Alena

Sylvia and Daniel 23


Also citing The Cure as this year’s highlight,

Petra, with family in the city, has been

local banker Danca first visited in 2004 and

attending the Colours since 2006, Rag ‘n’

has been 7 more times since.

Bone Man, being her main act.

The event, though, attracts visitors of all kinds from around the world.

Danca 24


Retired

UK

academic

Mike,

and his writer wife Lynn, from Southampton, is here for the second time, bringing his wife along on his second visit. Being a jazz fan the Youn Sun Nah trio left the greatest impression for him. Lynn was completely enthralled by the whole festival, and will definately be back next year. Her act of the event was Florence and The Machine. Petra

Mike and Lynn 25


Also

retired,

South

African

engineer

they

were

blown

away

by

Xavier

Manfred, and his nursing wife Coleen,

Rudd, late on the final night on the

living in Munich, brought their camper

ArcelorMittal Stage, they’ll certainly be

over for the event. Hardcore eventers,

back next year.

Coleen and Manfred (Photo: M Poppleton)

The Event

around the rock music clubs of Stodolni Street, also included a strong mix of roots

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In the 17 years since The Colours of

and World music, particularly amongst the

Ostrava was first established it has gained

early international headliners, a flavour

a reputation as being one of most eclectic

that still pervades the major international

in the increasingly competitive world

phenomenon that it has become. By the

of music festivals. The first events based

end of the 2000s it was able to attract


the likes of Marianne Faithful, Happy

It’s hard not compare such a significant

Mondays, Goldfrapp and David Byrne.

international festival with Glastonbury,

The world/roots and indie/rock themes

but it’s the difference that make the

continued but expanded to include

Colours particularly interesting, the same

the most diverse curation of jazz, heavy

final day headliners of the 2019 event

classic rock and folk along with out

notwithstanding. Before moving on from

and out pop performers. The resulting

The Cure, though, it could be said that

audience demonstrates about as varied

this enduring band typifies this particular

a demographic as one could hope to

event more than any other, attracting a 20

find at any single event.

thousand plus crowd. The post punk Goths

Ukrainian Cabaret from the Dakh Daughters 27


of the late 1970s have morphed into one of

Years (also fresh from Galstonbury) and a

the more accessible bands from the era,

personal favourite Mogwai. On the other

deliberately finding a pop direction in the

stages, catering for the more off-beat

early 1990s, and retaining an audience

acts, we could find Shilpa Ray and Red

of young enthusiasts, discerning middle-

Barrat, both from Brooklyn, The Pierce

aged music fans and die hard fans in

Brothers from Australia, along with a

their 60s. If such a thing exists, they can

range of interesting, hard to get to, acts,

do as much to characterise a Colours

such as the Ukrainian Cabaret act, The

audience as any. Other international

Dakh Daughters, and the undefinable

headliners included Florence and the

Yonatan Gat and the Eastern Medicine

Machine on the first night, Years and

Singers.

Shiilpa Ray 28


Australian identical twins ‘The Pierce Brothers’ with an afternoon slot on the main stage 29


rock, they were just one of a number of local and domestic bands gracing the main stages this year, where a rather more than usual determined effort seemed to have been made to present the country’s talent. Ben Cristovao, another Czech pop star, of Angolan origin, whose fan base includes a very high proportion of teenage girls, also played the other main stage this year, as well as taking part in the other side of the event, political and philosophical discussions in ‘The Melting Pot’, presenting a session on Music and Racism.

Ostrava itself punches way above its

Red Barrat on the Drive Stage

weight when it comes to spawning home grown talent, and through the years a provides

number of the town’s bands have played

some unique features and indicates the

the main stages. This year local band Buty

extraordinary pool of talent that exists in

opened the main Ceská Sporitelna stage,

the country.

with their eclectic blend of international

The

2019

line-up,

though,

and

local

tradition.

Local

Kristof headlining the main stage on

Degradace, long standing veterans also

the second night are not only a home

from the town, and with a loyal following,

grown Czech band with a huge domestic

opened the Drive stage.

following, but from just down the road in Havirov. Very much on the pop side of

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legends

I got to talk to Degradace.


Ben Cristovao on the ArcelorMittel Stage

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The Diverse Audiences of Colours’ Bands

Last night headliners The Cure, fill the main stage

Also on the main stage, local band Krystof 32


Atavists followers attending the REC Busking Stage

Ben Cristavao’s enthusiastic audience of mainly young Czechs 33


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‘

‘

To play to new fans is really fantastic, and we maybe made an impact to new people, which is brilliant.


Degradace 35


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As the Colours programme notes, ‘the

Tommy began his Degradace career as the

legend of Ostrava Punk Rock ‘n’ Roll

drummer, until being diagnosed with MS 15

were here celebrating their first 20 years

years ago. This resulted in him eventually being

by playing at the Colours’.

forced to leave the band, until discovering that the symptoms didn’t prevent him from

Originally

founded

by

Rudee

(Petr

learning and playing guitar. Eventually

Adamík) in 1999, the band has been

returning to the band a year later, he’s been

through a number of iterations since

on guitar ever since. Tommy doubles up life

its first line-up, with just Tommy Heroin

with the band as a respected academic

(Tomas Heryan) and Rudee, remaining

economist at the Silesian University (one of

from the original team. Along with

three in the Moravian-Silesian region).

Rudee (vocals and bass) and Tommy

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(guitar and vocals), the current line-up

Alec, originally from Scotland, has been a

includes Alec Munro on guitar and Rob

friend of the band for a number of years and

on drums. A prolific touring band, the

joined to fill a vacant guitarist’s spot last year,

members manage to combine a life of

to support British punk legends, U.K. Subs. He

enthusiastic rock ‘n’ rollers with a variety

moved to Ostrava eight years ago as an

of other careers.

English teacher.

Rudee lives a completely musically-

Rob is totally immersed in drumming, learning

infused life. As well as being the driving

at 10, and performing since 13, his only other

force of Degradace, he has a daytime

interest apparently being chocolate. Joining

job working in the Hudebni Svet music

in 2016 to play the CZ Pod Parou festival, his

store in Ostrava, as well as working

wild and slightly unhinged performances are

as a journalist on a number of music

perfectly judged to complete the band’s

magazines.

edge.


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Along with touring, the band have

showing at the Colours. From the opening

released five albums over the last 20 years

‘Je Mi To Lito’ (I’m Sorry), to the closing

since their eponymous first CD came out in

‘Image’, the band cranked it up and

2002. The uncompromising fusion of post-

sustained a high octane performance

punk with a mixture of up-beat rock ‘n’ roll

throughout their one hour set. If there were

rhythms and hard rock guitar riffs, the band

worries about the sound set-up, they were

have developed a characteristic sound

soon dispelled, with a perfect balance

over the years, with a now international

from the word go. The experience of

following, especially in central Europe.

playing at a first rate festival being immediately reflected in the band’s spot

Opening the Drive stage this year, there

on precision sustained during the whole 15

was a lot of pressure to shine at their first

song play list.

Rob working out on drums

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Rudee in action

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Tommy going crazy

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I spoke to them about their first time at the

Nick Cave and Grinderman, Swans, and

Colours as performers.

an atmospheric Japanese instrumentalist band called Mono, and you don’t see

INTERVIEW (Tommy and Alec)

those bands around every day. There’s still something unusual here, like the John

On their previous experience of the

Butler Trio, there’s some commercial easy

Colours

going stuff, some world music stuff, some great African bands, and you can see

TOMMY: I’ve been coming here since 2003

some nice surprises.

Stuff you’ve never

when it began on Stodolni Street. To me,

heard of, you watch them and they blow

it was much more underground, or punk

you away.

really. Then it moved to the Castle, and there I saw Iggy and the Stooges, it was

On the importance of the Colours to

fantastic to see him live. Our singer Rudee,

Degradace, as an Ostrava band

also got to interview with John Lydon when he played there with Public Image

TOMMY: Well, we’ve played over 500

Limited. But seriously, here in Ostrava, it’s

concerts in our existence, and we’ve

really good to have the Colours.

been playing for 20 years. This was our first time playing here, and it was great, but

ALEC: I’ve been coming here for eight

not really crucial in terms of the existence

years now when it used to be in the Castle,

of this band.

a much smaller place. It moved here the year after I came, and it just got bigger

ALEC: There was a lot of new people that

and bigger. It’s a really mixed bill, but I

showed up to see us today though, and

look more for the rock and metal stuff, you

that can be cool, we’ll see what happens

know. There are a lot of other interesting

on that. I think the question can be

things, though. The first time I was here I saw

answered next year.

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TOMMY: Yes, as Alec says, to play to new fans is really fantastic, and we maybe made an impact to new people, which is brilliant.

ALEC: I’ve been with the band a year and half, and in Ostrava we have a really good home crowd. There’s a lot of old school punks, with the Mohawks, really hard-core punks. But today, I think we had some fans of punk music and rock music, but some who thought, ‘what the hell’s this’, and this band is authentic in its punk and hard rock roots, and I think a lot of them might be into this after today.

TOMMY: Normally we’re playing late at night, around midnight, and most of our audience, I’d say about 90%, are drunk. They are crazier than these, but it was really nice, and it was just the opening. We are very satisfied, and happy to do as we did.

ALEC: Yes, for the first band of the day, I was happy to see people checking it out, and talking in something new, even if they only smiled, that movement was enough.

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Alec adding some vocals 45


On reaching an international audience

TOMMY: Normally in Czechia, playing to

then they returned the favour, so we went

an international audience means that

to play with them as well.

you have to play especially in Prague, and when you’re playing in Prague,

TOMMY: For the US/British audience, they

there’s about 20-30% of an international

see that we’ve supported many legendary

audience. But we played just a few months

bands, such as U.K. Subs, The Damned,

ago across Europe, Germany, Italy, Austria

Chelsea, and Dictators, and we’re friends

and Hungary. But having Alec is important

with many of them. Our dreams have

because he came from Scotland. But

come true supporting these bands, and

seriously, we’re trying to work out English

we see that they’re really like normal

lyrics, because we would like to be closer

people, and this is a huge inspiration after

to an international audience. We were

20 years.

asked to play in Hastings last year, but finally, we didn’t because we didn’t sing

ALEC: Yes, my first gig with the band was

any songs in English and that was the

supporting U.K. Subs, and Charlie Harper,

main issue. Therefore we’ve concentrated

he’s such a gentleman.

on writing songs in English, just 50-50. We won’t be only an English singing band, no,

TOMMY: Yes, these guys are the best, and

we would like to sing also in our language,

as human beings as well.

and we should be proud that we are Czech, and Scottish.

ALEC: Also, playing with bands from other

countries helps. For example, last year we played with Higgins, from Germany, and

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Manager Jana with Alec, after the show

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The REC Busking Stage 48


‘

‘

Upcoming bands are playing with such indescribable energy on the REC Busking stage. They see this, this is as a main chance to make their way up. Milan Andel

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The REC.Busking stage appeared in 2016

was arranged through a competition, with

for the very first time. It offers a unique

9 being chosen out of 873 bands, to play at

opportunity for new Czech talent to play

three festivals across the country. As well as

at a major international festival, and be

The Colours of Ostrava these include Rock

discovered by a new wide and diverse

for People and Sazavafest. The initiative

audience. The original idea was motivated

has brought an increasingly Czech flavour

as part of the CistĂ˝ festival (Clean Festival)

to the event, along with the mainstream

campaign, to promote waste recycling

Czech bands playing the regular stages,

across festival sites. Some of the time it’s

as well fulfilling the very useful function

open for bands to turn up and play, with

of nurturing local talent with the kind of

the obligation to bring an instrument

experience that’s impossible to duplicate.

to recycle. For the rest, a schedule of new bands has been selected to play

I managed to see 5 of them, and talk to

scheduled slots. The line-up on the stage

them about their experiences.

Paya May

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PAYA MAY

Opening the stage on the first day of the festival were Paya May. The band is eponymously named after the frontwoman, whose brainchild it is, and who writes the music and lyrics for all the songs. The first of the current line-up for Paya was guitarist David Jakubec, shortly followed by band members Mirek Horáček on bass and Lukáš Pražák on cajon and drums. Paya’s alto voice is the focus for the original blend of Czech ballads with the folksy pop sound that underpins the majority of the songs.

gig. I managed to squeeze in an interview between times.

The band’s first album “Namaluj” was released last year, and despite giving

Do you have a previous experience of the

birth to her first child nine months ago,

Colours?

the band have continued touring, and played a number of scheduled gigs

PAYA: Actually I’m here for the first time.

recently, including those associated with

But, sure I’ve been aware of it for a long

the Cistý Festival competition. They had a

time, it has a history that everyone knows.

very tight timetable for this event, played

But, yes, it’s my first, because it’s pretty far

back to back with another earlier in the

for me, and it’s quite a surprise being here

afternoon, and the demands of baby

when I have a little baby, I never expected

feeding immediately after the Colours

that, and to be part of the show.

53


How important do you think playing the

here. We normally do music clubs around

Colours will be for the promotion of your

the country, and we’re getting quite a

band?

regular audience.

PAYA: Well, we’ll see, but definitely it’s

How does the Colours Audience compare

an honour. If you can say that you‘ve

with what you’re used to?

been a part of the show of the Colours of Ostrava, it means something. I think

PAYA: The audience at the Colours

this is one of the main reasons why we’re

was a little bit different from our usual

happy to be here, because we can say

audience. The main reason is, all the

we were here, we played the Colours.

people came to the festival to listen to

But as to what impact it will have on our

music, so they really payed attention to

real audience, we will see.

us, focused on the lyrics and reacted actively. Nevertheless, people at our

How do you normally go about promoting

concerts are also mostly very interactive

yourselves in the Czech Republic?

and great, which are the best moments on the stage. In any case, the show at

54

PAYA: The Colours is an opportunity that

the Colours was a wonderful experience

you don’t normally get, unless you’re

we will always be very grateful for! Sort of

very famous, we’re very happy to be

a “dreamcomestrue” moment.


55


PRO TEBE

first night. Their brand of up-beat, slightly jazz infused pop producing a set of catchy

56

Taking the evening slot on the first day, Pro

memorable tunes. The tight-knit line-up

Tebe are one of the newest bands in the

from the word go has been:

whole event, having been established less

On guitar and frontman Adam Caha, a

than a year ago in September 2018. With

classically trained violinist from the Brno

an impressive repertoire of original songs

Music academy but as a Blink 182 fan,

already after just 10 months they held the

prefers electric guitar, which he’s been

stage with an enthusiastic performance,

playing since his teens. For a daytime job

to conclude the scheduled acts on the

he teaches kids violin at a music school


near Brno as well as guitar and drums

together through their live act at this, for

at the Yamaha music school. His main

them, a major event.

ambition, though, is with the band in his role as frontman.

I caught up with them before their set, just having completed what seemed to be a

Jiři Vedral on piano, synths and vocals

remarkably straightforward sound check.

has been playing piano and synths since childhood. Among his many pop idols are Herbie Hancock and Michael Jackson. Currently making his living in a small software company as business manager, he sees Pro Tebe as a chance to give up work and become a full time musician.

Petr Mikulka on bass and vocals has also played electric guitar and bass guitar since his teenage years. He loves classic pop and rock music, especially The Beatles. His daytime job is working for an insurance company in Brno.

At only 19 David PaĹĄa on drums and percussion is the youngest member of the band. Still a percussion student at the Brno Music Conservatory, he nevertheless shows a great maturity and talent on his instrument, crucially keeping the band

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58


How did you manage to get a slot to

on YouTube, and we had to play our

play at the Colours?

songs in different styles. People then had to send in votes on-line during

PRO TEBE: It was as a result of winning

May, and finally we got on this stage. It

a band contest, we were chosen from

was quite complicated. So we’re very

over 800 bands from around the Czech

proud that we can share our music. We

Republic. Then we had to do some

hope people will come when we start

tasks with Mirai, there was an interview

playing.

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What are your normal performance arrangements?

PRO

TEBE:

Normally

clubs,

smaller

clubs, so we’re trying to gain a larger audience.

What are your ambitions as a band?

PRO TEBE: We work and we play, and at the moment we’re working on our first single, which will be released very soon, because it’s being mixed and Have any of you been to the Colours

mastered now. We hope that we’ll get

before as audience members?

some radio play time. This is our first step to becoming full-time musicians,

PRO TEBE: In fact, actually no, even

to release the song, get it to the radio,

though we’re only from Brno.

and continue playing. This event is a good opportunity to test our songs for

Does

this

event

offer

an

unusual

promotional opportunity for you?

which would be candidates for future singles, depending on the audience reaction this evening. Our style is pop/

60

PRO TEBE: Yes, because we are quite

rock music, so it’s a very wide audience,

a new band, playing only for one year

so the Colours is perfect for us, you

altogether, and it’s quite hard to get

have young, middle-aged, old, families

to big festivals if you are not a very

and kids, everybody. We think our main

well-known band, so this is a great

audience is more girls between 15 and

opportunity.

50.


ELECTRIC LADY

I spoke to Tereza after their set.

Electric Lady opened the stage on the

Have you been to the Colours before?

second day. Formed and fronted by Fender guitar ace Tereza Rays, who writes the lyrics,

TEREZA: No, this is my first time here. I am

as well as the music with some collaboration

playing for the first time, and it was always

from bassist Marek Caba.

my dream to be here. I come from Pilsen, which is a long way, and I have no reason

The style is good old heavy rock and guitar

to travel over here. One time I wanted to

riffs, with a funk underpinning. They have

see Jamiroquai, but I had no opportunity

an extensive set list producing a stimulating

to get here.

variation in melody and mood. The striking audience grabbing performance, which sees

What was your process for getting here

Tereza’s musical dexterity complemented

this time?

by a raunchy stage act, is held together with a neatly fused rhythm partnership between

TEREZA: We entered a competition for the

Marek and drummer Lucas Tricler. Despite

REC stage, it was a competition between

being a Czech band, from Pilsen, the blues

Czech bands, with Mirai as the moderator.

rooted songs are all performed in English,

We were 5th in the competition.

the US influence is apparent in much of the set, with a wealth of cultural influence,

Do you think playing here will enhance

some clearly having been picked up during

your profile generally?

a period spent in the States. A break in the prevailing style of the gig is provided with a

TEREZA:

This

competition

was

great,

bravado virtuoso performance from Lucas,

because so many people were seeing

proving that drum solos still have a place in

us for the first time. This guy (Mirai) really

the 21st century rock repertoire.

helped us to be better known, and some

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radio stations played us more, because this

TEREZA: Yes, we’ve been playing for 15

guy spoke a lot about us, and this really

years. The repertoire is a little bit mixed,

helped us. Especially this competition, which

with songs from 2009, 2010, and 2014

were the first steps to get us on the stage.

when I was recording in Texas. In fact I’ve had three bands over the 15 years, and

You’ve got a very tight act, and a lot of

I’ve written the songs from the beginning.

material, you must have been for quite a

I was also playing in a cover band, with

long time.

many musicians.

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You had a big audience tonight, how

What kind of events do you normally

do they compare with what you’re used

play at?

to?

TEREZA: This year we’re playing a lot TEREZA: When we play festivals we get

of festivals around central Czechia,

a lot of people coming to see us. We

Prague, and Bohemia, but last year we

normally play clubs, and usually have

played at a lot of events in Germany.

about 2-300 hundred people visiting

We hope to get more international

us. Sometimes we have huge numbers,

bookings

for example recently in Poland I was

producer and agency,

after

this,

thanks

to

my

playing in front of 11000 people, I was

the only Czech guitar player there, so it

Is music your only source of income?

was amazing. TEREZA: I’ve been working for 7 years in

How does this audience compare with

music full time. I am also teaching, I have

what you’re used to?

several pupils, I teach some singing, as well as guitar, and stage performance.

TEREZA: It’s hard to say because we play

They really have to work at it, and I try

at different kinds of event. For instance,

to teach them to be smart, it’s all about

we played at the Harley Davidson

the brain and the heart.

festival in Prague, there some of them were coming for the music, some of them were coming for the motor bikes. At a music festival like this, people are going around and coming to the stage and listen a bit to us, so for us it’s a really great chance to get to a new audience.

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65


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ATAVISTS

You got a huge following here tonight, do you think that’s because you’ve

The Atavists are old hands at the Colours,

played here before?

having previously played both the Drive and Fresh stages. Hailing from Hradec

ADAM: I was a bit surprised honestly, I

Kralove, they describe their style as a

wasn’t expecting this much turnout. So

mix of Surf/Stoner Rock and Blues. The

I’m really glad we got this audience.

line-up is Adam Krofian on vocals, guitar, synth and percussion, Adam Janosik on

How important is the Colours for you as

drums and percussion, Martin Krizek on

promotional vehicle for the band?

bass and Jan Hnatek on keyboards. They attracted a distinct crowd of old

ADAM: It’s really important, the Colours

fans, as well some faces coming along

is one of the two key festivals we have in

to see what they were about.

the summer. Maybe one of the 5 biggest in the whole of Europe.

I managed to get to talk to Adam Krofian after the show. The backstage

Do you manage to play any of the

tent was immediately filled by the real

others?

busking band that came on straight after their set. We took the conversion

ADAM: Yes, but the Colours is really

outside, which wasn’t much better, but

special, and I really love the area.

we persevered.

Usually a festival is held in something like

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an airport, and it’s super boring, There’s

You’ve played here before, did it have

just the tent, the beer, and then the stage

much

and nothing else. But here it’s different, it’s

reputation?

impact

on

your

international

my fifth time here, and have had the time

68

to explore the whole area, so hopefully

ADAM: Yes, we’re trying to get as many

this year I’ll get the time to explore the

bookings

tower. There used to be a stage there in

We’ve been playing now for 4 years, so

fact, it would be really awesome to play

we’ve played this country through. It’s a

there. I’m afraid of heights, but I really love

very small country with not many clubs,

this site. I can’t think of any other festival

so we’ve been everywhere. So right

this big anywhere in the world that takes

now we’re trying to reach out to other

place in this kind of environment.

countries as much as we can and get

as

possible

now

abroad.


some international bookings. Hopefully

ADAM: Well, it’s more diverse, the people that

next year we’ll be able to do a tour of

see us at festivals are quite a bit different from

European festivals. We have a Swiss tour

the crowd that see us in the clubs, but that

booked later this year in October, and

has enabled us to get all kinds of audiences

last year we played some shows in The

that wouldn’t normally go to our gigs. I really

Netherlands. It was awesome, just small

like to have a more diverse audience.

clubs with a few people, but we’ve never seen so much life in an audience.

You seemed to have some really hard core fans at the front just now?

How does the Colours audience compare with the usual crowd that you get at your

ADAM: Yeah there were some, we know

shows?

them by name, we’re good friends.

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STIFLED

winning a Canadian band competition in 2018, and getting a tour there as a result,

The band are Filip Prochazka on guitar

they settled down to business with the

and vocals, Viktor Gregus on guitar, Filip

established band, and this year won a

Vlasak on Bass, Honza Ziegler on Drums

place on the REC stage at the Colours.

and Nikolas Havel, lead vocals, frontman. Viktor (Vick) and Nikolas knew each other

Their music is an original blend of pop/

some years ago at university, and started a

rock-punk interplayed with some very

short lived band ‘Things We Know’, before

strong hip-hop/rap style vocals, with the

taking a break for a year. They found the

underlying musical sound being very much

lack of a band made a hole in their lives,

in the realm of pop/rock, and vocals riding

and by chance met Filip Prochazka in early

on top, resulting in a very distinctive and

2017, who was looking to join a second

easily identifiable sound. I spoke with Vick

band. They started making music together

about their performance after the show.

after just a few hours of knowing each other, and decided to form a permanent

Have you any previous experience of the

arrangement. In September 2017 they

Colours?

started recording their first EP, Overcome, engineered by a friend Frantisek, and

VICK: No, it’s my first time here, and I’m

with drums being provided by their old

pretty sure I’ve never been to Ostrava

drummer from ‘Things We Know’, Erik.

before.

During the production process, which took almost 6 months, they were joined

So where are you from?

by bassist, a second Filip, and drummer

70

Honza. Overcome was made into a music

VICK: I’m from Most on the opposite side

video, which was very successful and

of the Czech Republic. It’s about 7 hours

resulted in a lot of local support. After

away.


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What attracted you to play at the Colours?

Do you think this is going to make much of an impact on your career?

VICK: We actually won a contest, and the REC stage management asked us to play

VICK: Yes, if you can say to people that

here. We’ve also played on the REC stage

you’re playing a festival like this one, then

at other festivals, like Rock for People, and

people treat you better. You become at

we’re playing Sázavafestu next week, so

least semi-professional if you play festivals

that’s how we got here.

like these.

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Do you have intentions to make this a

and we got a lot of experience. That did

professional career?

actually make our name I think.

VICK: Oh yes, for sure. We’d like to play

How did that come about?

some festivals in the UK too. We would be really glad if we could take it there.

VICK: We won the Planet Rock contest, which got us to play a festival in Quebec,

Do you think playing here will give you

and we took that opportunity to play all

that opportunity?

around the country.

VICK: I’m not quite sure, but it’s important

The

to make some impact with the local

stage craft and sheer professionalism of

people to get an opportunity to get other

all the bands playing in this programme of

bookings, like the UK or Germany. Playing

emerging talent really makes one wonder

at a festival like this helps you to develop

where the fine line between aspiring

the skills you need to get higher, into more

career

international festivals elsewhere.

actually lies. In many cases it simply comes

musicianship,

musicians

song-writing

and

talent,

super-stardom

down to exposure and fame, and the REC Have you played outside the country

Stage in this major festival goes a long

before?

way to facilitating this, for those talented and lucky enough to get selected.

VICK: Yes, we’ve been on tour in Canada. We spent almost 3 weeks in Canada, travelling around the country and playing shows with local bands. It wasn’t like playing festivals here, it was more like the club circuit. It was a really good opportunity,

74


75


40 76

We’re very pleased that thousands Marco Dal Maso of people come to Ostrava, which they wouldn’t have done if the festival wasn’t here.


Colours and Commerce 77


78


79


With

a

population

of

just

under

300 000, every year for 4 days the

How significant is the colours week to your annual turnover?

Colours swells the city’s population by around 10%, taking up all available

KAMILA: The Colours of Ostrava festival

accommodation, and providing a

is an important part of a summer for our

useful boost to many of the businesses

hotel. However, it´s only one of many

around the town.

big events that we are involved in every year. The hotel is full during Colours

The Harmony Club Hotel is well placed

but it´s often full during corporate

for the industrial sector to the south

events. February to June is the main

east of the city. Most of the year it

season for conferences, and then

caters for a mainly business clientele.

again September to November, and in

Just a 20 minute walk, 10 minute tram

December we have a lot of company

ride or 5 minute car journey from the

parties, so it’s great that it’s happening

festival site, it is one of the most Colours

in the summer. Also it’s a different kind of

focussed hotels in the city and as well

client, so it gives a different atmosphere

as being convenient for festivals goers,

to the hotel.

also serves as a popular location for many of the artists. Most days you’ll

Has the impact of Colours week

be wandering around the buffet

changed much since the event moved

breakfast rubbing shoulders with one

to the Vítkovice site?

of yesterday’s acts.

KAMILA: Above all, the festival has

80

I asked manager Kamila Pokorna

grown significantly since then. Our hotel

about what they did to plan for their

is located a 20-minute walk from the

rather different clients during the

Dolní oblast Vítkovice. Therefore, we are

event.

ideally located for both the production


Kamila Pokorna in the restaurant

teams and regular festival goers. But not

is just perfect, not only for our regular

just for the Colours, at the Dolni Oblast

clients, but also the production teams

Museum, they have unique exhibitions,

that come for the Colours. We can

and people come with their families to

organise press trips, also for some of the

spend the whole day. So we can put

bands that stay here. I’m not saying that

together packages for our clients, so

any guests are more important than

that they can work during the day and

others, but the fact that the production

incorporate visiting this unique heritage

teams trust us enough to get big stars in

site as part of their stay. So the location

here, that’s a very good sign for us.

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Front view of the Harmony Club Hotel (Photo Harmony Club)

Do you do any special operational

opportunity, so we’re very pleased that

provision during Colours week?

thousands of people come to Ostrava, which they wouldn’t have done if the

82

KAMILA: We highly value our regular

festival wasn’t here. This region is really

guests who come back each year and

really lovely, and people just don’t

for whom we prepare special offers. We

expect it. So when they come here they

continually work on delivering a high

see the place is nice, and there’s much

standard of service for our clients, and

more to see than just the festival. What

every year we’re trying to bring them

we hope for is people who come here

something extra. We also see the festival

for the festival will come again, and tell

as a rather easy and nice marketing

their friends.


So you say you have a different clientele

open mike stage just outside the main

during the Colours, do you do anything

gates. The organisation’s Petr Adamik

special for them?

(Rudee from Degradace) told me something about the history of the shop,

KAMILA: We give special offers for

and how it engages with the festival.

those who come for the festival for the following year. We are very happy

Hudebni Svet is an iconic music shop in

about their positive feedback about

Ostrava, to what extent do you think it

our helpful approach, comfort and

provides a community hub for the local

a very good and nutritious breakfast,

scene?

though this is normal, there’s just more of it for the festival. Naturally, when the

PETR: I think that Hudebni Svet is

hotel is fully booked, the number of staff

supporting the local music scene from

is increased.

its beginning and was always sort of a community hub. It´s the only music

Not surprisingly for a city with such a

shop in Ostrava where you can come

history of musical activity of all kinds,

and talk, discuss musical things, where

music shops catering for all your

you are not just a customer but a friend

performance

the

or ‘member of a family’ if we can say.

city. Hubedni Svet (Music World) is

And it´s not only the shop. In Hudebni

one of these, offering more than just

Svet you can also find a recording studio

equipment and expertise, but provides

and rehearsal rooms, and in the same

a community hub for the local scene,

building you can find a great music

regularly staging impromptu roof-top

club called Barrák and a nice chill out

gigs. During the Colours, they also work

bar ‘Dock’. The idea of Hudebni Svet is

with Sigma Guitars and the festival

simple: To get all musical activities into

organisers to provide a free busking/

the one place.

abound

around

83


How long has Hudebni Svet been

PETR: No, they don´t charge us. They

proving an ‘open mike’ stage just

provide us the space and we have

before the entrance to the Colours

to find the artists, borrow the PA,

venue?

amps, guitars etc. They also give us free accreditation for the festival. It´s

PETR: We did a few ‘open mic’ stages

a nice collaboration.

before the Colours so we have a long history with this type of events. Before

How many performances did the

Colours asked us to care about this

stage host during the event?

stage on the festival we cooperated with their people on another festival

PETR: This year they gave us two days.

called Festival v ulicích which is held

We got Wednesday and Thursday. Ten

in the streets of the city and is for

bands performed during these days,

free. It´s something like a warm-up for

five bands each day. Our stage was

Colours Of Ostrava. So I think we have

called Sigma Guitars Busking Stage

a lot of experience with this kind of

and

thing. We helped with a lot of events

every visitor had an opportunity to

during the years, not only ‘open mic’

sit and try guitars from Sigma Guitars

stuff. We help with the sound, lights,

and

rent the instruments, amplifiers and

Furch Guitars who support this event

all equipment. Always trying to do

as well. We are also supported by

our best.

D´addarío. They supply us with strings

beside

Czech

these

guitar

performances

manufacturer

and other guitar accessories. There

84

Do the Colours charge for this space,

was also our guitar tech Džetro who

or does it welcome its existence as

will change your strings or tune your

an additional facility?

guitar for free.


Copy Cats covering Iggy and the Stooges ‘I want to be Your Dog’ on the Hudebni Svet sponsored busking stage outside the main gate

After the event I stayed another day to soak up more of the place in its normal existence. Monday morning breakfast in the Harmony was back to normal, with a scattering of business minded individuals prepared for their days work. I checked out and took the tram down to the nearest Cesky Drahy station, rather fittingly Stodolni, right at the end of the street where it all started. The mid-morning train pulled on to the sparely populated platform, and I took my seat for Prague, saying good-bye to Ostrava until next year...

85


Acknowledgements Contributing: Bands: Degradace Paya May Pro Tebe Electric Lady Atavists Stifled Writer:

Richard Gatward

Photographers: Richard Gatward (unless otherwise credited) Associations: Colours of Ostrava Harmony Club Hotel Hudebni Svet Producing Editors:

Richard Gatward

Series Editor:

Kevin Ryan

Design Assistance:

Natalie Chabaud

Project Assistance: Terry Allen James Chantry

First published in October 2019 Copyright: Charnwood Arts and Individual Authors All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Charnwood Arts.

86


Charnwood Artslink International Charnwood Artslink International was born in the early 1990s through

links with the Indian state of Gujarat and European twinning links between Charnwood in the UK and towns in Belgium, France, Germany and Poland. Since then we have worked with or promoted the works of artists from over 100 countries. We began this work even earlier, as since 1977, Charnwood Arts, an arts and educational charity based in the UK East Mildands, has worked with artists and organisations around the world to create scores of exhibitions, events, workshops, festivals, publications and projects. This current magazine project, initiated in the summer of 2013 was originally designed to involve people between 16 and 35 years of age in producing magazines about arts and culture in, or from, their home countries. However, with this latest publication we mark an opening of Artslink International to people of all ages from Charnwood (or with connections to Charnwood) to produce a magazine of their own. Most people involved in this project have no direct experience of producing a publication before undertaking the project and with support they are thrown into the deep end of undertaking ALL aspects of originating and producing the magazine for on-line distribution. All of the young people and young adults, and now even older adults, involved in this project to date have been involved in face to face work with Charnwood Arts.

Charnwood

RTSLIN

Czechia

K 87


Colours of Ostrava 2019

Barefoot 2016

Charnwood Arts acknowledges core support from Arts Council England and Charnwood Borough Council.

Profile for Charnwood Arts

Artslink Czechia. Colours of Ostrava 2019  

This issue of Artslink International was produced by Richard Gatward (UK) and focuses on the largest music festival in Czech Republic, and o...

Artslink Czechia. Colours of Ostrava 2019  

This issue of Artslink International was produced by Richard Gatward (UK) and focuses on the largest music festival in Czech Republic, and o...